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Corner stores, endangered by CFE bills, to get solar panels

Small-business guild arranges a plan for Yucatan's disappearing tienditas

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Tienditas in Merida are always looking for ways to stay afloat. Photo: File

Merida, Yucatan — Dozens of little corner shops are on the verge of bankruptcy due to high electricity prices, said the local president of the National Chamber Small Business (Canacope), Landy Pech Perez.

But a program to wire these tienditas with solar panels will help alleviate the pain.

CFE’s high electricity rates, which have recently spiked again, has brought havoc to several small, family-owned neighborhood establishments. Businesses, even tiny ones, are billed at higher rates than residential customers.

Tiny corner stores, already facing competition from large chains, require electricity not only to turn on the lights, but to run coolers and sometimes freezers stocked with merchandise.

“We have shops that sometimes earn 20,000 pesos, although there are also those who sell only 2,000 to 3,000 pesos, a week,” Pech said.

Some 60 stores are in immediate peril, and are seeking support from the state to keep afloat.

In response, the Chamber is arranging to equip its members with solar panels to loosen the stores’ reliance on the federal electricity commission.

“Right now we have the solar panels project, a company is supporting us, where they are given the down payment, and we are paying them little by little for the light we consume. That company is supporting us very much,” Pech explained, without naming the company.

“We already have 10 partners who are going to start installing solar panels that would also help us reduce the cost (of electricity),” Pech said.

Canacope Yucatan has 400 members who are constantly looking for strategies to stay afloat in the face of rising energy prices and other challenges such as competition from big business.

As many as 8,000 tienditas still do business in Yucatan.

With information from El Universal

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