The electrical system in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del
Cabo 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.
you decide to live in Los Cabos 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 or OXXO store (there are dozens of them all over Los
Cabos, 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
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.