Questions about living in Cancun

Discussion in 'Living in Cancun' started by kgunn, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Electricity

    That's good progress, so far, Kgunn.

    I'll leave all the questions about internet and phone service to those who do more than just use them, and pay the bills, like I do! But, about electrical consumption, I can tell you a lot. It is possible to run up big electric bills here, but choosing a place to live with electrical consumption in mind can solve that problem.

    Do not in any way allow yourself to be put off by other people's high electric bills, here, in Cancun: it doesn't have to be that way for you. Mexico's uses a complex electric rate system which rewards conservation, and punishes large consumption. Those who conserve actually enjoy rates that are very, very low: those who don't, or can't for any reason, pay rates that are relatively high, approximating 23 US cents/KWH.

    My electric bills average about 20 USD/month, year in and year out. I use air conditioning whenever we have hot weather (it is now running an average of 20 hours/day), and we have two laptops operating much of the time. We also watch TV, listen to music, make coffee, toast bread, use our microwave, etc., etc., just as any normal two-person family would. One of the main reasons my electric bills are so low is that they are subsidized by the government: 3,000 pesos of my last six months' electric consumption was paid for by the government as a reward for staying within the limits they set.

    Things that can cause your electrical bills to be very high here are- living in a house, rather than an apartment; living in a multistory house, or apartment; living in a large place, with high ceilings; having central air conditioning, rather than minisplits; living in a place with a large area exposed to the sun (topmost apartment, for example, or an apartment with a large southwestern exposure); living in a place with lots of glass area which the sun strikes; or, simply living in a place that is not well sealed, allowing your cool air to escape and hot air to enter.

    If a previous tenant has used excessive amounts of electricity, defined in Cancun as an annual average monthly consumption of 850 KWH/month and more, they will have been reclassified into a penalty class for electric rates, called "DAC". Always ask to see the last electric bill for any place you're considering renting: this will allow you to check to see what rate class they are in. Anything other than DAC is OK. I would personally never agree to live in a place that had been reclassified to DAC.
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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  2. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    As I mentioned before, yes it is possible. I know this because Best Day (a large Cancun travel agency) have an uber fast line at their offices. As for whether it's practicable as a personal option is another question entirely.

    Such high speeds are certainly not offered as a residencial option. 5Mb is the max for residencial use and even having access to that will depend on what part of town you live and whether the infrastructure there supports it.

    You'll really need to go and visit the Telmex office and enquire there for 'out of the ordinary' requirements.
     
  3. kgunn

    kgunn Enthusiast Registered Member

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    Thanks Steve. Will have him contact Telmex.
     
  4. Gringation

    Gringation Guru Registered Member

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    Electric bills can vary quite a lot! My roommate would leave hers on all day every day, and the bill would only get up to 100 pesos a month.

    My experience is that they're usually between 200 and 400 pesos a month with AC, but that's mostly for smaller houses.

    A friend of mine has a large 3 story house with AC in the living/dining room, and in the 2 bedrooms. They leave it on most of the time, and the bill gets up to 3000 pesos a month because it's a larger house.

    Personally I see no need to leave it on all day. Most AC units cool rooms down within 1 or 2 minutes... seems like a big waste of money and energy to leave it on to me.
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    Damn, I think I need a personal electricity consultant. Kinda perturbs me that our 2 month electricity bill is more than some peoples entire monthly budget when we dont even use it extravagantly.

    We use air con only at night (upstairs only - 3 beds central system) - and then it's usually switched off once the rooms are cool enough if someone happens to wake up. If no one wakes up then it's switched off at 6am in any case. During the day we use a couple of fans and of course have the usual TV / computers / refrigerators etc. running. I might put the air con on again upstairs for a couple of hours if I decide on an afternoon nap. Nothing more than that.

    Our electric bill at this time of year for 2 months is anywhere from 4,000 - 8,000 pesos.
     
  6. Life_N_Cancun

    Life_N_Cancun Guest

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    Seems to me the only way you could have an a/c on all the time and get super cheap bills is if you're stealing power.... (perhaps unknowingly)

    The math is pretty simple.... a tiny, one room, energy saving AC will use 500w per hour so multiplied by 24hours a day is about 12KWs multiplied by 60 days in a cycle and you're at 720 KWH just to power the A/C... multiply by the number of units you have and so forth... of' course not everyone uses their AC 24/7 but even a little use will add up quick and the bigger the unit the higher the energy usage.. never mind big central AC's that can suck 10 or more KW's per hour....

    PS: Steve, sounds like you may want to consider getting three small windows A/C for $1500 pesos each... may pay for themselves in a cycle or two if the AC is indeed your biggest energy user. (and no one is "borrowing" your power)
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    That would probably make sense if I were an owner, especially as we are cooling 3 bedrooms and only using 2.

    The problem is we'd have to knock holes in the walls, pay for the units and their installation, and only if the landlord agreed to stripping out the central system. Probably more trouble than it's worth, and something we'd pay for that we'd end up leaving behind one day.

    And yeah, we are sure no one is leeching our electricity - checked that a long time back.
     
  8. Life_N_Cancun

    Life_N_Cancun Guest

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    Steve, at the least I would suggest you block off the vent to the room you don't need cooled... Sounds like you need a simple mini split unit with a vent in each room. Don't know why you'd have to remove the central system just to install smaller units.. and a mini split requires only a few holes for the air tubes to pass thru the wall to the vent, and a place to put the air handler on the roof. It definitely sounds like you could find a more efficient alternative to what you have... central systems need to be maintained, and filters changed, to keep them running well, so that's also something that might be in order too... to cool two rooms only at night you can surely do better...

    Here is a link to the basic install guide of a mini split.. says it requires a 3 inch hole for the hoses & here is a better explanation. They really are easy to install... and remove when you leave, leaving only small holes to be patched up. Total cost installed for a 2 room unit will be around $8,000 to 12,000 pesos area new from what I've seen.... (although its higher in the summer months because of demand) just a thought if you haven't already looked into them.
     
  9. V

    V I can choose my own title Registered Member

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    Electricity

    Kgunn, to further help you understand why some people experience large electric bills, here, see also the post entitled, "Sitting in the dark", on the following thread- http://www.cancuncare.com/forum/living-cancun-riviera-maya/16621-can-i-live-my-social-security.html

    Life's comments, suggestions and calculations seem right on the money to me, except possibly for the conclusion you can't use air conditioning and still have low electric bills, here. Keeping the following points in mind, I would think almost anyone living here long-term could hold their average monthly consumption to under the 850 KWH/month allowed in our tariff class, and enjoy modest electric bills.

    Solar load
    Selecting a place with electrical consumption in mind, especially if you're renting, can make all the difference. The details are all important, but one of the biggest ones is how much solar energy your place will be exposed to, each day. I chose a north facing apartment on the second floor, so it gets no sun on its roof: it is also shielded from the afternoon sun by the apartment tower next door. There is one wall which gets direct sunlight for about five hours in the morning, and the difference this makes is very noticeable, with the rooms on that side getting extra hot (they cool rather quickly, though, from 12N on, when they are again in the shade).

    Size
    Our place is typical of the Mexican housing here, with a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms and bath- about 900 square feet, total area. How much air you are cooling will make a big difference, so high ceilings are out but, exercising care, I believe you could double this square footage, and still keep consumption low enough to avoid being reclassified, DAC.*

    Equipment
    Not only are minisplits more efficient, they allow you to cool just that area you are currently using. Electric water heating can cause you to use more electricity, on average, than the government encourages through its tariff system, and should be replaced by gas and/or solar water heating.

    Usage
    The largest continuous area in our apt is the livingroom/diningroom/kitchen area. We both work in this area during the day; prepare, and take meals there. That means we need cool only this one area, and we do: a single minisplit is sufficient to keep it comfortably cool (high 70s F.), and aside from a few hours in the early AM, the a/c is on whenever we are in the apartment. (We also run the a/c unit in the bedroom- all night every night, year round- in part to provide "white noise". This is now the third apartment we've rented in Cancun, and excessive electrical consumption has not been an issue at any of them, using electricity as we do.)

    Getting a "seal"
    Any living space will leak air: a well sealed place will, in all probability, completely exchange its air every hour. This means hot air is entering, continuously, to replacing any cool air that seeps out. Sealing every detectable opening, around doors and windows, under sinks, etc., is very important to economy of consumption. The same goes for your refrigerators/freezers: check that the seals are good, and no cool air leaking out at any point around the doors.
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    *Excess consumption is charged at a higher rate, each billing period, but exceeding 850 KWH/month for part of the year does not get you reclassified to DAC: according to the C.F.E.'s website, your consumption is averaged for the last 12 months and, if it exceeds 850 KWH/month on average, you will be reclassified.
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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  10. TraceyUk

    TraceyUk Guru Registered Member

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    Our electricity bill is similar to Steves when we use a/c at night- we never use it in the day but do have ceiling fans on. Our largest bill ever was when we had guests from the UK who had A/C on all night .It topped 9,000 pesos - we were horrified but what can one do?Hide the remote and tell guests A/C broken?
     
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