Image credits: Jon Moore
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News Article

CFE Loses US$1.8 billion in Stolen Energy

By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Wed, 08/18/2021 - 10:53

Theft, system failures, damaged equipment and administrative errors accounted for roughly MX$50 billion (≈US$2.5 billion) in financial losses for the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) during the first half of the year. Of that amount, every seven out of ten pesos totaling almost MX$36 billion (≈US$1.8 billion) are related directly to electricity theft from the network and or the manipulation of meters, among other methods according to official data.

During the first semester of the year, there was a holistic electricity volume loss of 36,594 GWh, representing 11.62 percent of total sales and a cost totaling MX$50,695 billion (US$2,535 billion) the state enterprise detailed. Despite efforts to curb theft, it continues to be accounted for the greatest portion of energy loss which the agency calculated amounted to 6.15 percent of production for the first semester.

Just over 52 percent or 19,312 GWh of total energy loss was stolen, totaling MX$35,913 billion (US$1,796 billion) in lost revenue. Meanwhile, technical energy losses, accounted for 47 percent of observed energy loss, an amount equivalent to MX$14,782 billion (US$739 million).

According to CFE, stolen energy is calculated by subtracting the amount of energy received by consumers by the energy delivered. Data from 2020 also indicates that volume of stolen energy increased from 11.42 percent in the initial months of the pandemic, thereby indicating that legislative efforts to dissuade energy theft have been a failure up until now.

The federal government had proposed that the apparent increase in energy loss year-to-year is due to in part to the economic contraction brought on by the pandemic. In retrospect, the administration added the implementation of the 150-distribution zone control plan. Going forward, if the state company intends to bring these rates down it will have to begin prosecuting people under federal article 368 which criminalizes the improper use of electrical energy, punishable by a fine of five thousand minimum salaries and between three and ten years of prison.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
CFE, Gesto Energy
Photo by:   Jon Moore
Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Journalist & Industry Analyst