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Jul 7, 2011, 9:30 AM

Post #1 of 3 (5225 views)


utility costs

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We have purchased property near Tulum in the Bahia Principe development and will hopefully be moving there in about a year from now. Since we will be on a fixed income (retiring from education), we are curious what to budget for as far as utilities go. I have been reading various posts and researching as much as possible and still really dont have a clue. About a 1700 square foot house with a swimming pool. We would probably just run air conditioning at night and lots of ceiling fans during the day. Any suggestions? We are also trying to decide if we should move our furniture (or some of it) down there or would it be more economically feasible to just sell everything and buy new when we get there. One estimate I got for shipping about 2000 pounds by cargo ship was $6,000. I would appreciate any and all input. Thanks.


Jul 7, 2011, 9:18 PM

Post #2 of 3 (5191 views)


Re: [rscastro] utility costs

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Your questions about power have been a hot topic on ex-pat Yucatecan forums the past 6 months, so, there's a wealth of data to draw on. Your power usage basically comes down to: 1. how many hours of A/C you use every day; 2. how low you set the A/C temperature (20 vs 22 vs 24 vs 26); and finally, what kind of A/C you have: whether you have high efficiency Inverter air conditioners (which use 30% - 40% less electricity for the same comfort levels than high efficiency units), or if you have old inefficient A/C's that use 2X - 3X more energy than the new Inverter DC A/C technology.

Actual Usage Conditions and the Associated Bills:
Modest power users with 2 story homes, and some non-sun exposed first floor rooms to live in, using A/C to get night-time bedroom temps to 27 C and to keep one interior first floor room at 27, and individual high efficienty floor fans to blow directly on us report $200 - $225 peso electricity costs per month year round.

Expats with single story homes (where all the ceilings get hot during the daytime and re-radiate that heat into the house all night) that modestly use A/C for short periods and higher temperatures (24), and modest electricity use from computers, TV, etc, report $300 - $400 peso per month CFE costs.

Expats with a swimming pool pump and A/C cooling to 22C in a room or two, and a small chest freezer, plus computers, routers, TV etc running 10 - 16 hrs per day, quickly jump into the > 850 kWhr per month DAC rates that are roughly 6X higher with no government subsidies, then report paying $2,000 - $3,500 pesos per month to CFE.

So, your question is an excellent one, since there really are 10X differences between ex-pat neighbors' CFE bills here in often-hot Yucatan. Gringos with pool pumps, substantial A/C use, and freezers, (trying to replicate their NOB life-styles), either pay for the privilege, or they buy wind generators (the best choice here) or PV solar, investing $5K - $9K US dollars to keep their future electricity bills low.

City mice vs. country mice: a little luxury often comes at surprisingly higher prices.

Give us a report back when you get here, settle in, and figure out what works for you.
ps The furniture is a whole other discussion, depending on if you have leather (a no no in hot humid un-airconditioned beach spaces) vs rattan, etc, or if you care whether our carpenter ants and termites feast on NOB non-tropical softwoods (pine etc). Some NOB furniture is appropriate here (cedar, spruce, cedro, mahogany, teak, etc) and others just become jungle-bug-food.

Some beach folks find they have to run a de-humidifier or A/C 24/7 to keep their NOB stuff from becoming moldy bug-infested ______ vs buying stuff designed for our unique climate.

My apologies if my descriptions seemed grim or negative, but people's experiences here vary very widely. We have many many gringos who come here with romantic dreams of exotic beach-front paradises, and then leave after 3-4 years, when they find they can't bend Mexico and our often-hot almost-jungle Yucatecan conditions, to their own expectations. If you instead choose to live a typical middle-class Yucatecan lifestyle, eating Mexican foods and using Mexican products, then this place and our gentle Yucatecans will likely grow on you. Only you can answer your questions, since we don't know you or your tastes, needs, or wants.
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(This post was edited by YucaLandia on Jul 7, 2011, 9:49 PM)


Jul 8, 2011, 8:11 AM

Post #3 of 3 (5154 views)


Re: [YucaLandia] utility costs

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I don't find your reply negative or grim at all, just very factual and informative. Thank you for taking the time to write such detailed info. I majored in journalism (former reporter-turned-public school district PR director), not any exercise involving numbers just gives me a major headache. However, your explanation was pretty detailed and easy to follow. I think I finally get it after reading all those posts for the past six months, including one about central air conditioning. And, believe me when I say I have researched and I have read previous posts. I just really didn't understand them. Also, I know the subsidy is based on zones and I haven't been able to find a map (I even looked on the CFE website) to find which zone Tulum/Akumal is in. Since it is going to be a new house, we will make sure we have the most energy-efficient facilities that we can afford. We live in Texas and I think the heat index here is probably comparable to what we will experience there. We keep it cooled to 75 degrees at night and I set the temp for 79F during the day while we are at work. No pool. My brother-in-law lived in Cancun for many years and he gave us some tips about running the pool pump that can help save a little. We will see. He has been back in the states for 20 years and I know things have changed a lot since he was there.

The info about furniture was right on the spot for what we needed to know. Thank you. I think we are being realistic about our plans. We really don't know what's going to happen. We know it will be a completely different lifestyle; we may like it, we may hate it. One thing for sure: it is going to be VERY different. I think it will be a much more peaceful lifestyle and we are looking forward to that. We've had a lot of stress in our lives the past 20 years and we are ready to enjoy life. We hope that we will be able to live more comfortably on our retirement income there than we would be able to do so here. We are not fancy people. We've travelled all over Mexico and love the people and the customs. And if you could see the two of us, you'd say we must love the food! :) Hopefully, the fact that my husband was born in Mexico (D.F.) and lived the first 30 years of his life there and in a couple of other places (small towns), will be an asset. Hey, I was born and raised in Arkansas--that's like being from a different country! :)

Thank you again. I appreciate this forum so much. I'm a rookie (in reference to a post a couple of months ago) but I don't take the information I find here for granted.

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