What’s Up With These Electricity Charges?

Study this cheat sheet, you have more control of your bill than you might think

CFE, the local electric company, sends out their bills to private residences every two months. Businesses are sent their bills more often because the bill is usually bigger. We hear so many complaints about the cost of electricity, but oftentimes it’s not really that high, it’s usually a misunderstanding of the bill.

Today, we’re using as an example a bill from a GG staffer who lives with her daughter in a three bedroom house. As you can see, she pays only $53 USD a month. The biggest misunderstanding possibly comes from the fact that this month’s bill is partly determined by how much you used last month. They only charge you for the kilowatts you used this period, but the price of this month’s kilowatts is determined by how much you used last month. If you hogged a lot of electricity last month, this month you will be paying more for each kilowatt. A close examination of your bill will show you how, as you increase your usage, your subsidy goes down.


1. Your name or the name of the person who made the original contract, most likely the owner of the property

2. Total amount you need to pay this period, (usually a billing cycle is every two months).

3. Usage type. (Domestic or Commercial)

4. Rate that you are under. This is the tricky part that most foreigners don’t understand and that creates the most confusion. Your rate that you will be paying depends on how much electricity you used on the last two-month period. If you used a lot last period, you are penalized on this one, because you have been pushed into a different tier. There are two tiers. Tier 1C which is where you want to be. If you got too piggy last period with the electricity, you will be pushed into the tier called DAC

5. Hilos is designating if you have 110 or 220. The number 1 means 110, 2 means you also have 220

6. Your account number. It remains constant, of course.

7. The date you must pay this bill.

8. Another account number, which also remains constant. Nobody seemed to know why or be too concerned over having two different account numbers.

9. Your drop dead due date, actually the day they will shut you off. Notice that it’s just one day after your due date. Shake a leg. Also, they drop in here a little sentence on how you’re doing with your consumption; whether you have overspent this period, or you get a little pat on the back if you show you haven’t used much. Sometimes they warn you your usage is too much and that the government subsidy may be less in the next bill.

10. Your meter number. Be sure to check that the meter reader is reading the correct meter, and not your neighbor’s.

11. Actual reading.

12. Days contained in this period, usually two months.

13. Daily average consumption cost in pesos

14. Last billing period’s reading

15. Multiplier. (Constant by which you have to multiply the difference between readings to get the consumption of energy, generally it is 1, so not a concern)

16. Consumption in kilowatts

17. Daily average of consumption in kilowatts.

18. Period of consumption

19. Production cost. They’re telling you how much it cost CFE to obtain and deliver that electricity to you. You can see here that it is heavily subsidized by the government, and you are not paying the full price of what it truly costs.

20. Your government’s contribution. The subsidy. This box is important. Tricky, but important. This is where they show you what tiers you have earned this billing period.

21. Your first 300 kw are costing you .719 pesos for each of those 300 kws.

22. Cost of the next 300 kws. Here, it’s .847 pesos for each of those 300 kws.

23. Cost of the next 300 kws. These will be charged at the rate of 1.081 pesos per kw. If you go over 900 kw in a billing period, good luck, the bill will go through the roof because your kw cost will go up exponentially.

24. Total cost in pesos of all the kws you consumed

25. Graphic shows with a picture, what is detailed in numbers 21 to 24

26. Detailed information about how are you being charged. How much for the energy The next box breaks down your total, showing how they got to your total after they figured your kw usage

27. 16% sales tax

28. Invoiced for this period

29. Amount past due

30. Credit for your last payment

31. Comments about how your consumption was. It’s kind of their interpretation of the graphic that’s just above it.

32. Total amount to be paid.

33. Service number and tag to be passed under the laser if you pay at a machine. Note both “account” numbers are identifying you.

34. Restatement of your total to be paid. The back side of bill is mostly details of how you spent your utility money last year, broken down into billing periods.

Ok. So there you have it. Clip this out and refer to it when your next bill comes in. It should be easy to decipher now.