Monday, June 17, 2024

Disgruntled electric customers in Tabasco threaten to lynch CFE personnel

Residents of more than 50 indigenous communities in Tabasco have warned that they will lynch Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) workers who attempt to cut their power because they haven’t paid their bills.

The disgruntled customers, most of whom live in the municipality of Centro, say that the rates they are charged are too high and have declared accordingly that they are in “civil resistance” against the state-run company.

“We’re willing to pay but make it fair,” Nicolás Sánchez, spokesman for the civil resistance movement, told a press conference.

“Our resistance is based on not paying; we will not allow any CFE worker to cut [power] in these communities, we will not allow any worker to take readings of the meters, they’ll be run out [of town],” he said.

Sánchez said that residents are asking that the CFE charge a single preferential rate throughout the whole year. Electricity customers in Tabasco currently pay a lower rate in the hotter months of the year than in winter, leading many people to complain that they can’t afford the higher bills they receive when the weather turns cold.

In response, Tabasco Governor Adán Augusto López Hernández pointed out that the rates charged in Tabasco are already the lowest in the country.

Electricity customers have a long history of refusing to pay their power bills in the Gulf coast state, where President López Obrador launched a civil resistance movement in 1995 to protest against alleged fraud in the 1994 gubernatorial election, which he lost to Roberto Madrazo.

More than 500,000 customers racked up a debt of 11 billion pesos in unpaid bills over the next 25 years but the CFE agreed to cancel the total amount in the middle of 2019. However, after the slate was wiped clean on June 1, many customers continued to leave their bills unpaid.

Guillermo Nevárez, director of the state company’s distribution division, said this month that the situation had improved, explaining that almost 60% of customers in Tabasco are now paying their bills.

Source: Sipse (sp) 

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