Mexico City - Four out of every 10 electricity customers in Mexico City don't pay their bills, according to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).
Information submitted by the state-owned utility to the National Transparency Platform on September 23 shows that there are 1.15 million customers in the capital who have accounts with CFE but don't settle them.
The figure accounts for 41.4% of the 2.77 million electricity customers in Mexico City. The number of defaulters increased by 282% between January 2012 and August 2018.
All told, the unpaid accounts have cost the CFE lost revenue of almost 5.2 billion pesos (US $275.2 million) in the nearly seven-year period.
The company's debtors are concentrated in 10 boroughs of the capital with the highest number in central Cuauhtémoc followed by Venustiano Carranza and Iztacalco.
Contrary to what might be expected, the increasing number of people not paying for their power consumption is not a product of any dramatic increase in electricity rates in these areas. CFE data shows that prices have gone up by just 3.5% in Mexico City over the past six years, less than half the average 7.75% hike across the country.
Other states with high numbers of people who don't pay their electricity bills include México state and Tabasco.
In the former, almost two million customers owe the CFE 7.87 billion pesos (US $417.1 million) while in the latter just under 500,000 people are in arrears for almost 8.1 billion pesos. That means that each defaulter in the Gulf coast state owes the utility an average of 16,507 pesos (US $875).
In Mexico City, México State and Tabasco as well as Chiapas and Veracruz, a large number of customers who refuse to pay their bills are in "civil resistance" against the public utility, a movement that first began in 1995.
President-elect López Obrador said in July that his government will cancel the debts owed to the CFE by such people but stressed that the "clean slate" applied from July 1 - the day he won the election - rather than December 1, when he will be sworn in as president.
Meanwhile, the CFE has said that it will attempt to recover the money owed to it by following the established protocols that apply to unpaid accounts which can include cutting off electricity supply. Between January and July, the CFE suspended services to more than 3.2 million residential customers across Mexico for failing to pay their bills.Source: El Universal