New condo? Tips on getting your power connected

After purchasing your new condo in Vallarta, one of the first utilities you will want to get connected to is your electricity. In Mexico, the only company you can use for electricity is the Comision Federal de Electricidad/Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) which the federal government owns. CFE is considered one of the largest energy companies in the world. (Tip: Everyone uses the initials CFE when referring to their electricity – as in "I need to pay my CFE bill," "How much should I expect to pay per month for CFE?")

According to its website, CFE has over 110,347.18 kilometers of transmission line, 882,715.32 kilometers of distribution line, 2,275 power substations and 50,808 kilometers of fiber optic cable for national communications. If you were to wrap their network around the earth, it would wrap around it more than 15 times!

CFE provides electricity to a total of 46 million customers in Mexico, and each year they add one million new clients. To generate power for these many users, CFE has over 158 generating plants that use different technologies, including combined cycle, thermoelectric, hydroelectric, coal, turbo gas, internal combustion, nuclear electric, geothermal, wind and solar photovoltaic.

or those that enjoy a little trivia, in 1937, three private power companies were operating in Mexico: The Mexican Light and Power Company, the American and Foreign Power Company, and the Chapala Electric Company. Each had a specific territory in Mexico, so they did not compete. As a result of having a monopoly within their areas, there were many interruptions in service, which caused problems for businesses and residential customers. Also, the rates for electricity were very high, so the Mexican federal government stepped in and created CFE.

In October 2021, the government launched an electricity reform initiative to guarantee the country's energy security and offer fair rates below inflation. In the future, 54% of Mexico's energy is expected to be generated by CFE and 46% by private companies. The hope is that this reform will promote faster, more reliable service and better prices for all. Until this is implemented, power continues to be provided only through CFE.

To secure a contract with CFE, you must meet specific requirements. Your casa/condo must be no more than 35 meters from the nearest pole; if you are in a rural area, it is 50 meters. Electrical preparation must be in accordance with regulations (specifics available on the CFE website). If you are reconnecting, meaning moving into a location that previously had CFE, there must be no money owing from previous bills.

If you meet these prerequisites, you can proceed to a CFE location. There are two offices in Vallarta (Pitillal and 5 de Diciembre) and two others around the Bay (San Juan de Abajo and Bucerias).

You will need to take documentation with you to complete the process. Take identification that shows your full name (passport or Mexican Visa are best) and the address where you want the service provided (you will need to supply street, interior and exterior number, neighborhood, municipality, state, and postal code. Make sure to have all this information, or you will be turned away. If you have a bill from another service for that address, bring it along). An RFC (Federal Taxpayers Registry Number/Registro Federal de Contribuyentes), a contact phone number and an email address are also required.

If this feels cumbersome, you can avoid the hassle and hire a third party to go to CFE to set up the contract. Many folks opt to go this route, especially if they still need to perfect their Spanish. If you go this route, the person representing you must have a simple or notarized power of attorney and identification. They must also have a copy of your/the owner of the property's identification (a good quality photocopy usually suffices). Note: there are different requirements for registering a business with CFE. The cost for a third party varies but generally averages about USD 50 per utility.

here is no cost to the contract itself, but you must pay a deposit in advance as a guarantee. The amount for the deposit can change from time to time, so it is best to refer to CFE's website.

From the time you complete the contract and pay the deposit, CFE aims to connect your property within two days (5 days in rural areas). You can check on the status of your application by dialing 071, or you can pop back into their office.

New condo in Vallarta or Bay of Banderas area? We can assist you with setting up your utilities to avoid stress and hassle. Contact us through our website, email us at or text by Whatsapp at + 322 136 5156.