Our house’s electricity meter died back in August. It took a few phone calls over a couple of weeks to actually get the electric company, CFE (a government agency), to finally give us an order number back on September 4, 2011. Since then, we’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. Patience is a virtue you know. When it comes to the CFE, I think we’ve just about perfected patience. (ha-ha)
Yesterday, we finally decided to go in and pay our third bill since the meter’s demise, and also to see if we could talk to someone about this tardy repair order. Fortunately, there were no other customers in the waiting area (I’ve seen it filled with people in the past). So, a man looked up our order number on the computer there and he grumbled a bit at the screen. Apparently, the order was put in as “meter needing inspected for replacement.” That was correct. Unfortunately, what that also meant was the inspector never came. This man was not happy with the inspector.
So, he edited a change to the order calling it, “BROKEN, NEEDS REPLACED ASAP.” He told us a repairman would come first thing in the morning to replace it. At 11:30 a.m. sharp, the repairman came, and in fewer than 10 minutes, he had the new meter installed and he was gone.
The official at the office also said yesterday that they would have to go back and give us an updated billing on a pro rata basis. That will be the thing we now hold our breath over. Not that they’ll take a long time to send it, but that we have no idea what amount they will assign to our unknown quantity of electricity used.
Unfortunately, we were gone for over 2 months and other than the lady who came a couple times a week to dust and clean and check on the house, there was no real electricity usage. No appliances were plugged in. In fact, the only thing plugged in were the phones just to keep the batteries from failing. Other than that, only the lights used for a few hours each week represented the total electricity usage for about 11 weeks. We’ll no doubt be billed as if we used the electricity under normal usage for those weeks.
Can we complain if/when they do? Oh, I suppose. However, we’ve been told by others who’ve gone through something similar with the CFE that they really aren’t flexible and when they send out a bill, they don’t entertain negotiations. Of course, you don’t have to pay it. They will simply shut off your electricity until you do. That’s basically the coming situation. We sure hope they don’t come up with a ridiculous figure. If it’s truly pro rata, I think we have set aside enough to cover it…over $1,000 USD.
We did pay 3 very small bills (bi-monthly) during this time. One of the two actually showed a teeny increase in usage over the previous one! The meter hadn’t even moved…I guess it was the angle at which the meter was read!
On the lesser bright side…our landlord also informed us yesterday that he needs to raise the rent a thousand pesos for next month. That’s about an extra $80 a month. Oh joy! We’re not complaining, legally, he can raise the rent 10% every year. Had he done that since the beginning (and he has not), we’d already be paying be paying almost 30% more each month than we will be with our newly increased rent. Like I said, we can’t complain. We probably would have moved had it gone up to the legally allowable amount.
You probably have no idea what moving would mean…we probably don’t either! The library is so large it could easily take up most of the living area of the homes in which most of our co-workers are living. It would be hard to find an affordable home that would support the library space needed. I’ve sometimes thought we’d have to move into two houses side-by-side in order to pull it off! We just might have to do that eventually. Of course, then Beth’s mom would have to find a new place to live too. It’s complicated!
Thanks to the Lord for providing for our daily bread and for the other basic needs of a roof over our heads (which He often did not have) and electricity to run our lives in this technological age (which He never had)!