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Electricity in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Puerto Vallarta Electricity Service

 

Visitors to Puerto Vallarta 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 Puerto Vallarta 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” during the rainy season, and these areas are likely to experience a full outage once or twice a year during the rains as well, but CFE (the federal electricity company) is very good about getting power restored within an hour or so. 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. CFE's publicized goal is for no power outage to last more than 4 hours, and except for severe-storm outages over a wide area, they are proud to normally meet this goal.

 

If you decide to live in Puerto Vallarta long term, you’ll need to get a contract for your electricity. Go to the CFE office on Columbia Street between Uraguay and Panama Streets, 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 same office, or use the auto-tellers there or on Madero Street just east of Jacarandas Street in Viejo Vallarta…they take cash. Easiest is to pay at the checkout of most supermarkets or at any SIX or OXXO store (there are dozens of them all over PuertoVallarta, 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 or OXXO stores) through the next-to-last-day before the actual due date, so again, don’t wait.

 

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.

Note that electricity is sold in three different increments, in order to make electricity affordable for even the lowest on the economic scale. The first 250 kwh (killowatt-hours) in your two-month billing period is called the 'basic" rate will cost you around 50 or 60 centavos each...a bargain by U.S. or Canadian standards. The next 150 kwh is termed "intermediate", and will range between 80 and 90 centavos per kwh...perhaps just a bit cheaper than up north. But everything over that first 400 kwh is considered "excessive" and will be charged at a rate of around 2-1/2 pesos per kwh....even at current exchange rates, that's probably about DOUBLE what you expect to pay in the U.S. or Canada.

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.

 

 

Puerto Vallarta Mexico is  home to some of the finest dining in the WORLD. No kidding, Puerto Vallarta's restaurants have been featured repeatedly in the most prestigeous culinary publications, and for good reason...the fine dining in Puerto Vallarta is WORLD CLASS!

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