Living in Mexico. EVERYTHING you need to know (and then some)
How to pay and restore cut CFE electric services and avoid a future cut
September 29, 2021
Having the power cut due to a late payment can leave you scrambling trying to figure out how to get your electricity restored. If you don’t have the app or it’s not working (a common problem) and you’re without power to use the Internet, you’re going to find yourself in a bit of a pickle.
There are a few easy options to getting your service restored in the amount of time it will take you to head our for a bite to eat (while you wait).
First is to take your paper bill to a CFE pay machine, correctly called CFEMáticos ATMs. You can make the payment there in cash or by card. You will need a bit of Spanish to read the screen, so bring a local friend if you think you’ll need help. Afterward, you can take them for a bite to eat for their efforts. The instructions below are in English. The CFE ATM machine is not.
For about 10 peso (commission fee), you can also make the payment in person at a local bank during banking hours (not using one of their ATMs) since this will ensure the payment is sent to the company and reflected against your account ASAP, which is usually within the hour (even though they say 24-hours). Here’s how and which banks will take your payment.
You can also pay the service online through your local bank account, but the quick restoration will only work if this is done during banking hours since the payment needs to be reflected immediately. If you don’t have a Mexican bank account, you can make the payment online through the CFE website. To do this, you need to sign up on the CFE website then go here to their payment page to make the payment.
Paying using the CFE app is another payment method, but is one I understand does not always work well. An option to avoid having the service cut at all is to simply prepay it. Yes, you can do that. If you travel a lot, have a crappy memory, problems with your non-Mexican credit card or you’re without a Mexican bank account, this is a good option.
You will need to grab your friend again and head to your local CFE office. There, you will need to clear up your current bill. Once done, you can then hand over cash, however much you want to prepay or have as a credit, and tell them that is what you want to do.
For example, using my bill below, to prepay for one year I would bring 3,500 in cash. Averaging 400 peso per (2-month) bill times six bills would be 2,400 peso. I use more electricity during the winter months and during Christmas, around 700 peso per bill, so this credit / prepayment of 3,500 peso would likely last me a year.
The CFE teller will spend a bit of time keying away on their board before handing you a receipt. Now, every time your billing cycle comes around, you will see a 0.00 due and a second number, which will reflect your remaining credit.
You can see here on my water bill how prepayments work. What you use (current bill) is simply deducted from what you have as credit until you run out.
If you’re sort of new and don’t really understand the whole CFE billing system, here’s a quick rundown. You cannot carry bills forward in Mexico. They are due in full by the date on the bill or the service is cut at midnight Mexico City time, no questions asked.
You can see on the CFE (electric) bill. First thing, the address. Their base is located in Mexico City (most everything is), which is why the cut day/time is Mexico City time.
Second, you can see the amount due (Total a Pagar) 394.00 and the Peridio Facturado or billing date: February 4 to April 7. Around here, we get one bill for every two months and yes, this is my actual bill of 394.00 peso (no subsidy) for two month’s of use. I live very inexpensively here.
Third, is Limite de Pago. The literal translation is Payment Limit, which means the maximum due date or the “limit” of time you have to make payment, which is April 23. Directly beside that box it says Corte a Partir or Cut From, which is April 24, the cut date if the bill is not paid.
It’s important to note that when you’re paying these “as you go”, if you pay them at a convenience store or grocery store, they will not take a bill payment within four days of its due date because they cannot guarantee the payment will be reflected against the account before the cut date.
If you’re here and the bill is due within that four day window, make the payment in person because in their office, those payments are reflected against the account immediately. Once the payment is received by CFE, the service is automatically restored (it’s all computerized). There is no need to go to a head office or call for a maintenance worker, just wait for a few hours, 24-hours at most.