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CFE - The Electric Utility

Few things in Baja are as misunderstood, nor cause so much anxiety as does the electricity bill.  The electric utility, Comisión Federal Electricidad (Federal Electric Commission) or CFE, provides electricity in Baja.  All consumer electric bills have a two-month billing cycle.  Businesses may have a one-month or two-month cycle.

To encourage conservation, and to make basic domestic consumption more affordable to all economic brackets, there is a tiered rate structure.  Low usage results in a very low domestic power bill.  This type of tiered-rate billing is also found in most places in the US.  What may be different in Baja is that the tiers may not start at the lowest rate from one bill to the next.  This is the dreaded DAC, or high consumption bill.  DAC can cause the electric bill to be significantly higher than the last bill, with what appears to be similar usage.  If there is a history of high consumption, only one rate, DAC, is applied to all of your usage and that is at the highest rate, even higher than the top tier in the standard tiered pricing.

So, how do you know when you are at risk of DAC and high electric bills?  Here is the translation (provided by Chrome browser) from the CFE website at this link:



This rate will apply to all energy services intended for domestic use only. Consumption is considered high when records an average monthly consumption than high consumption limit set for your location.

The average monthly consumption is determined by the moving average of consumption recorded by the user in the last 12 months.

When the average monthly consumption is below the limit set High consumption locally, domestic rates will apply 1, 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F; appropriate

The high consumption limit is defined in terms of the domestic rate: 1, 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F, which applies in your location.

1 250 kWh / month
1A 300 kWh / month
1B 400 kWh / month
1C 850 kWh / month
1D 1,000 kWh / month
1E 2,000 kWh / month
1F 2,500 kWh / month


The translation is a bit hard to understand, so here is a summary:  

You are given a limit of usage per month as shown in the table above.  This limit is based on your rate ("tarrifa" on your bill), which is determined by the geographic location and size of the house.  Considering geography provides a higher allowance for homes in hotter regions, such as Mexicali where air conditioning is required.  If your usage exceeds this limit, all of your usage is billed at the DAC (high consumption) rate.  If your average consumption is below the limit, your usage is billed at the tiered pricing for your rate.  Keep in mind that the average is for 12 months, which is six billing cycles, so the calculation is only made at each billing cycle.  Once the rate has switched to DAC it will be at least two months before it returns to regular rates, and possibly longer, depending on the usage averages.

You can verify your bill, or monitor your usage by reading your meter.  Electronic meters, increasingly found in Baja, are easy to read, just read the digits.  To read an analog meter with dials read this article on how to read an electric meter.

The CFE website has a lot of information, in addition to the explanation above, rates for every month are available.  If Spanish is a challenge for you to read, the Google Chrome browser will automatically translate most of the text on the pages.

CFE offices are located in every city.  Here are guidebook entries with maps to those in:

Ensenada - CFE - The Electric Utility

Rosarito - CFE - The Electric Utility

Tijuana - CFE - The Electric Utility



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