Understanding the Usuario Calificado Process

Understanding the Usuario Calificado Process

The concept of Usuario Calificado, or Qualified User in English, is recognized by Mexico's energy regulatory bodies as capable of participating directly in the Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM). This status is not automatically granted to companies, it requires a thorough application process and compliance with specific criteria from the energy regulator.

Eligibility Criteria

To become a Qualified User, a company must meet certain consumption thresholds. Entities consuming more than 1 MW (megawatt) of electricity per year can opt for this status. This threshold makes the option viable primarily for industrial and large commercial users.

The Application Process Involves Several Steps

1. Assessment and Documentation: Prospective qualified users must gather comprehensive data on their electricity consumption patterns and future energy needs. Essential documents include proof of consumption, legal entity status, and tax compliance.

2. Submitting an Application to CRE: The Comisión Reguladora de Energía (CRE) is the regulatory body responsible for processing applications. Applications must be detailed and comply with CRE's guidelines.

3. Securing a Supplier: Qualified Users can negotiate and secure a supply contract with a generator or marketer within the WEM. This process involves evaluating various energy supply options to find the most advantageous deal. We manage a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for our clients which secures savings between 15% to 30% depending on the region.

4. Final Approval and Registration: CRE reviews the final application after securing a supplier. Once approved, the entity is registered as an Usuario Calificado and gains access to the WEM. This process generally takes four to six months to complete.

Benefits of Becoming a Qualified User

1. Access to Competitive Pricing: Qualified Users can negotiate directly with suppliers, enabling them to benefit from competitive pricing unavailable to smaller consumers.

2. Customized Energy Solutions: This status allows for tailor-made energy solutions that best fit the user's specific needs, whether it's a preference for renewable sources or specific contract terms.

3. Participation in the WEM: Participating in the WEM provides flexibility and a broader selection of potential suppliers, including renewable energy providers.

4. Enhanced Energy Management: Qualified Users have greater control over their energy consumption and procurement strategies, enabling more efficient energy management.

Responsibilities and Considerations

1. Regulatory Compliance: Qualified Users must adhere to the regulatory framework set by CRE and other relevant authorities, including reporting and operational guidelines.

2. Contractual Obligations: Contracts with suppliers are legally binding and often complex. Power purchase agreements in Mexico are in Spanish and signed under Mexican law. Qualified Users should ensure they have the expertise to manage these agreements and should work with specialized consultants to negotiate and sign power purchase agreements.

3. Market Risks: Participation in the WEM exposes users to market risks, including price volatility. It's crucial to develop forecasting strategies to assess future electricity demand and potential sales growth at the facilities.

4. Administrative Overhead: Managing and maintaining the status of Usuario Calificado involves additional administrative work, including continual compliance and reporting.

Becoming a Qualified User in Mexico

Entities considering the Qualified User status should thoroughly evaluate their energy needs, risk tolerance, and internal capabilities to manage the WEM's complex dynamics. With the right approach, the Usuario Calificado status can be a powerful tool in aligning energy procurement with broader business and sustainability objectives.

While it offers substantial benefits, particularly regarding access to competitive and renewable energy sources, it also comes with increased responsibilities and the need for a strategic approach to energy management. Contact us to learn more about the Qualified User process.