Electricity in Los Cabos –
Anywhere you live, there are tips and tricks that only locals know, and it can take a little while to learn all of these intricacies; getting mail, where to find certain everyday items and even understanding and paying your electric bill. Living in Cabo is no doubt an exciting experience. It is indeed special to have a Los Cabos address, as so many expats have discovered. The culture, great food, laid-back lifestyle, and low cost of living makes for a great second home or full-time spot to call home.
Something that often puzzles many expats arriving in Cabo is the electric bill. How to pay for it is simple enough, the CFE which stands for “Commisión Federal de Electricidad’ (Federal Electric Commission) , offers automated machines accepting pesos for payments. The bills arrive on average within 45-50 days. Billing cycles are for the past 60-day period and are sent six times per year. With the bill in hand, you can also pay in major grocery stores like Wal-Mart, La Comer, Soriana or the Oxxos that are on almost any corner in Cabo. There is a very small commission to pay this bill at these convenience stores. You can also pay phone bills, water bills, and even cell phone bills at these stores or markets. As long the “fecha limite de pagar” or pay before date, has not elapsed, or within 48 hours, you can pay your bill in any of these previously mentioned spots. If you find yourself within 48 hours or a day late, you will need to pay at the CFE office before the power is disconnected to avoid paying a reconnection fee. You can also always go into the CFE offices and pay with an agent if you wish, but nowadays they are mostly there to assist with questions only.
Always keep your recent power bills and paid receipts, as these serve as proof of address. You will need these “Comprobante de Domiciolio” to attain a phone line and Internet plan, hire satellite TV service, open a Mexican bank account, etc. Almost any credit, or account needing to be opened requires a recent proof of address sent within the last 60-90 days.
Understanding what you are paying for on your electric bill can seem like a mystery for many people, so here is how they CFE breaks it down;
- Your bill is calculated based on the amount of kilowatts you used.
- Generally, in the summer months, the bills increase. This can be due to air conditioning use, as in some cases residents run a/c units 24 hours per day.
- The green and white CFE bill stuffed in your mailbox will clearly mark your average daily kWh (kilowatts per hour) usage on your bill, to compare this billing cycle with the past cycle. It is in the third bubble on your receipt under ‘Promedio Diario en kWh’ which translates to daily average kilowatts per hour.
- Something significant to keep in mind is after using a certain number of kW in your billing cycle you will pay the full rate of the excess kW which is almost double. That means that while you may pay as little as .60 cents of a peso per kW for the first 300 kW you consume during each billing cycle, you pay almost 1 peso for the next 300 and after that, each kW you use you pay at a basically full price.
- During summer months, however, the government does allow an additional 300 kW at a reduced subsidy in areas where the temperature is high. So in Cabo, you can expect to pay upwards of 3 pesos per excess kW.
Most residents will notice their electric bills will go from maybe $1500 pesos for a 60-day cycle in winter months (around$100 US) up to $5000 pesos for the same 60 day period during the summer period, as the daily average may jump from say 5kWh to an average of 33.5 kWh. Something to be conscious of is the DAC rate. This increased rate is for businesses and residents alike. If your power consumption is extremely high for more than a 12-month period, the bill will then include a higher rate per KW consumed. Being that this is an average of KW used over 12 months, it is rare that residents hit this rate. The CFE has published many articles and tips on how to avoid this, as this was implemented as an incentive to conserve power through many simple energy saving methods such as:
- Replacing light bulbs from the standard 60-watt bulbs to the new generation LED bulbs is a quick and easy fix and can drastically reduce energy output.
- Timers – Adding outside or perimeter lights on a timer is also a great way to make sure you can control the times lights are on or off to avoid forgetting and leaving lights on during daylight. Timers are also included in most swimming pool for automated cleaning systems and even on air conditioning units. Pool maintenance can be accomplished with a simple 2 hour run time during the early morning hours, for example, watching your timer is not set for an 8-hour maintenance cycle which is way too long, can help save on power. Air conditioning units can also be programmed to only cool periodically and in particular rooms or areas of the home that are being used to avoid running full-time.
- A watchful eye is also the best tip. Turn off ceiling fans in guest rooms, and lights that do not need to be no, it sounds simple, but especially families with children know the struggle of constantly telling kids to turn off fans, lights, and television sets when they leave the room.
There are dozens of other ways to “Go Green” or save power. If you have the luxury of designing your home or villa in Los Cabos, there are many customizations owners can make to set themselves up for future savings. There are various ways to help you save your money for all the golf, fishing shopping and dining Cabo has to offer. Stay tuned for more installments on Cabo Living and Insider Tips.