Understanding the cost of Mexican power
By Mauricio Rivero
Have you ever wondered how electric power rates in Los Cabos are concluded and measured? How to make it affordable? And how can vacation rentals make money with these in place?
Some of us don’t know why a two-bedroom apartment can get a bi-monthly power bill of $150 dollars during the spring and all of a sudden get a $1,000 dollars bi-monthly bill during the summer. Are rates different during the hotter months? Do they apply to us all or just to the “tourist” areas? Could it be all those old air conditioners using up all the power?
Truth is, none of these causes are the reason for high electric bills. What it comes down to is the total usage per year, not per day, week or month. The Mexican Power Company, or Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) produces power by burning diesel, so the power itself is expensive already. Then the CFE assigns a certain limit of electricity depending on what the demand of the entire household is. You probably did not know this nor were you properly informed, as this is something that is normally done by the developer or builder.
As mentioned earlier, what makes the price of electric power increase is the total yearly usage. CFE usually charges a rate for what is considered as “normal” usage by CFE, up to 11,200 KvA per year. So if you use any less, you will be presented with a flat, regular rate whether you are in a high-end community or in a small house near the airport. The price of power is the same for everyone. However, if you use up more than the limit allotted by CFE, a change in rate occurs and all of a sudden, your bill almost doubles. Yeah, it sure is surprising – and pretty unbelievable – that no one told us sooner. But hey, we probably didn’t ask either.
So, what can you do to lower the electric power bill? First of all, use electricity wisely. Do not leave the air conditioners on all day if you are not using them. And if you already have – or are planning to buy – air conditioning units, make sure that you are buying the right size for your home’s cubit footage and if possible, get some inverters. Set the temperature at a comfortable temperature (e.g., 76 degrees F) as the lower the temperature, the more power that will be required. In addition, use LED lights for interior and exterior lamps.
Buy a smart pool pump that can be set for long periods using lower amounts of energy. The use of smart pumps for water pressure is also a key element, as you will not be using power all day but only when the water is turned on and the pressure is needed. Last but not least, try installing solar panels.
Los Cabos has great weather and a lot of sunlight. Let’s take advantage of technology and have the sun work for us instead of against us. Solar panels are an initial cost that will pay itself off in a matter of months.