Cancun Mexico







Electricity Service in Cancun Mexico


Visitors to Cancun from the United States or Canada don’t need to worry about bringing special power adapters in your luggage…everything here runs on the same current as you are used to (110 volts), and the plugs are the same. NOTE HOWEVER that older buildings may not have 3-prong (grounded) outlets…if your laptop/hairdryer/whatever has a 3-prong plug, make sure to bring an adapter for this purpose.


The electrical system in Cancun is fairly reliable, especially compared with years gone by. The commercial and hotel zones have a reliability factor close to what you’d expect up north. Some of the older residential areas will get a few occasional ‘flickers’ (not surges) that will set your alarm clock back to flashing “12:00”, and these areas are likely to experience a full outage once or twice a year especially during rain or wind storms as well, but CFE (the federal electricity company) is very good about getting power restored within a few hours. Residents in these areas know to keep a few candles handy in a place they can easily find in the dark, or simply resign themselves to living ‘off the grid’ for a short time.


If you decide to live in Cancun long term, you’ll need to get a contract for your electricity. Go to the CFE office, stand in line forever (bring a book!), and bring your passport and proof of your address (this can be a letter from your landlord, deed or title papers if you own the property, or a recent PAID phone bill from the address). You’ll need to pay a contract fee (a few hundred pesos), and within a few days (if you’re lucky) you’ll get hooked up to the juice. If you already have power (on a previous resident’s contract), they’ll just come out and change the meter or read the current one to start billing on your account.


Bills are issued every TWO months, and are usually due within 15 days. If you don’t pay, they waste NO time in cutting you off, so don’t be late! You can pay in person at the CFE office, or use the auto-tellers there…they take cash. Easiest is to pay at the checkout of most supermarkets or at any SIX store (there are dozens of them all over Cancun, see “Beer” for more details)…this costs you an extra 5 pesos (roughly 50 cents), but it’s worth it to avoid lines. You can ONLY pay at non-CFE locations (like SIX stores) through the next-to-last-day before the actual due date, so again, don’t wait. You can also pay your bill at your bank, again for a small additional charge.


If you don’t get your power bill, too bad, it’s up to you to know when it’s due. If it’s getting close to the normal due-date and you haven’t received your bill, take a previous bill to one of the CFE machines (or the office), wave it in front of the little bar-code scanner, and the machine will tell you the amount due.


If your bill seems unreasonably high, turn off EVERYTHING in your house (or pull the circuit breaker or fuses), and check to see if your meter is still running. If so, somebody is stealing your power by running their wires to your lines. You might find out who it is by standing outside and watching while somebody inside pulls the circuit breaker…if the lights in somebody else’s house also go out at the same moment, there’s your culprit. CFE takes this seriously. Let them know, and they’ll drag the criminal off to a secret location near their substation and apply liberal amounts of ‘juice’ to their ears as punishment. No, just kidding, but they will straighten out the situation.



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