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Last updateFri, 19 Oct 2018 7am

Rainy season power failures: Only 87 volts? Unplug that fridge!

Three short but blustery storms, each followed by 12- to 16-hour apagones (blackouts): No need to check the calendar, without a doubt it’s summertime in rural Jalisco!

Let’s face it. Electricity just isn’t the same in Mexico. In fact, it’s not even called electricity here, but luz, light.

Officially, Mexican luz is supposed to be 127 volts, a rather odd number which a cynic might say was chosen at some point in the past to make sure all electrical appliances smuggled into Mexico from the United States (made for 110 volts) would quickly burn out.

And so they do out here in the hills west of Guadalajara. When I first arrived in Pinar de la Venta, the voltage was 135 instead of 127, so high that even a properly made Mexican light bulb would last not even a week at Rancho Pint. For readers who might be facing the same problem, the solution I found was to replace all light switches with dimmers. This protects the filaments of incandescent bulbs from that powerful initial jolt which eventually snaps them. Thanks to dimmers, I now have to change light bulbs only once every five or ten years.

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