Sosua, Dominican Republic is a contender for the worst public electricity grid on the planet, yet it also has best battery and generator backup systems.

There is a double standard for the electricity provided to people living in Sosua.

The center of Sosua has reliable electricity. It only stops 1-3 times per week for 1-5 hours. It is easy to recognize this area. If you are seeing tourists everywhere, then the electricity is probably good.

If you are not surrounded by tourists, then assume your electrical problems will be numerous.

Battery Backup for house

As we move away from the center of Sosua, service degrades in less than 10 blocks to where the electricity goes off daily. The small villages around Sosua, Charamicos, Montellano and the other towns with few or no foreigners living in them can expect daily problems, as if they were in a different country.

Making Electricity Decisions in Sosua

This is the perspective you need to have when moving to Sosua for a month or two on a budget of less than 3,000 USD per month. People with budgets more than 3,000 normally have nearly the same quality of life as in their home countries, including many adaptations to their homes or apartments. Gated communities and large condominium complexes are better choices in the Dominican Republic

The minimum you will pay for a hotel room that has 24-hour air conditioning is 35 USD per night, which is difficult to find. It’s easy to find air-conditioned hotel rooms at 50-75 USD per night. The Dominican Republic is a resort tourism country; most tourists are living in a resort, and the resorts are set up with simulated first-world conditions.

What Should You Expect in 300-700 USD Per Month Apartment?

1. Do not expect to use the air conditioning in your apartment - unless you are willing to pay from 200-400 USD extra per month.

2. There will be a switch to turn on the hot water tank. You need to turn the electricity on prior to a shower, and the tanks are only 5-10 gallons. It is rare to see a 40-gallon hot water tank, so you must take a quick shower.

3. The owners of the property will not include the cost of electricity or propane in your rate. This will be an extra fee.

Very few people use air conditioning in Sosua, except for the rich. The cost of electricity is too expensive. Plus, the frequent electrical problems cause problems to air-conditioning motors. One seldom enters a restaurant or store that is air conditioned.

How Do You Learn About Electrical Problems in Your Neighborhood of Choice?

This is a tourist community, and the expats are often proud they have enough money to retire here. To casual questions, they will just nod their heads and let you believe the electricity is good. Therefore, it is better to not ask direct questions if you want to learn the exact problems of a neighborhood. The problems with electricity here change by neighborhood, so you need to learn about specific blocks in Sosua.

1. Ask the managers or residents to show you their battery backups. Really, though, you should not trust owners or managers.

2. Look at generator systems outside of hotels on the block.

3. During rain storms - when the power is almost sure to go off - listen for generators starting up.

Solutions

1. Make sure there is large resort, hotel or business on the same electrical grid as the apartment or house you wish to rent.

2. Make sure the owner shares the electrical grid with you. If the owner does not live in the same complex, then assume there will be many problems. Owners tend to take care of their own needs, but they are more than willing to allow residents to suffer.

3. Only rent apartments with propane stoves.

4. Rent apartments with a timer and switches on hot-water heaters, or better yet, rent one with a propane water heater.

220-110 Volt Questions

The electricity here is 110 volts, the same as the USA, a problem for Europeans. Take great care with electricity in Caribbean countries, though. They often adapt houses and give you a different electrical voltage than what is normal inside the rest of the country.

Questions for Expats Living in Sosua

1. How long does it take to arrange electrical service in a house or apartment you rent in Sosua, Dominican Republic? Do you need to do anything special, for example, do you need to pay a bribe?

2. What is the name of the electric company in Sosua, Dominican Republic?

3. Information needed for these electricity situations:

a. Load shedding
b. Brown outs
c. Low voltages
d. Electrical spikes
e. Electricity stealing

4. What other problems does Sosua, Dominican Republic, have with electricity?


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Thanks,
Andy Graham

* Page updated July 23, 2013

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