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CFE – You've Come a Long Way Baby

When we were first here in Ajijic, Lake Chapala and for many years thereafter disputing you CFE (Comision Federal de Electricidad or Electric Company) was futile. We are billed every two months and usage is monitored by meters outside your house.

There was no English spoken and if you dared to question a charge you had better have a fluent Spanish speaking person or persons with you.

Even then it was seldom if ever fruitful. I remember when we were first renting in the village a CFE man came to the door and gestured with his fingers that he was going to cut off our power as it had not been paid. I immediately called our rental agent who called CFE who called this man to say the bills had been paid and disaster was, thankfully, averted. This was a fairly common practice and many renters ended up paying twice for service to avoid being cut off and the healthy reinstallation charges. That was then.

Normally, if you did have a dispute CFE would send out a man to check the meter but often you would have to pay the bill in the interim and wait for a subsequent credit. Some are still waiting.

You can imagine my surprise (horror) when I received today a CFE bill for over $43,000.00 pesos. Our usual bill in this house for the last 12 years is somewhere between $3,000.00 and $6,000.00 pesos depending on what children had been in residence during the billing period.

Many things ran through my mind. A friend had just been assessed for thousands of pesos for a meter that had never been read (somehow this was her fault)and she did have to pay and remembering how disputes were seldom resolved to the users benefit.

So I did what anyone in my position would do I turned the problem directly over to my wonderful Spanish speaking daughter to help me and went on about my chores with a very heavy heart.

She called CFE and they did try everything under the sun to justify the $43,000.00 + charge. Perhaps we had an electric leak (really?) or the meters were broken or we had purchased some new device that used an extra 10,000 kWh. My daughter poo pooed all of these suggested option so they agreed they would work with her to try and solve the problem.

She scrambled directly to the CFE office near the Pemex in Chapala and took with her a picture of our meters and showed them their mistake. I am happy to account that hey corrected our bill on the spot to a more agreeable $3,000.00 pesos and all was well.

This is what you have to do if there is a problem with your bill. Take a photo of your meters or on the back of your bill is a space to write the usage at the bottom.

The emergency phone # of CFE is 071 and their regular phone # is (376) 765-3966.

Also for your convenience on the back of your bill is a list of all the places that you may pay your bill without going to their office in Chapala. You can also pay at OXXO.

The CFE website is: and you can pay online as well.

They do have English speaking people now to help you and whenever we have had occasion to call the 24 hour service line 071 we have been dealt with efficiently and pleasantly and always the problem has been solved in a timely manner.

Make sure you have proof and you too should be able to avert your own CFE disaster.

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