Hi folks, ever wonder what energy is being used in your house and how it adds up? I have. So, I started keeping track of the energy we used in our house and where we used it. It is amazing how fast the little things can add up. Most of the electrical appliances we buy today will tell you how much energy they use per hour. This is noted in “watts” and these watts add up to “kilowatts”. Every 1,000 watts of energy is a kilowatt. The watts and kilowatts are the energy that the appliance uses in one hour.

CFE charges you for energy usage based on kilowatts. For us at the beach, CFE has 4 basic levels of service charges for supplying us with power. The first level is the base charge and it is currently about 1 peso per kilowatt (including IVA) for the first 100 kilowatts used in a 2-month period. The second level is currently about 1.25 peso per kilowatt (including IVA) for the next 250 kilowatts used in the same 2-month period. The third level is about 5.5 pesos per kilowatt (including IVA) for the next 450 kilowatts used in the same 2-month period. Finally, level 4 is where things really get expensive. Instead of charging the lower rates for the power used at the first and second levels, every kilowatt used is at the highest level. This is known as “DAC”

Now that there is a basic understanding of how CFE charges you for power, let’s look at how you consume power. The goal is to not just understand how you use power but to identify ways that you can reduce power consumption without giving up comfort.

Light bulbs, for example, are rated by watts. If you use the old style, regular type of light bulb, say a 60-watt bulb, every hour you have that bulb turned on you will use 60 watts of power. Not much right? If you have that bulb on all the time 24 hours per day you are using 1.44 kilowatts per day for one light bulb and that adds up to 86.4 kilowatts every two months. That one light bulb is over 50% of the power allowed in the first level of rates charged by CFE.

Ceiling fans, we all have them, and all use them, a lot. We have energy-efficient models rated as low as 58 watts per hour. One fan running all the time = 1.4 kilowatts per day or almost 90 kilowatts per billing.

Portable fans, (floor fans) these little guys that you put close to you all summer to get the air moving, average around 50 watts per hour. Use 3 about 10 hours per day and you are using 1.5 kilowatts per day and 90 kilowatts per billing.

As another example, your fridge. Your fridge, came from the factory in brand new condition having been energy tested under perfect conditions and lists what the annual power consumption is. A fridge is generally pretty energy efficient considering it is run 24/7, 365 and what we expect it to do. A basic two door fridge with a top freezer will generally be rated around 2 kilowatts per day. You need to remember however, that this is under perfect conditions and brand new. There are many factors that can reduce this efficiency and increase the number of kilowatts used. These include: age, room temperature, opening and closing of the doors, the amount of food in both the freezer and the fridge, even the positioning of the food in the freezer and fridge. It is not unusual for a fridge down here to be consuming double the power it is rated for and the larger the fridge, the more power it will use. Your fridge could be using as much as 4 kilowatts per day and 240 or more per billing period.

Got a pool? Do you run the pump for circulation? A ¾ horse pump will run about 1 kilowatt per hour. Circulate your pool for 1 hour each day and there is 60 kilowatts per billing.

Do you have a washing machine? Each load of laundry in a standard washing machine is about 1 kilowatt. 4 loads a week = 32 kilowatts per billing.

Television – here is one of the household energy hogs! Depending on size and type, you are using anywhere from about 150 watts to 350 watts per hour sitting in front of the tube. Take the median of 250 and three hours per day you quickly use 45 kilowatts per billing.

So, let’s add it up:

1 fridge (new, medium sized) 120 kilowatts

4 CFL light bulbs (= all the lights

you use in your house over

24 hours per day) 40 kilowatts

1 ceiling fan (= 3 fans run

8 hours each per day) 86.5 kilowatts

Portable fans (as per explanation) 90 kilowatts

Washing machine (16 loads) 32 kilowatts

Pool pump (1 hour per day) 60 kilowatts

Television 45 kilowatts

Laptop computer (4 hours per day) 12 kilowatts

Pressurised water system 60 kilowatts

Water pump (from well) 60 kilowatts

Misc. (microwave, coffee maker,

Other small electronics) 90 kilowatts

Total kilowatts as listed = 693.5 kilowatts

This is only an example, but you can see how fast your energy usage adds up with just the everyday stuff. Add air conditioning into the mix and you bill can go through the roof. Air conditioners are rated by BTUs or British Thermal Units. This rating is easy to convert to watts and is roughly 10,000 BTUs per kilowatt. If you have an 8-12 thousand BTU air conditioner you will use about 1 kilowatt of power per hour of use. 12 – 15 thousand BTU will use about 1.5 kilowatts per hour, 18 – 24 thousand about 2 kilowatts, etc. Air conditioners that are older use more energy. As your AC ages, it will consume more and more power to do the same job. A five-year-old AC may be consuming as much as double the power it was originally rated for.

So, a home with, let's say, three air conditioners running an average of 12 hours per day total (for all three) and an average size of 18,000 BTUs will use about 24 kilowatts of power per day – just for air conditioning. This will add 1,440 kilowatts to the above total usage in the home, but you will also reduce the use of floor and ceiling fans by about 150 kilowatts for a net gain of 1,290 kilowatts. In this example your total energy consumption with air conditioning would be:

Total from above: 693.5 kilowatts

Add air conditioning as listed 1,440.0 kilowatts

Minus the floor and ceiling fans (150) kilowatts

Total net consumption (2 months) 1983.5 kilowatts

Cost of power for 1983.5 kilowatts from CFE: $9,203.00 pesos per billing cycle.

The cost for the same power from CFE in august 2015 $6578.00 pesos per billing cycle.

This means the cost of power from CFE has increased by 40% since August 2015 to December 2017.