ELECTRICITY
A fundamental shift has taken place in Mexico’s electricity sector in recent years. Although the
constitution guarantees a monopoly for the state in the sale of electricity to consumers, a number of
exceptions exist. Due to rulings during the 1990s, private companies and individuals can generate
power that is then sold to the CFE, the state monopoly, and then onto private customers. Also, private
companies can generate electricity for their own use without having to deal with the CFE (except in
terms of transmission and regulation). An example of this is Walmart of Mexico who announced in May
of 2010 that power for 348 of its stores and restaurants in Mexico City, State of Mexico, and Morelos,
would now be provided by a wind farm located in the state of Oaxaca.

Comisión Federal de Electricidad, CFE is the power company that supplies Mérida with electricity.  
Locals refer to the power company as
La Comisión.
CFE provides 3 types of electrical service, 1 wire [
hilo], 2 wire and 3 wire.  
Most domestic appliances and lighting are 110 volts/60 cycle using the same plugs as North American
homes.   Air conditioners, pumps, water heaters and stoves run more efficiently with 220 volts, which is
now widely available in Mérida.  If you don’t have it, call CFE by dialing 071 and request the service.  

Electric rates
To understand the electric rate [tarifa] for Merida, it would help to have an advanced degree in
mathematics.  
México takes electrical energy conservation very seriously in its rate [
tarifa] structure. According to
their cooling degree days, all Mexican cities are assigned one of seven consumption categories. If you
surpass the average Kwh per month consumption of your category, a high consumption rate known as
DAC rate applies. CFE gives great incentive to stay away from the DAC rate. Should consumption take
you into the DAC zone, you will lose the government subsidy [
aportación gubernamental].  This
subsidy typically takes care of three quarters of the bill!  You will want to conserve.

The city of Mérida is categorized as a 1C [
tarifa 1C] city. CFE determines your rate by averaging the
last 6 billing periods, or 12 months. There is not one set price per kilowatt hour. The class you are put
into depends on the amount of electricity you use. The 1C class of usage (t
arifa 1C) is charged a certain
amount, and when you use more than 850 Kwh a month with a two wire service for 12 months, you are
put into the DAC class, and have a higher rate and you lose your subsidy which has been taking care of
about three-quarters of your bill.   Your price per Kwh will go from about 62 centavos a Kwh to
approximately 2.60 pesos per Kwh.
Once you are at the DAC rate, you will stay there until your 12 month average usage goes down under
850 Kwh a month.  When this happens the CFE should automatically reduce you to the lower rate.
Most of the beach communities near Mérida are on a 1B rate which means electric users there must
keep their Kwh usage below 400 kwh a month or they will lose their subsidy and be kicked up to the
DAC rate.
Having the most efficient appliances is the biggest help in keeping your rate in the lower class, and not
running the AC when you don’t need it, is very cost efficient as well. Mini splits are more energy
efficient than wall or window units.

Your CFE bi-monthly bill is delivered by courier and may be slid under your door, left in your mailbox
or even stuffed behind the meter or through your wall.  Not receiving your statement is no excuse for
nonpayment.  In case of nonpayment, electricity is usually cut off immediately after the due date.  
You can view your electricity bill online.  Go to the CFE website:
http://www.cfe.gob.mx, and set up a
login.  After you login is set up, login and you will have an option to switch to English.
Paying the bill
The easiest way to pay your electric bill is to go into one of CFE offices with a printed bill and use one of
the machines.  There is usually an employee to assist you if you are unfamiliar with the use of the
machine.
You also can deposit money for advance payment [
pago por adelantado] with CFE by either using one
of the machines or at the windows in one of their offices.
Offices:
CFE office downtown at Calle 59, 56 x 68
Reforma office on the NW corner of Avenida Colón and Reforma
Inside Gran Plaza office

WATER
JAPAY  [Junta de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado de Yucatán] supplies Mérida’s water. Water is very
inexpensive and for household use only. Irrigation with city water isn’t allowed. Water bills are
delivered by courier every other month. Pay these bills at any one of the seven JAPAY offices listed on
the back of the bill. The Centro locations are Calle 60 # 256, 65x67 and Avenida Colón and Reforma #
503. You can also pay at a number of banks and supermarkets.  You can also make advance payments
on your water service but these payments must be made in a JAPAY office.
You can have your water bill delivered to you by email.  
Register at:
www.japay.yucatan.gob.mx

LP GAS
Virtually all hot water heaters and kitchen stoves run on LP Gas, in Mérida. Your home will have either
a stationary 300 liter roof tank or refillable/exchangeable cylinders of various sizes.  
To refill a roof tank or exchange your cylinders, you need to call one of the gas services below.  In some
neighborhoods, gas trucks that exchange the gas cylinders have regular routes and days when they
service the neighborhood.  The drivers give a “beep” “beep” on their horn to signal that they are on
your street.    A 20 kilo cylinder costs $208 pesos, 30 kilos is $311 pesos and 40 kilos is $467 pesos.  Gas
per liter to fill a stationary tank is $5.60 pesos.
Gas Suppliers
Gas de Yucatán  Tel. 999-983-4232
Gas Tomza de Yucatán  Tel. 999-946-1646
Gas Imperial  Tel. 999-982-2222
Delta Gas  Tel. 999-943-5050
Zeta Gas  Tel. 999-941-0100

GARBAGE COLLECTION
Mérida’s garbage pick-up frequency varies.  In some areas of Centro garbage collection is six days per
week while a nearby street may have service three times per week. The suburbs of Mérida all have
collection three times a week. The rates for private homes vary, depending on where you live. Garbage
collection fees are collected at your door in Centro if you are serviced by Pamplona.  If the City of
Merida is your provider you can pay by the year at Ventanilla Unica Plaza Mexico  Calle 20 por 25 Col.
Mexico.  The present rate for collection 3 times a week is $22.00 pesos a month.  When you pay by the
year, you will receive a discount.

Don’t throw batteries in your garbage.
Merida has a battery recycling program with has 33 places where you can dispose of them.  Places most
convenient to Centro are listed below:
Palacio Municipal    Calle 62 between 61 and 63 Centro
Mercado de San Benita  Calle 54 and 56 Centro
Biblioteca José Marti  Calle 20 and Av. Colón Garcia Ginerés
Café Orgánico  Calle 33D Local 1 and Av. Reform Plaza Colón
CAME ADO bus   Calle 70 between 69 and 71 Centro
Centenario Zoo    Calle 59 and Av. Itzáes
Ventanilla Unica, Plaza Mexico  Calle 20 by 25 Col. Mexico


COMMUNICATION OPTIONS

MAIL
Do you need mail? A first step would be to decide if you need to get mail at all. Most bank accounts,
credit cards, utility bills etc can now be accessed online (with paper mail turned off), and email has
replaced most personal letters. So if you're a part time resident, or frequently visit your home country,
it's quite possible to do without any form of mail delivery except perhaps for your Telmex bill (you
check your Telmex bill online) and you might be able to live without Telmex.
Mexican Mail [C
orreos de México]
www.correosdemexico.com.mx/

Main Merida post office: Calle 53 X52 y 54 No. 469, Centro

The Mexican mail service is generally considered unreliable, but mail delivery does exist.  Since there
are few mailboxes here, mail is generally left jammed in the edge of a door or under a rock, so often
blows away.   Find out who your mailman [
cartero] is and let him know who you are and you might get
better service.   And don’t forget to tip your mailman on
Dia de Cartero on November 12 and on
Christmas.  It usually helps improve the service.
Some expats opt for a post office box. It is advised that you check it frequently. Commonly, an envelope
will arrive that does not fit into your box. If you take no action after the second written notice, your mail
will be returned and it may be months before the sender receives it.

There is no “magic bullet” for mail service here in Mérida.  Some expats use Mailboxes, Etc.
Calle 60 No. 325 A locales 6 y 7 Av. Colón,  Tel. 999-920-1920.  Other use Mail Express  in Col. México,  
Tel. 999-927-0872.    Both these services give you a mailing address near the Mexican/U.S. border in
Texas.  The address is a street address and not a P.O. address.  This is important  as many companies
will not mail to P.O. addresses.

Another option used by some expats is St. Brendan’s Mail Scan Pro, a mail forwarding
service, where you can read and view your mail online.  For more information:
http://www.
sbimailservice.com/

International Express Mail Services are the fastest, reliable, and expensive.  Federal Express, DHL and
UPS all service Mérida.
Mex Post
This is the Mexican equivalent of US Express Mail. This service is at a much lower cost than the
services above. . From any official post office, you can mail a simple letter with a guaranteed delivery.
This is many expats’ favorite mode of posting for the most important mail.
Buzones Expresos
These big red mailboxes sprinkled around the city do have regular pick-up and your mail delivery is
expedited because of the separate slots for local and foráneo [outside of the city] mail.These mailboxes
[
buzones] are located throughout the center of Mérida.  There is one in Santiago Park, one in front of
Hotel Castellano on Calle 57, and at a minimum of 3 locations along Paseo de Montejo.   However the
most secure way to deposit your mail is to take it to a nearby post office.
Friends and Family  
Many expats ask visiting friends and family to hand carry letters and packages for mailing in the US
with US postage. These stamps can be purchased at the MELL, Mérida English Language Library.   

LOCAL TELEPHONES   (To make calls, see the Appendix, How to Dial Phone Numbers from
Mérida)

Until recently Telmex was the only option for a telephone in Mérida.  Now there are several operators
to choose from at competitive prices.   

TELMEX
Telmex is the former state monopoly and by far the largest phone company in Mexico.  It offers a wide
range of services bundled into packages that includes Internet, telephone and numerous calling plans
starting at $389 pesos.
www.telmex.com.
Tel. 800-123-0000
To report a problem, dial 050.
Telmex makes it easy to pay your telephone bill. You can pay your telephone bill at any of the
numerous locations listed at the bottom of page 2 of your bill.  You can also prepay your bill at any of the
Telmex offices. If you have a Mexican bank account, they offer a service to automatically pay your
telephone bill each month. Telephone bills can also be paid online with a Mexican credit card. In order to
pay with US or Canadian credit cards you must register on www.telmexusa.com. When you register be
sure to have your Telmex bill handy.
The following companies also offer telephone and Internet service in packages that can also include
cable TV.

CABLEMÁS
Tel. 999-942-7900   
www.cablemas.com
Their bundled plan of telephone, Internet and cable TV is about $664 pesos a month with unlimited
local calls.  You can make your payments online.

AXTEL
Paseo de Montejo No. 473 Centro
www.axtel.com.mx
Axtel offers telephone and bundling. Their basic plan of telephone and Internet is $299 pesos a month.

CELLULAR  PHONES
Most expats start off with the prepaid cell phones that use the Telcel Amigo plan. These are available at
any Telcel office or store that sells cellular phones. The basic phone costs around 350 pesos  and come
preloaded with calling time and an expiration date for using those pesos.  When you purchase a phone,
the clerk will activate your phone, at no charge, in a matter of minutes. The phones are reloaded with
scratch off cards valued at 100 or 200 pesos purchased Telmex stores, Oxxo stores and most
pharmacies and supermarkets, and from vendors working major intersections. The purchased pesos are
uploaded into your phone by scratching off the secret code, dialing *333 on your cell and entering in the
code. As an alternative to buying a card, you can now add minutes to your phone for amounts as low as
$20 pesos at most pharmacies and supermarkets.  They enter your cell number on their electronic cash
register, enter their purchase code and the minutes are loaded instantly. If you run out of pesos, you
can still receive calls.
You can check the balance by marking
*333, which costs 1.14 pesos a minute. You can also get a
balance, and expiration date, by dialing
*133#, the reply will come back as an information message on
the phone's screen. This costs the same as sending a text message, 0.85 pesos. To access your voice
mails, dial *86.
Telcel has recently doubled the download data allowances on the Amigo (prepaid) 3G tariff, and
introduced the "microchip" smaller SIM card needed by the iPad. More information on iPad:
www.telcel.
com/ipad/

Other cellular phone providers:
IUSACELL
www.iusacell.com.mx/
Nextel  www.nextel.com.mx/

Cellular phone repairs
Behind the Pemex Station off of Calle Itzáes on the opposite side of Dondé Factory, in the Hidalgo
Rotary.  Tel.999-925-3046
They repair all cell phones including Blackberries and iPad.  Service and parts for all kinds of cell phones

INTERNET VOICE COMMUNICATION

SKYPE
For expats who are happy to talk over their computer this is an excellent way to go. The only hardware
you need you probably already have, if your laptop has a built-in microphone. The Skype program is
free and downloads very quickly. Skype  is easy to use. Talking computer to computer is free anywhere
in the world. Both computers must have the Skype program Skype also has a plan where you can call to
a landline or cell.  
 www.skype.com

VONAGE
Vonage is the premier provider of VOIP (voice over internet protocol) service if you want to use a
telephone for international voice communications. The set-up charge is is often waived during
promotions and the monthly charge is $30US for unlimited calls. You will need a Vonage phone
adapter.  
www.vonage.com

TELEVISION OPTIONS

Cablemás, referenced above, is a popular cable TV provider. Their basic cable is $99 pesos a month.   
Tel. 999-942-7900    
www.cablemas.com
Satellite TV
Sky TV is the only satellite TV in Mérida at this time.  
www.sky.com.mx

INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS
Telmex provides broadband internet service over their telephone lines. You must have telephone
service before you can get their residential internet service, called Infinitum. They have many bundled
packages.   Tel. 800-123-0000   
www.telmex.com
Axtel, referenced above under telephones, is a new player in town and they’re giving Telmex a run for
their money with their cable broadband offerings.  
www.axtel.com.mx
Cablemás, referenced above under telephone and TV options, is a popular ISP among expats.  They
offer many packages.   Tel. 999-942-7900   
www.cablemas.com

FREE WIRELESS INTERNET
Mérida is fortunate to have, at this time, 51 Wi-fi parks with very strong routers and an area where you
can recharge your netbook or laptop.  
For a list of the parks where open wireless is available, click
here.

©2010 Jane A. Grimsrud
Mérida, Yucatán
Utilities and Communications