Ruth, with our friend Andrei at the Orheiul Vechi Historical Complex at Trebujeni, Moldova. Photo taken December 2, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Campground electricity useage

Okay, not an exciting subject for some of you.

But many of our readers are also RV'ers, so it will be of interest to them. Or at least I hope it will be!

Most campgrounds in North America supply electrical hookups to each campsite. The majority of them supply this electricity as part of the price that you pay for your daily or weekly stay. If you are staying in your site for a month or perhaps as a seasonal site, some campgrounds have metered sites where you pay for your own electricity.

We've had several discussions over the past few weeks because here at Hacienda Contreras every site has a meter, and you pay for what you use. Here in Mexico, electricity is more expensive than in Canada or the U.S., and in this area we pay 3 pesos (24 cents) per kilowatt hour. In our case, we use very little because we make use of our solar panels and batteries, and also we are very prudent with our useage.

For example, we have been here for over five weeks now, and we have used 34 kw hours. Total cost of about $8.00. In comparison, Barb says that most big rigs that pull in here use between 10 and 30 kw hours per day! 

If we stay in campgrounds that supply electricity as an included item, we are actually subsidizing the people who use it without regard. You know, the ones who put their air conditioners on when the temperature is 25C (77F) instead of opening their windows. Or plug in a couple of electric heaters instead of putting a sweater on. In fact, having electricity as an included item actually encourages you to waste it. It's that whole "well, I'm paying for it anyways..." attitude.

So when we pull into a campground, we always ask for a discount because we don't need to use electric, and we don't want to pay for someone else's usage. If the campground won't give us a price based on "non electric", odds are good that we won't stay there. Simple as that.

One discussion came up a couple of weeks ago because some of the campers questioned the accuracy of the meters here. These same people had never been plugged into a metered site with their big new motorhome and their electric appliances, so of course they had no idea how much electricity they actually were consuming. I suggested that it would cost them about 75 cents to test the meter by plugging in a 1500 watt heater directly to the outlet and then seeing if it used 3 kw hours in a two hour period. And if the test was accurate, they could then test each 120 volt ac circuit in their motorhome and see where the power was going in order to see if there was anywhere they could cut back. Then it turned out they also had a small electric fridge plugged in that was rated at 130 watts. Well that means they are using 1 kw hour every 7.5 hours, or just over 3 kw hours per day for that little fridge alone. Then add in your microwave/convection oven, your coffee maker, your electric blanket, etc, etc, and it all adds up. This is all fine if you want to pay for it, but just don't ask me to help you pay for it!

So my question is...do you realize how much electricity you use? Do you care?

18 comments:

  1. Electricity cost in Mexico is a unique subject. The campground rate is a "commercial" rate as I recall. As I understand the residential rate, it is very much "tiered" so that small uses are very cheap, but large uses cost more. So that it doesn't cost very much to have a light bulb burning or to charge a laptop or run a radio/mp3 player, but to run electric heat or A/C can be costly, hence the use of propane for heat.

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  2. yup ..we are cautious with it ..firstly we take a picture of the meter upon arrival and then the first day of each month...to ensure we are read accurately...we are priced at the rate of 14 cents rate per kw..after morning showers I tend to shut off the water heater..and don't turn it back on till the next morning..i find there is usually plenty of hot/warm water in the tank for dishes through out the day...even when not using appliances they are unplugged because power is still flowing ..I prefer the open windows to the a/c...and use the window awnings to have shade...lights are never on..only when necessary..if baking like I will be today I try to utilize the oven for multiple things..at the same time..the only time we use the a/c is when its wicked hot..and we have to go out and leave the puppers here at home...

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    Replies
    1. And how many kw hours do you use every month?

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    2. not sure yet we haven't had a full month of readings yet :)

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  3. Where I'm at in Melaque, electric is a flat 15 pesos per day (if you want it). But I don't use much and have no idea how badly they are robbing me (joke). So I pay 50 pesos to camp, 15 for luz, and 10 pesos (plus a beer now and then)to the night watchman. I have a question you might know, Kevin. I've got a couple of posts all lined up for my blog, but every time I try to "publish" I get a message that something is wrong! It is getting frustrating. Have you anything that might be helpful?

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    Replies
    1. What are you using to write the blog? Live Writer?
      If so I find it does that once in a while. I just got to top menu and say update settings and if it does that OK with the saved passwords, everything publishes OK.

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  4. I just noticed today's picture! Did they show you the cactus that is nicknamed "asiento de suegra" (or "mother-in-law's chair")?

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  5. I guess I can just temporarily post my little stories over at the "Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Mexico Forum" and see if I can get a rise out of any of the politically correct hippies over there. My camera is still in the shop anyway, so I have no pictures to share.

    Nuggets of touristic information are sometimes buried in my rants, so I think I will not be "banned" from the board or anything for being "off topic."

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  6. Yes we do; and yes we care. Just because some big rig owners are careless about such things, it doesn't mean that we all are.

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  7. The only time I have ever used my A/C is when we came up from Texas and it was 104 outside and we could not find a tree in the campground to park beside. It was 104 outside and 150 inside! yikes.
    Having said that, if there was a breeze we would have opened windows. I like fresh air instead.

    Good post to make people think about their electricity usage.

    Eventually I want a good Solar set up where I don't need to use conventional electricity.

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  8. Most people care whether they have a big rig or a little rig like we do.

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    Replies
    1. I disagree. Our experience has been that most people don't care.

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  9. When we have to pay for electricity, we never have our hot water heater on...only one need. We have found that saves us a ton of money.

    We only run our air conditioner when it is absolutely necessary. We never run it at night when were sleeping. We love to open our windows.

    Sent from my iPhone

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    Replies
    1. When we have to pay for electricity, we never have our hot water heater on...

      Yes, but what do you do when it's it's included in your campground fee? That was the point of my post...

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    2. Actually, I should clarify that. The point of my post was that ALL campgrounds should have metered electricity at the sites, even the transient sites.

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  10. Agreed. All campgrounds should have metered sites, even for an overnight stay. It is not a complicated thing to manage. We live full time in Mexico and live out in the boonies where we don't have natural gas, and we don't have water and sewege and have a pool with filter to maintain (check your home bill sometime and see how it compares). We never use more than 400kwhs per month.

    Wandering Mike is correct about the tiered system and it is based on usage. Any amount over 800kwhs in any bimestre (two month period) puts even residential users into a commercial rate. Good or bad, Mexico is a much smaller consumer of electricity and it is a good thing. We think before we turn something on.

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  11. I think all campgrounds should offer electricity only if you need it and give you a discount if you just want to park. We're with you and Ruth on this one! We've learned from the best!

    Grace & Steve (in Tucson)

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  12. We are aware of our usage whether we have metered or non metered sites. I use to get so angry in Acapulco, where the electric was included, as so many rvers would leave the A/C and their windows open. I know the owners were struggling to pay the electric bill. I often politely pointed things our to certain RVers.

    Here on Stone Island we are metered and we are careful with our personal usage but if we need power we use it. Many here have very high electric bills and others almost none. Lsst year the rate was 16 cents per KW, have not hear the rate for this year yet. We average 1.00 to 1.50 per day. Right now we have lots of Christmas lights up!

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