Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why Is Mexico Always The Whipping Post?
Just in the last two days I have read so much b.s. about Mexico by people who rv, live or travel in Mexico.  Unfortunately, a lot of people base their comments on their personal experience.  If it isn't bad wifi, it is the bad electricity, if it isn't the bad electricity it is a Pemex ripping someone off.  The problem here is that bad information is more readily believed than good information or positive comments.   Test it sometime.  Post something on a forum like, "Rv Stolen" and it could be in Michigan or Timbuktu it doesn't matter.  Read further and find out it was then recovered in good condition and it turns out it was a misunderstanding between relatives over loaning it out for the weekend.  You will rack up hundreds of comments and views.

So why the beef this time you may ask.  Mexico has one of the most modern and sofisticated electric grids in the world, and one that outbeats that of the antiquated U.S. anytime.  Mexico also produces energy with hydroplants, solar, wind and one nuclear power plant that has never had an accident.   Yet in the U.S. they are still building new coal-fired plants.   Lets get down to the real issue with power in Mexico.  One is cable size like at rv parks and the other is the fact that many people, to the tune of 50% steal electricity.   It is either by throwing a cable over a power line or fiddling with the meter to slow it down.  Yes, we do have a strange way of billing people for their electricity.  

1 250 kWh/mes
1A 300 kWh/mes
1B 400 kWh/mes
1C 850 kWh/mes
1D 1,000 kWh/mes
1E 2,000 kWh/mes
1F 2,500 kWh/mes  

These are the maximum kwhs per month before a user goes into the DAC rate (I call it overload).  Here at home we are in the 1B rate.  If we exceed that amount X2 in any two month billing period we are forced into a "commercial" rate which is the equivelant of .30 US.   The rate at the bottom, 1F, is for the state of Sinaloa and this rate is for summer only because of the extreme heat and the use of air conditioning (air conditioning in Mexican homes is more common than thought).  During winter months they return to the "1" rate.   It isn't much different than billing in the U.S. as some areas have higher rates and others lower rates and they can vary in the U.S. depending on the time of day as well as having a utility company install a thermostat in your home that will cut off your a/c depending on the time of day and the thermostat temperature, as is the case of San Antonio, Tx.

Another misnomer is the nutrition issue in Mexico.   As stated on the the other day, "milk in Mexico costs 14 pesos per liter" and there are kids starving.   It is a fact that you can buy milk at 14 pesos per liter or at 9.90 pesos per liter.   Even better is that every child until the age of 14, single mothers to 16, and elderly over age 60 can receive a subsidy for milk.  Cost, "free".   The organization has been around since the 40s and is a government program called Liconsa.   Maybe you have seen women in a small town early in the morning carrying a bucket, pail, or container sometimes with a cloth to cover the top.  They are going for their free milk.   

In some states such as our great state of Nuevo Leon, we also pay out to everyone over the age of 65, a monetary food subsidy card of 100 dollars per month.   Apart from their pension, if they worked and paid taxes, they also receive this money.  But remember, you have to be a registered tax payer to receive a pension.  Many Mexicans in the beginning of social security (1940) were leary of the government and chose to work on their own and not pay taxes.   Many still do today.   A real shame as Mexico has Afores which is similar to 401K and has had them since the 90s.   If you were registered in the system before 1997 like myself you can choose a pension check or to make withdrawals from your 401K.  Companies continue to contribute to employee accounts and employees are encouraged to make additional contributions.  The Afores pays 6% a year, I bet you didn't know that as well as banks that pay 6% to 11% on savings and CD accounts.  Beat that Bank of America!

I could go on and I am sure that you are tired of reading this, but Mexico is truly a great place and just like everywhere else it has its problems too.  I truly believe that most of Mexico's problems are self-inflicted.  As I have said many times, many people want Mexico to remain "old and colonial", wanting to see someone sitting under a cactus with a serape and a straw hat taking a snooze or a woman carrying her child on her back or a canasta on her head.   Sure, it still exists, but Mexico's youth want what everyone else wants in the world and they are more than ever determined to get it.   Change is in the air.


  1. We've only been coming to Mexico since 2007 and we think we've seen a lot of changes even in that short period of time. There's a large and growing middle class in Mexico. We're in the city of Chihuahua tonight and are amazed at what a modern city it is. Did you know that the largest Burger King in the world is in Chihuahua? I know, a useless tidbit of info, but I thought it was interesting! :-)

  2. In the next decade, Mexico will go beyond your imagination. Itnisnthe new North American land of plenty.

  3. Good post. Will add that one reason coal plants are in USA and not in Mexico is because Mexico does not have a coal reserve like the USA (one of the largest in the world). There is a small coal area near you that was used when the steel mills were active in Monterrey. In fact the steel used to build the Golden Gate bridge came from these mills. To transport the Coal South has never been an attractive option, maybe now with the low coal prices, so Mexico's power plants developed differently than USA.

    rocmoc n AZ/Mexico

  4. Just read a book - Manana Forever by Jorge Castaneda - which may explain some of what is going on in Mexico - not a story book - more a scholarly work.

    More and more power plants in the US are converting to natural gas and coal mines are laying off workers. Gas is cheaper and cleaner. But then we get into the fracking problem so who knows where we will end up.

    The vast majority of people in the US are almost totally ignorant about Mexico. We get the RV Travel Newsletter each Saturday and they just did a survey (3/21 where 72% (1376) voters think Mexico is too dangerous - more dangerous than the US.