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Theft of Electricity Reduced by 1.5% in Acapulco

By: Staff | Real Acapulco News - 25 August, 2011

(Acapulco, ElSur 25 August) The regional manager of CFE, Mexico’s state-owned electrical monopoly, announced that the efforts of CFE to collect overdue bills and to identify thieves of electricity had resulted in slight progress. The municipalities along the Costa Grande north of Acapulco are still withholding payments due to a dispute with the electric utility concerning computer errors that resulted in overbilling of 1000% or more, and that has caused the value of overdue accounts receivable to swell up considerably. The utility has somewhat stubbornly refused to acknowledge the computer error, which is evidently a question of a decimal point.

The changes in the grid that will make it more difficult to steal electricity are still being implemented, but thefts have been reduced by 1.5% in the last six months, according to the official of the utility. Acapulco leads the nation in thefts of electrical energy. An estimated 35% of all consumption of electricity in Acapulco is stolen by illegal, unmetered connections to the distribution system. This translates to approximately $1.2 billion pesos per year (about US$100 million).

Unpaid bills amount to $500 million pesos. The company indicates that 85% of the 280,000 CFE customers in Acapulco and surrounding municipalities are behind in paying their bills. Around 65% of the invoicing is for heavy users, like hotels, also chronically behind in payments.

The announcement was part of a press conference to promote a free exchange of incandescent bulbs for the energy-saving fluorescent kind. CFE is now offering a free exchange of the old style bulbs for the new ones, up to four per customer, at certain stores (Soriana, Coppel and Chedraui).