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Mexican industrial power rates up nearly 3 pct in July

MEXICO CITY, July 4 (Reuters) - Reversing a year-and-a-half trend, Mexican industrial power rates rose nearly 3 pct for July compared with the same month last year, owing to higher prices for natural gas and fuel oil, the head of Mexico’s national electricity company CFE said on Monday.

The new industrial tariff is 0.73 pesos ($0.0397) per kilowatt/hour, or 2.8 percent higher than the 0.71 pesos ($0.0386) per k/h rate from a year earlier, Enrique Ochoa, director of the CFE, told local broadcaster Televisa.

Ochoa said that commercial power rates for July rose between 5 and 7 percent.

In Mexico, electricity rates charged by the CFE are set by the finance ministry. The last industrial power rate hikes took place in December 2015.

Rates have risen due to increases in the prices of natural gas and fuel oil, the top two fuels used to generate electricity in Mexico, the CFE said in a statement announcing the rate hikes.

The price of natural gas rose 18 percent in June compared with the previous month, while fuel oil rose by about 8 percent, the CFE said.

A sweeping energy overhaul finalized in 2014 ended the CFE’s decades-long monopoly while creating a new wholesale electricity market.

Once fully implemented, the new market promises to offer businesses and industrial users with additional private-sector options from which to buy power. ($1 = 18.3980 Mexican pesos) (Reporting by Alizeh Kohari; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Dan Grebler)