Understand your Electric Bill in Mexico (+how to lower it!)

Money Saving Tips:

Since electric usage is surprisingly expensive in Mexico, it is important to understand what you are using and how much it is affecting your bill.

Some of the most energy consuming appliances are the ones we use the most - the air conditioner, coffee pot, refrigerator and electric clothes dryer. These appliances can consume insane amounts of energy in very short amounts of time, driving your bill sky high! Over usage of these appliances can even move you out of the countries domestic price category into a commercial category, increasing your energy rate by almost 50%!

Your energy bill will range anywhere from $20-$200 USD per month, depending mostly on air conditioner and dryer usage. So, be sure to understand your bill and keep usage to a minimum.

 

Reading the Meter

Looking at the meter itself can be a little confusing, especially since the dials don’t all go clockwise.

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For each of the gauges, you will take the lower of the two numbers it reads between, unless it is between 0-9 - then you will take the 9.

This meter reads 35872. The second gauge is almost to the 6 while the following gauge hasn’t yet passed 0, so you would still take the 5.  

Once you understand how to read the meter, you can deduct your usage accordingly to get a better idea of the daily kwh's you're using with appliances such as the energy sucking air conditioner in the heat of the summer. 

Understanding the Bill

At first the CFE electric bill can be very confusing, but once you understand the key points of the bill and how to lower your energy usage, you can certainly reduce the amount you owe.

In Mexico, your CFE electric bill will come every two months. If you live in a larger home or are not cognizant of your energy usage, you could be paying upwards of $100 USD per month. However, if you learn the allotted usage and overage charges, the cost of utilities in Mexico can be quite affordable.

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To get your total amount of kwh used for the period in question, take your initial reading (lectura anterior) and subtract if from your actual reading (lectura actual). Multiply the kwh used by the price in pesos (Precio) and your bill should match your solution.

 

Energy Saving Tips

  • DAC rates on your CFE bill stands for High Domestic Consumption. If this appears on your bill, it means that you have used an average of more than 800kwh of electricity per billing cycle for the last 12 months. This means you will be paying more for your bill in short term, but there are a few things you can do to reduce charges in the future:
  1. Make sure you are not being charged as a business. Look for the word “domestico” under “Uso” on your bill
  2. Have a professional check your meter to ensure it is working properly
  3. Compare the number usage on your bill to what your meter actually says
  4. If you live in a condo or apartment, make sure you aren’t paying for extra usage in the building such as hallway lights, outdoor lights, etc
  5. You can lower your bill immediately if you see DAC usage by changing the name of the bill to your spouse or roommate so you are not being penalized for the previous renters average over the last 12 months
  6. Make sure you get copies of all of the past bills & negotiate with your real estate agent and get the CFE bill transferred into your name. If you don’t, it’s a minimum 6 months before your bill goes back down. 
  • Central air conditioners will save you astronomical amounts of energy compared to window units, so consider investing in an air conditioner upgrade
  • Florescent light bulbs use less energy than regular light bulbs
  • Use black out curtains to deflect the sun from entering the home
  • If you are subletting your home for a nightly rate, set a daily kwh allowance for renters around 7kwh and charge them an additional fee for over consumption
  • A subsidy is offered by the Mexican Government for those who conserve electricity and can decrease your bill by almost half, so it’s important to do your best to lower your energy usage

The national average is around $40 USD per month, but to achieve that you mustn’t run your energy like you did in the United States, or you will be hammered with overage fees and higher rates per KW.

Thanks for reading!

I'd love to hear anymore tips or comments you have to help other residents like us save money on our bills! 

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