Sunday, February 14, 2010

Understanding Your Electric Bill from CFE!

Do you know how to read your electric meter, your electric bill, or understand how you are being charged?

CFE has an excellent website that explains it, line by line, charge by charge.  However, it's in Spanish -- but don't fear!  Download and use the Google Translate Toolbar to translate the site into English (or whatever language you speak)!

Just a few quick notes about electric bills before we begin:
  1. The following examples are for properties that use CFE's transformers.  If you have your own, private transformer, your CFE bill will appear much differently and examples below may not apply.
  2. For reasons unknown, CFE uses several different layouts for these electric bills.  So if your bill doesn't look exactly like the examples shown, no worries -- the titles of the charges are the same, they just may not appear on the bill as they do in the following examples.
  3. These examples and rates are from February 2010.  Please check the CFE website links given throughout the article for the most up-to-date info.

First:  Learning to Read your Meter

Your meter has 5 clock-like wheels with numbers 0-9.  Note that some go clockwise and others counter-clockwise.  Like reading a clock -- if the hand is on, or has not yet passed the next number, that number will be registered.  Here are several examples:



Want to try out your meter reading skills?  The above are screenshots from a learning module on CFE's website.  You can see "Ejemplos" or try out your skills under the "Ejercicios" tab.

Second:  Learning to Read your Bill


  • "Numero de Sevicio": This is your contract number for this connection at CFE.
  • "Total a Pagar": The amount due
  • "Fecha limite de pago": The last date you can pay your bill before CFE has the option of cutting your power.  Important to know:  These folks don't mess around.  Unlike U.S. power companies, they will cut your service promptly and charge an additional reconnection fee.
  • "Uso":  Category of Use.  In this case, it is domestic.
  • "Tarifa": This is the tariff category of your service.  This is important, as this determines what rate schedule is used by CFE to assess your usage.
  • "Hilos":  If you have a "1" in this category, you have single-phase service and only receive 110 service.  If you have a "2" in this category, you have two-phase service and have 220 service (necessary for air conditioners or any other 220 appliance).  A "3" in this category is...get ready for it...three-phase service.

  • "Numero de Medidor":  Your meter number.  This should match the number displayed on your electric meter.
  • "Lectura Actual":  This is the actual reading of your meter at the end of your billing period.
  • "Lectura Anterior": This was the reading from your last reading/start of your billing period.
  • "Mult.":  This is a number that CFE use as a coefficient to assess your charges.  It is normally 1.
  • "Consumo kWh": This is the amount of kilowatt hours that were used during your billing period.  This is found by subtracting "Lectura Anterior" from "Lectura Actual", then multiplying by the "Mult." number.
    • In this example it would be: 1941 - 1294 = 647.  647 x 1 =  647 kWh.
  • "Periodo de Consumo":  Start date and End date of the billing period.  Note that most residential services are assessed for 2 months at a time.
  • "Dias": The number of days in the billing period.
  • "Promedio Diario":  Average consumption per day during the billing period.  Calculated by dividing the "Consumo" by the number of "Dias".
    • In this example it would be: 647 / 62 =  10.43 average kWh per day

Your electricity usage is assessed in 3 categories: 
  • "Basico":  This is the basic rate for the first amount of kWh consumed.
  • "Intermedio":  This is rate, higher than the basic rate, for the second amount of kWh consumed.
  • "Excedente":  When you have used more electricity than the Basico and Intermedio thresholds, the balance of your consumption is charged at this level -- the most expensive of the 3 categories.
How many kWh's are in each category and what are the rates?  Your "Tarifa" will dictate how many kWh's you are allotted in each category and the prices.  These prices and thresholds can change seasonally.  [See the 'KNOWING YOUR RATES' section below for more details.]
  • In the above example, (which has a "Tarifa" category of 1B) the first 150 kWh were assessed at the "Básico" rate of 0.687 pesos per kWh, for a total of 103.05 pesos.  The next 150 kWh were assessed at the "Intermedio" rate of 1.137 pesos per kWh, for a total of 170.55 pesos.  The balance of the kWh's, 347, were assessed at the "Excedente" rate of 2.409 pesos per kWh, for a total of 835.92 pesos.  [The "Suma" column is simply the total of each column.]

  • "Costo de Producción": This is the cost before any subsidy or discount is given.
  • "Aportación Gubernamental":  This is the amount of government subsidy that is credited toward the amount owed.
    • In this example, the total cost was $2010.22 pesos and the government subsidized $900.70 pesos, so the total due will be $1109.52 pesos.

    • "Energía": This is the total due, after the government subsidy.
    • "IVA":  This is the sales tax, which is 11% in the state of Quintana Roo (It is 16% in some other states.)
    • "Fac. del Periodo":  This is your "Energía" + IVA
    • "DAP":  This is a municipal tax.
    • "Adeudo Anterior": This was the amount of your previous bill.
    • "Su Pago": This is the amount you paid toward your last bill.
    • "Total": This is the amount you must pay, with all credits and debits considered.

    • "Historial de Consumo":  This is a historical review of your consumption.

      • "Avisos Importantes":  This is the space where they will post any notes/comments.

        EXAMPLE BILL #2:

         (Click to enlarge image)

        Notice that this bill has a flat fee charged under the "Facturación" section, and there is no government subsidy.  That is due to this bill being in the "DAC" category.  Unfortunately, it isn't obvious, because it does not indicate directly on this bill that it is being billed at the DAC level.  However, when you see  it being billed at a flat rate with no subsidy, you can know that you are being billed at the DAC level.

        What is DAC?  It is Domestic High Consumption.  You are charged a much higher, flat rate per kWh, you have a higher monthly minimum charge, and receive no subsidy.

        How did I get into DAC?  Each "Tarifa" category has different threshold of maximum monthly kWh that is permitted (see chart below).  When your last 12 months' usage averages above this threshold, you are charged at the DAC rates.

        DAC Thresholds for the Various Tarifa Categories:

        Tarifa 1: 25 kWh/mes.
        Tarifa 1A:  300 kWh/mes.
        Tarifa 1B:  400 kWh/mes.
        Tarifa 1C:  850 kWh/mes.
        Tarifa 1D:  1,000    kWh/mes.
        Tarifa 1E:  2,000 kWh/mes.
        Tarifa 1F:  2,500 kWh/mes.

        • Continuing with our Tarifa 1B example: When you are in Tarifa 1B the maximum monthly threshold is 400 kWh.  As you can see in their historical section, this particular property has been well over this threshold, on average, for the past 12 months. So, their charges are assessed at the DAC level - a flat rate of 2.892 pesos/kWh and no subsidy.

        How do you get out of DAC?  Your 12 month average consumption must remain under the threshold (400 kWh for Tarifa 1B) to return to a normal billing cycle.

        Third: Knowing Your Rates

        • Your rate schedule is dictated by your "Tarifa" category.
        • You will have a low monthly minimum fee that is determined by your "Tarifa" category.  
          • Example:  Tarifa 1B has a minimum charge for equivalent of 25 kWh monthly.
        • Your kWh consumption will be billed at the Basico, Intermedio, and Excedente levels.  The threshold for these levels and the prices per kWh for each level vary according to the time of year.  In summer (which is April - September in our area) we have lower rates and higher thresholds to help keep prices lower.  Summer months will vary by region, so ask CFE if you are unsure. 
        • You will receive a government subsidy that pays for a portion of your bill.
        • The regular (non-DAC) per kWH rates, by "Tarifa" category, are posted on here on CFE's website

        Below, is the regular (non-DAC) rate schedule for Tarifa 1B from CFE's Website.  Remember to check their site for the most current rates.

        Tarifa 1B Rate Chart

        SUMMER RATES (April - September in Our Area):
        For Consumption of Up to 225 kWh monthly
        Rango de consumo Dic./2009 Ene. Feb. Mar. Abr. May. Jun. Jul. Ago. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dic.

        Bsico 1-1250.6050.6070.6090.6110.6130.6150.6170.6190.6210.6230.6250.6270.629

        For Consumption Higher than 225 kWh monthly
        Rango de consumo Dic./2009 Ene. Feb. Mar. Abr. May. Jun. Jul. Ago. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dic.

        Bsico 1-1250.6050.6070.6090.6110.6130.6150.6170.6190.6210.6230.6250.6270.629
        Intermedio 126-2000.9080.9110.9140.9170.9200.9230.9260.9290.9320.9350.9380.9410.944

        For Consumption Up to 175 kWh monthly
        Rango de consumo Dic./2009 Ene. Feb. Mar. Abr. May. Jun. Jul. Ago. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dic.

        Bsico 1-750.6850.6870.6890.6910.6930.6950.6970.6990.7010.7030.7050.7070.709

        For Consumption Up Higher than 175 kWh monthly
        Rango de consumo Dic./2009 Ene. Feb. Mar. Abr. May. Jun. Jul. Ago. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dic.
        Intermedio 1-750.6850.6870.6890.6910.6930.6950.6970.6990.7010.7030.7050.7070.709
        Intermedio 76-1501.1331.1371.1411.1451.1491.1531.1571.1611.1651.1691.1731.1771.181

        • Your "Tarifa" category sets the maximum monthly average consumption threshold.  If your last 12 month consumption average exceeds this threshold, you are catapulted into the DAC rate until your 12 month average is below the threshold again.
        • Your DAC rate is set by the region of the country.
          • Our region is "Region Sur y Peninsular".
        • Your minumum fee = fixed charge + the equivalent cost of 25 kWh consumption.
          • The fixed charge for our region in February 2010 was 69.68 pesos.
        • Your kWh consumption will be billed at a flat rate (rather than be prorated into the Basico, Intermedio, and Excedente levels) that varies monthly.  The rate fluctuates monthly and is not published in advance like the regular rate.  However, it is published on CFE's website.
        • You will not receive a government subsidy.

        Hopefully, this helps clear things up!  Have questions?  Please leave your questions as a "comment" on the original blog post at so that the questions and response can be viewed by everyone.

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