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CFE admits overcharging customers by 142 million pesos

Businesses ruined by excessive bills while utility shut off power, study finds

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The Federal Electricity Commission, Mexicos’s CFE, received 223,000 complaints from customers who said they were overcharged between 2011 and 2018.

But only 55% of those complaints were resolved one way or another. Investigators found that the CFE charged 142 million.

A customer in Chihuahua’s industrial section received a bill for 4 million pesos in 2016, El Universal reported as an example. Fortunately, that was corrected and the bill was adjusted.

The commercial sector was hit hardest. From 2011 to 2018 businesses filed 31,644 complaints about their rates. One in 10 complaints was resolved in the customer’s favor.

On average, the merchants received bills about 7,000 pesos too high, according to the report.

The Superior Audit of the Federation said the CFE sometimes guesses a customer’s energy use rather than checking the meter, the auditor’s office said.

Some business customers took too long to reach a resolution with CFE and lost their businesses. El Universal identified “Sergio,” a 62-year-old tiendita owner, as one such customer.

Two refrigerators, two large lights, a refrigerated display case and a deli meat slicer were his main sources of energy consumption. For 10 years, Sergio never paid more than 2,500 pesos every other month. But by 2012, bills rose to as much as 7,000 pesos. Three years later, his ruinous bills hit a high of 15,000.

CFE eventually cut off his power twice while his complaints were under investigation. Frustrated and broke, Sergio shut down his store for good.

The National Human Rights Commission has received 3,042 complaints over this particular tactic since 2010.

Source: El Universal

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