Mexican state-owned power utility the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) is preparing a series of changes to its so-called Independent Power Producer (IPP) scheme, with a view to encouraging more private companies to bid for IPP contracts reports Mexico City daily Reforma.

CFE head of Financed Investment Projects, Eugenio Laris Alanis said a recent lack of bidders for IPP contracts had triggered the forthcoming modifications to the scheme, which are designed to make bid preparation less onerous for private companies. The CFE was also attempting to develop closer contacts with foreign companies in order to encourage them to bid for IPP contracts, said Alanis.

Separately, Mexican Energy Minister, Ernesto Martens said the country’s energy sector would under no circumstances be privatized. But he did confirm that the administration of President Vicente Fox is interested in creating closer ties between private enterprise and state-owned companies such as Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), Mexican financial daily El Economista reported.

Speaking on Thursday during an official visit to Spain, Martens also warned that foreign-owned companies would not receive any special treatment in the planned process of Mexican energy sector deregulation. “Foreign investment will not be privileged in this area, and Fox has said that Mexican private enterprise and the country’s construction industry should participate in energy sector investment,” he said.