Cuernavaca's water utility: unpaid bills. Cuernavaca's water utility: unpaid bills.

Unpaid electrical bills add to water woes

Cuernavaca in arrears to CFE for 77 million pesos

Another issue has further complicated water problems in Cuernavaca, Morelos: unpaid electricity bills.

The municipality owes almost 77 million pesos (US $ 4.2 million) in unpaid bills for the operation of its water system, according to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

The CFE said the municipality’s water department (SAPAC) has not paid for the electricity used at several of the city’s wells since January 2017, leading it to partially or completely cut their power supply.

Cuernavaca has experienced widespread water supply issues, with over half the city’s population periodically affected, but the municipal government maintains there is no water crisis in the Morelos capital.

But 12 wells are currently unable to pump water due to power cuts, the CFE said, explaining that it had disconnected a total of 16 pumping systems from the grid. Seven of the wells are facing permanent cuts if the bills are not paid.

An agreement to restructure the debt was reached in May last year but the CFE said that SAPAC “failed to comply with the historical payments it agreed to make from then on.”

The federal agency clarified that partial payments had been made in some months but explained that they didn’t even cover new costs that were generated, resulting in an increase of the overall liability.

According to the research center Morelos Rinde Cuentas (Accountable Morelos), every third day there is a neighborhood in Cuernavaca that doesn’t have water, and 57% of the city’s residents suffer from the network’s shortcomings.

SAPAC yesterday recognized the existence of its debt and said it will seek to meet with CFE officials to reach an arrangement that both relieves its financial burden and ensures that water gets to people’s homes.

In a statement, the water department thanked the CFE for recognizing the partial payments it has made and said it would continue to make payments for the benefit of the development of the city and its residents “according to its means and the income the organization receives.”

Cuernavaca residents will vote to elect a new mayor on July 1. Current Mayor Cuauhtémoc Blanco, who has come under fire for Cuernavaca’s water problems, is seeking to move on.

He will run in the election for Morelos state governor as a candidate for the Morena party.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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