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LatinNews Daily - 13 May 2022

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In brief: Honduras approves electricity bill

* Honduras’s 128-member unicameral congress has approved a legislative bill sent down by the government led by President Xiomara Castro which would declare electricity a “public good of national security and a human right”. The legislation, which comprises 21 articles, would, among other things, renegotiate contracts with private electricity generators and seeks to address the continuing financial and technical difficulties plaguing state-owned electricity company Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (ENEE). It also proposes eliminating the grid coordinator (ODS) and amending the regulatory body (CREE) so that its commissioners would be selected by the executive rather than a nomination board. On 3 May US ambassador to Honduras Laura Dogu tweeted concern about the initiative and “the effect it will have on foreign investment and the independence of the regulatory agency.” However, since then on 4 May, US Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose Fernandez tweeted that “The US stands ready to work closely with Honduras to make the necessary reforms to keep the lights on and advance energy security for the people of Honduras. Taking time to sort out this complicated sector will pay huge economic dividends in the near term.”