Sunday, March 29, 2015

not so shocking news

Being a homeowner in Mexico has changed my relationship with the country.

For my first six years here, I developed the transferable skills of a renter.  The only thing I needed to know was how to pay my monthly rental and how to deal with Telmex -- Mexico's land line telephone company (and my internet provider).

That telephone skill has proved helpful.  But it did not prepare me for the art of gamesmanship required in dealing with the electric company (CFE), the propane company, and the governmental agencies that tend my water, garbage, and sewer.

They were part of the rent payment I handed over to my landlady each month.  No more.

I am now the landlord.  And all of those other services are my responsibility.

Last November in luz lights up my life, I wrote about my initial contact with CFE.  When my first bill arrived, I was shocked.

My bill for two months of electricity was approximately $227 (US).  I know that does not make some of you even blink.  What was a bit worrisome was no one had been living in the house for most of that period -- and I had been there for only about three weeks.

Extrapolating is a tricky fiscal business.  But if the $227 was only for about three weeks of service, I could anticipate my two-month bill in the future to be around $605 (US).  And that is without any air conditioning.

Rather than panic, I listened to the wise voice that lives in my head (not the hysterical one that was asking if I had lost my mind by buying this house) that was telling me to wait for another billing period to see what the cost would actually be.

Unfortunately, that billing period ended while I was in southern Mexico on tour with my cousin in January.  To avoid having the electricity shut off in my absence, I paid a large advance deposit -- based on that first bill, as a worst case scenario.

Last week, my CFE bills arrived (both by email and in hard copy under the garage door) for this period.  As you can see there is no money owing.  I am still living off of the good graces of my December deposit.

Admittedly, I was gone for a good portion of the 13 January-12 March billing period.  But, as you can see by the usage graph, I could easily live with that reasonable range.

You might remember that I have two meters.  Together, the bill for the past two months was approximately $46 (US).  $23(US) a month.

Eventually, my deposit will be depleted.  Well, it may take a bit more time.  Because I will be gone during the next billing period, I added enough additional pesos on each account to cover two more billing periods.  I think.

That means I have two pieces of good news to report.

First, my electricity bill is nowhere near as expensive as I thought in November.  My fear of buying a white elephant has now been gray-washed.

Second, once I get back to a regular billing cycle for payment of my electricity, I will have some more grist for a future essay or two.  I may even talk about that 16% IVA (a value added tax) that appears on each of my bills.

For now, though, I can rest in the pleasure of being a Mexican property owner.  I suspect my schooling is far from complete.

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