Mark here. Denise and I have had to learn the ropes of the electrical system in Dominica, which is pretty different from what we've experienced in Vancouver. First off, electricity is super expensive (1 unit = 1 EC [East Caribbean Dollar] = 40 cents Cdn), but is really only used in huge amounts by air conditioning. When we first arrived at our apartment, we discovered that we had 50 units of electricity to play with. When we don't use air conditioning, we use maybe 3 units a day, which is not bad at all. Using AC means it's closer to 15 units a day (it's really only used at night). We've decided to splurge and use AC while we're still not used to the heat, although many people say that it's the only way to stay sane, and is a luxury that is worth it on an island that affords only sporadic niceties.
Paying for it is strange as well. It's pay-as-you-go, which in itself is pretty neat for the eco-minded, as you can track how much electricity you use every day and feel its direct repercussions. You can buy electricity at the local 7-11 (not an actual 711), which we did, but watched with anxiety as our units fell below 10 units. Would we have to forego AC tonight? Did the electricity only top up when the weekend was over? Egads!
Luckily, we had an electrician come by to fix our light bulbs, and he told us that we have to input a code that was on the receipt (thank god that Denise always keeps receipts), which he then did for us.
So no worries, the air conditioning will flow smoothly tonight, and slowly take money out of our pockets while we dream of things like Starbucks and sushi. Mmm.