Micro-theft threatens the CFE
All kinds of equipment is stolen - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Micro-theft threatens the CFE

Noé Cruz Serrano
Mexico City
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During the first nine months of 2019, micro-theft cost MXN $75 million to CFE

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In addition to electricity theft that costs the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) MXN $30 billion per year, the company must add micro-theft that it does not report publicly but that in the first nine months of 2019 cost it MXN $75 million.

All kinds of equipment is stolen: materials, tools, rails, plates, nails, timers, gas tanks, hoses, cables, telephones, computers, printers, air conditioning systems, screens, valves, piping, wire mesh, vehicles, antennae, power supply units, anything that can be taken out and sold in the black market or to CFE’s competitors.

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According to sources of the company that asked to remain anonymous to prevent conflicts with the Mexican Electricians Union (SUTERM), due to the nature of what is extracted “it can be the workers themselves” and in lesser measure, third persons.

The information to which EL UNIVERSAL had access shows that practically all the centers or facilities of CFE are victims of micro-looting that can involve organized groups inside the company made up of active or retired electricians or who are linked to external criminals.

In addition, there is presumed complicity from security staff in the access gates – provided by private security companies – to the CFE, both for pedestrians and vehicles.

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Vulnerable area
This kind of theft os focused on the plants located in the Valley of Mexico, divided in center, north, and south, which manage their own facilities.

All kinds of products are stolen from this area with a value of MXN $38,698,300, equivalent to half of the CFE’s micro-looting in the country, according to information of the company granted via transparency.

The problem seems not to be a big deal for the directors who are focused on the theft of steel of the transmission towers and cables, crimes that take place frequently outside the facilities.

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Micro-theft does not have a significant weight in CFE’s public documents.

In February 2019, and basically some days before leaving the sub-directorate of CFE’S Physical Security, Captain Gustavo Cuevas Gutiérrez made a balance in matters of security in the company.

He recognized that one of the main threats for the commission is the common crime focused on stealing steel and copper, especially in urban areas.

“The objective is to keep the current registries and, if possible, to try for incidents to keep dropping,” he said.

However, these actions are done outside CFE’s facilities.

He asserted that CFE hires private security for inside protection. The company pays MXN $46 million per month for the surveillance from 1,240 members of the Army and the Navy to stop steel and cable theft, as well as to face the attacks of the Electricians Union (SME), accused of trying to invade facilities.

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