I’m Brazilian and have been living in the US for the last 6 years. Once you remove yourself from a certain environment and experience new things, you start to realize how screwed up some things are where you came from. We all know and are frustrated everyday with the “jeitinhu brasileiro” (“brazilian way”) to do things and 9 out of 10 times it is NOT the easier way.

I’ve been working for a company in the U.S that specializes in 220 volts (2 phase) overseas appliances. Being in this field got me interested in researching why Brazil has 110V in some places and 220V in others, and I realized that the reason makes no sense whatsoever.

According to my research, in the 1920’s when the first electricity provider companies were starting to establish themselves in Brazil, there were no guidelines in what type of electricity the country should use, so each company did whatever they wanted. That is why if you go to some of the states in the north east or to the country side you might find the power outlets to be 220 volts. But if you go to a major city they will probably be 110 volts, but this is definitely not a rule. The rule is that there is no rule when talking about Brazilian electricity.

Something else I thought it was interesting, is that Brazil is one of the very few countries that uses 220 volts 60 hz when the majority of the countries that operate in 220 volts use 50 hz, the latter is a much more efficient way of using electricity. But of course Brazil has to be different. So a good advice for my fellow Brazilian friends is that, if you live in America and you are trying to take any motorized equipment overseas, make sure to check the hertz on your equipment. American 220 volts appliances are 3 phase 220 volts 60 hz. Models made to operate overseas are 2 phase 220 volts 50hz . Be aware because these 2 types of electricity are completely different from each other, and in this case there is no voltage converter that will do the job.

To make things even better, I found out that in 2010 Inmetro, the company that regulates electricity in Brazil, required the “Standardizing” of all power plugs and outlets in the country, but not to one of the ones that we already had which was the type C (European 2 round pin plug) or B American style plug. They decided to go “wild” and change to a Switzerland style plug type J.

Globalization? No! let’s be unique!