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The definitive guide to living and working in the Cayman Islands
Oct 24, 2014 

Electricity, Propane Gas, Water and Petrol & Diesel

Last updated: 13th August 2013

In this section we explain how you go about connecting up your utilities (electricity and/or propane gas, and water) in Grand cayman. we discuss what you need, how much it will cost and where you can find them. We then explain how the gas stations work and what the current price is for petrol. 

Electricity
The sole provider of electricity to Grand Cayman is Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. (CUC). To obtain electricity service, property owners are required to show proof of ownership and a photo ID. Tenants are required to pay a deposit, provide a rental agreement or lease and take their passport or driver's licence along for photo ID. The standard deposit is CI$100 per bedroom for residential homes/condos under 1,100 square feet (except on Seven Mile Beach), and CI$500 for all other apartments and condos on Seven Mile Beach.

Cayman runs on a 120 volt electricity system with three-pin plugs. However, the outlets are designed to accommodate a two-pin American plug. This means appliances from the United Kingdom or Europe will not work in Cayman, but American appliances will. Monthly electric bills will vary depending on the size of your house/condo/apartment, your lifestyle, how often you run your air conditioning, the efficiency of your air conditioning unit, the age of the property and how well the property is insulated, among other factors. It is important to note that the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) and regular maintenance of your air conditioning unit can make a big difference in kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption and your monthly electric bill. The lower your SEER, the more power you will consume. A SEER of 12 for example, will consume more than a SEER of 14 or higher. Getting your air conditioning unit serviced regularly will ultimately save you money.

The base cost of electricity as of June 2013 was CI$0.1065 per kWh for residential customers with a monthly facility charge fee of CI$5.25 and a regulatory and licencing fee of CI$0.007901 per kWh which applies only to usage over 1,000 kWh per month. However, if you factor in the fuel and fuel duty surcharges (which are added as separate line items and vary from month to month), the cost per kWh is approximately CI$0.336623 (as of June 2013). The Government duty on fuel is CI$0.75 per imperial gallon. The fuel cost fluctuates with the global price of oil and the cost of fuel is passed down to the consumer after a two-month lag.

To put it all into perspective, usage of 1,000 kWh per month would cost approximately CI$236.62 and usage of 1,500 kWh would cost CI$504.93 (based on the June 2013 rate). The cost of electricity is the same island-wide and does not fluctuate depending on the time of day. You can download customer service forms from CUC's website.

Caribbean Utilities Company Ltd. (CUC)
Two locations:
> 457 North Sound Road, Industrial Park. Monday-Friday 8.30am-5pm (Cash Office closes at 4pm)
> West Shore Centre (Pink Plaza), West Bay Road . Monday-Friday 8.30am-4pm, Saturday 8.00am-12noon.
Tel: (345) 949 5200 Fax: (345) 945 1218
Email: service@cuc.ky 
Website: www.cuc-cayman.com

Gas - Household
Propane is a non-toxic gas used as a clean burning alternative energy source for a wide range of appliances, lawn equipment and more. The cost of a 100lb cylinder is CI$98 (including free delivery) and can be ordered by phone from Home Gas Ltd. or by stopping in to their offices. The 20lb cylinders used for barbecuing can be found at almost all of the gas stations in Cayman, where you can buy a new filled cylinder or swap an empty used cylinder for a full one. The cost is about CI$40 to exchange a cylinder. For bulk delivery of propane the cost is CI$4.80 per gallon. 

Many houses in Cayman have an underground refillable propane tank in their garden or one standing alongside an exterior wall, and the gas is then piped into the house. The size options for the tank vary depending on the amount and type of appliances that you will be running on propane. Home Gas' technicians can advise on which appliances you could use and what energy savings you might expect. They are also trained to install all their equipment properly. There are many gas appliances available that will help you lower your energy costs. It is commonly acknowledged that running appliances using propane is a much more energy efficient approach to powering a home. Another benefit is that many of your propane appliances can still be used even in the event of a power outage.

 


Home Gas Ltd.

Citrus Grove Bldg., 106 Goring Avenue (GT)
Tel: (345) 949 7474 Fax: (345) 949 0845
Website: www.homegas.net
Email: homegas@homegas.net
Home Gas supplies propane gas for household and business use and also offers state-of-the-art appliances, including tankless water heaters, cooking stoves, dryers, fridges, generators, air conditioning units and tiki torches that run off propane gas. They also sell the Mosquito Magnet which is a 'green' pest control system for keeping mosquito numbers down in your garden. Their services are available in Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Bills can be paid online if you bank at Butterfield, CNB or RBC.

Petrol & Diesel
In Cayman, there are numerous Esso and Texaco petrol stations, most of them with convenience shops selling toiletries, groceries, water, gas cylinders and snacks (incidentally, they are often the only places open on a Sunday where you can buy essential supplies). The average cost of full service premium petrol at the pumps is now around CI$5.84 per gallon, although prices vary from one station to another. Self-serve petrol can be between CI$.10 and CI$.15 cheaper per gallon, while diesel is around CI$5.75 per gallon (June 2013). At the time of going to press the cost of premium petrol in Florida was in the region of US$4.13 per gallon or CI$3.39 and in the UK it costs
£1.34 per litre (CI$6.47 per gallon).

Please note that the petrol pump nozzles on both diesel and petrol are the same size in Cayman, unlike in Europe and the US, where they are different sizes. Therefore, it is quite possible to mistakenly put diesel in a petrol-run car. You can view the cost of petrol at each station on www.planning.gov.ky (look under petroleum inspectorate). The (import) duty component of gasoline is 75 cents per imperial gallon and 85 cents for diesel. The quality of gasoline sold in Cayman is equivalent to a mid-grade unleaded (octane level 89) and a super premium unleaded (octane level 93) often sold in the US. Some high performance cars, particularly those with sophisticated emissions control equipment, namely a catalytic converter, will experience problems (it will clog up) if they are not run on the highest octane fuel available. Diesel is another issue; car manufacturers design their engines to run on fuels found in the country where the cars will be used. For example, Europe and Japan have low emission standards and require that all diesel sold has a sulphur content of 10ppm. The US also has Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) of about 15ppm. Cayman, on the other hand, imports its diesel primarily for electricity generation and though the sulphur content has come down significantly from 2011 figures (500ppm-5,000ppm), the level fluctuates from import to import and between Texaco and Esso, though in mid-2013 Esso advertised that they were now importing ULSD. Therefore, think twice about importing a high performance European diesel unless you are prepared to put ULSD in it every time you fill up.

The only other brand of fuel available in a boutique fuel sold at Scotts Landing at the Barcadere Marina (at the end of North Sound Road past CUC). Valvtect Marine Fuel was specifically designed for boats but is actively promoted for cars as well. They sell only the highest cetane gasoline and only ultra low sulphur diesel, both of which are then treated with ValTech (a lubricant) to improve performance.  

Water
Cayman Water (Tel: (345) 945 4277) and the Water Authority (Tel: (345) 949 2837) supply Grand Cayman with quality water. In the case of both companies, water is extracted from 250ft-deep wells located throughout the Island. The water that is extracted is essentially seawater and so has to be treated via the reverse osmosis process to produce drinking water. This process, together with the addition of three fluoride-free chemicals, makes the water safe to drink straight from the tap. However, it does sometimes taste a bit of chlorine so you may want to use a filtration system (i.e. Brita) to enhance the taste. You can get carbon refills at Priced Right.

If you are renting an apartment, the water bill must be in the landlord's name, however a duplicate bill will be sent to you directly for payment. Landlords may also ask for a water deposit. Of the two water companies, Cayman Water serves the Seven Mile Beach and West Bay areas, while the Water Authority-Cayman serves the rest of Grand Cayman. They both require you to fill out an application, present your Land Registry form (which proves you own the house) and pay a CI$80 non-refundable connection fee. Also, make sure the previous owners have paid the last water bill, as having an outstanding balance on your account will complicate things. Water is not cheap, so also make sure you don't run up a huge bill by having a leaking tap or running toilet. At Cayman Water, the first 3,000 US gallons (or 11 m3) will be charged at CI$19.26. Anything above that will cost CI$23.11.  An energy adjustment factor surcharge is applied each month that varies according to the cost of electricity.  Monthly meter charges also vary depending on the size of the meter, from CI$3.50 to CI$40 for meter sizes ranging from 5/8" to 6'". Cayman Water's website provides additional information to customers, such as current water quality data and answers to other frequently asked questions (www.caymanwater.com).  

At the Water Authority, the first 12 cubic meters (or 3,200 US gallons) will be charged at CI$4.38/m3. Anything above that will cost CI$5.57/m3. In addition, there is also an energy charge (which varies monthly and covers the fluctuations in the cost of electricity to produce the desalinated water) and a CI$5 meter rental fee per month. An average water bill for two people in a two-bedroom house using 9m3 per month, is approximately CI$90. The Water Authority's website (www.waterauthority.ky) provides information on outages, tips on saving water, water and sewage application forms, meter reading request forms, online fault reporting and an offer for free water-saving shower heads. For after hours emergencies call (345) 946 4357.

If your home is on cistern or well water, you will probably want to drink bottled water or will need to boil the water before drinking. There are water companies on the Island that can deliver bottled water right to your home.



Flowers Bottled Water
Seymour Road, Industrial Park
Tel: (345) 949 8688
Email: sales@flowerswater.com
www.flowerswater.com
Sells purified water (that contains no chlorine) in five-gallon BPA free bottles for CI$6 each, with free delivery to your home or office, or convenient pick up at petrol stations Islandwide. They also sell and rent hot/cold and cold water coolers along with other accessories.

Alternatively, many supermarkets sell spring water by the case or you can import three or four stage under-the-sink well water or city water filters. The city water filter removes all the chlorine that is put in desalinated water. See www.ionfaucet.com. They import directly to Cayman and then it is a simple job for a plumber to fit it under the sink.


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