Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mexican Utilities - Electricity

The electricity was off again. Like the water, the electricity being off happens regularly. But an even more regular event are drops in the electrical supply....I guess you would call them brownouts. Everyone tries to put all their appliances on surge protectors but after losing the power supply to my laptop, I've brought down a battery backup/surge protector.

Although I've read that electricity is cheap in Mexico, here in San Miguel there is a basic charge that would probably supply a few light bulbs and maybe a small refrigerator, the cost then jumps significantly. Ned figured that the cost per kilowatt hour in Houston is $.12/hour and the equivalent cost in San Miguel is $.18/hour. But the most difficult thing to deal with is the outrageous bills that come from time to time. Maybe you have been getting a bill for $100 for 2 months (the bill only comes every
other month) then the next bill is for $500. Nothing changed in your house but the electric company says the amount of electricity used was 5 times as much). They will cut off the electricity if you don't pay so you pay and then protest....sometimes they will cut the amount in half if you have an electrician check out your house and say that nothing is wrong with the wiring.

After we got a bill that was double the previous month, Ned started checking the meter two times a day and keeping records. He became the electricity police and we were turning off every light that wasn't essential. Some days the meter said we used as much at night as we did during the day. Does this make sense when the computer is off, the lights are off, and all that is running is the refrigerator and maybe the clocks on a few appliances? We don't have any idea how the meter can work in this fashion but the electric company says it is in good working order.

All I really know is that electric bills give everyone something to talk about at parties. Seems that everyone has a story.

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