Tag Archives: water in Mexico

A room of her own–Paying the Bills

About half way through the month, an envelope with my name on it was slid under the door. I probably was a bit more excited than the situation warranted because it was the first Telmex bill. I hadn’t even had the service a month yet, and it was already due. The next step was trying to figure out how to pay it.

I tried paying it online, but the system didn’t like my payroll credit card. So then I thought I’d try and go to the Telmex office to pay it there. There is only one Telmex office and it is smack dab in the middle of the mercado (marketplace). I went after school and could NOT find a place to park my moto. Two for two in failed attempts. But, the third time is the charm, right? I went to Soriana with the intent to pay the bill at the register. Only, I paid for my groceries and forgot to pay for the bill, so I had to go back through the line again. There is a 5 peso fee associated with paying at the store, but it was done.

Then rent was due again. I didn’t want to make the trek to Yuriria every month, so I called and asked the owner to give me a bank account number where I could deposit the rent. She gave me an account to HSBC, so I decided to swing by after my afternoon private classes. I struck out. The bank closes at 5:00. I had to try a second time right after school the next day, but it was easy peasy. It was certainly better than a long drive.

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The water bill also came with its outstanding balance of 600 pesos. The owner said that her brother-in-law took care of that (he works at the water company) and I wouldn’t owe anything until January. I expected a pretty high bill with all the washing I’ve been doing, but I guess it just comes with the territory.  And sure enough, the first bimonthly bill was $426 pesos.  A whopper!  Of course, I did wash EVERYTHING in the house, so I’m hoping that the next bill is less. However, looking at the breakdown, there’s a charge for each of the following:  agua, alcantarillado, tratamiento de aguas residencial, rezagos agua, rezagos alcantarillado y tratamiento, recargos, credito por redondeo, cargo por redondeo, IVA alcantarillado y tratamiento (water, sewage, sewage treatment for residence, water charge, sewage charge, surcharges, rounded up credit and charge, taxes on sewage and treatment).  My actual use was lower than the August and October usage, but the charge was exactly the same for the August bill.  Hmm.  

There were fewer options to pay this bill, so off to the water office I went.  Fortunately, I knew where it was and had until the 24th of the month to pay it.  Office hours were from 8 to 2 Monday through Friday.  Not exactly convenient for a working stiff, but  hey, them’s the breaks.  The trick is to get there around 8 before most Mexicans are up and about to avoid long lines.   I could use my bank card for only a 2% commission fee added on, but I opted for cash.  

I asked the girl behind the window what those rezagos charges were.  She said two past bills hadn’t been paid.  As I did not live there during that time, I am not responsible for those costs.  Guess who will be getting $200 pesos less in next month’s rent payment?

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The electric bill was my favorite bill of all!  During the 2 months, I had rented, I had used less than 50kWh which made me eligible for an 85% government assistance credit.  The production cost of the electricity I used was $373.14.  The government support was $333.49.  That meant I needed to pay a whopping $50 pesos.  Of course, there are rumors of this subsidy being revoked in 2017, so I won’t count on all my electric bills being so low, but hey, every little bit counts.  (See Tras gasolinazo, CFE sube tarifas de luz  and Electricity costs up, will continue to rise)

By this time I was an old pro.  Off to La Bodega I went, my little green bill in hand.  When I handed the bill over, the check out man asked me twice if $50 was the total I was paying.  I assured him it was, twice.  So he processed the payment.

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By this time, the Telmex bill was due again.  This time I headed to the office to pay and found a specially designed ATM outside ready to accept my payment.  Bill paying was done in no time.  I heard a rumor that there was one of these handy dandy payment machines for the electricity bill too.  I’ll definitely check it out next month!

In the meantime, the refrenda for my moto came due.  Conveniently enough, I could pay this bill at the Isseg Farmacia instead of heading to the department of motor vehicles and taking a number.  So that’s what I did. Two minutes and 119 pesos later, I was done.

Finished.  I feel so empowered!  I can pay bills in Mexico all on my own!  Yeah me!

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Filed under Economics, Electricity issues, Water issues

A room of her own–painting, internet and water

internet-high-five

Although the electricity was on, the water had been cut due to non-payment. The owner collected my deposit and assured me that she would go on Monday and get that all straightened out. I also needed to go and find out about the internet hook-up that week.

So I headed to Telmex (the only internet company available) and climbed to the fourth floor (I wondered how disabled people would get up those stairs) to talk with someone. I didn’t want a phone line, so I applied for Infinium Puro which was just the internet package. I was a little taken back that I could only get the 8 Mbps option because of the area the house was located in. Downtown had all the fiber optic options and the like, but in Los Girasoles (Sunflowers) where I had rented, only the basic service was available.

My brother assured me it would be enough to teach my classes, so I signed up for a 6-month contract. I gave the woman my Mexican driver’s license, but she wanted my IFE (voter’s registration card) which of course I don’t have. I gave her my permanent residency card and explained what it was. It seemed to be enough ID for her to work with. I filled out some paperwork, and she said everything was good to go. I could pay the internet online or come to the office and pay, but not until the end of the month. It would be about $349 pesos monthly.

I asked about installation and told me she couldn’t be sure which day, but the installers would call me before arrival. Ok, well, I would just have to hope that it would be a time when I was available. The clerk was all in a tither about my online teaching job. She had heard about the company on the TV, but she was amazed that I lived here as everyone wants to move to the US. I’ve heard it all before, but I tried to smile and nod. I really needed that internet set up.

The next step was to start cleaning and painting the little house. There was about a half a bucket of cream paint left from some remolding projects we did in La Yacata, so I hauled that over the little house in The Sunflowers. La Yacata and Los Girasoles are about 1 mile apart, the major difference being Los Girasoles is on the other side of the highway and thus all connected up to Moroleon’s water, sewer, electric and internet services.

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Painting proved more of a challenge that I first anticipated. It seemed the walls were made with yeso (plaster), and the paint just wouldn’t stick. I ended up using the half-bucket but didn’t even get the front room done. That was disappointing.  It ended up taking a full 2 weeks to get this itty bitty house painted since the paint would just slide right off.  I spent way more than I wanted to on paint.  I ended up buying a bucket of yellow and a second bucket of cream.  Very frustrating. That promised painting help from my husband never materialized.  My son (as a teenager) moaned and complained every single second we painted.  So I ended up doing most of it myself.

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Then there still wasn’t any water. How was I supposed to clean without water? The English teacher across the street again saved the day. She brought me buckets and buckets of water from her house and even stayed to help me clean and paint. And boy did it ever need cleaning! We did what we could that day and left to teach our various afternoon classes.

Saturday morning I got a call from the Telmex installers. I told them I wasn’t at the house but could be there in 10 minutes. It actually took me 5, but who’s counting? They had the internet installed in the back room in less than 30 minutes. I hopped about and did the happy dance. Then the English teacher across the street called the owner to ask about the water. She said she’d call somebody to fix it. Apparently, her brother-in-law works for the water commission. He showed up not 15 minutes later and turned the water on, on his day off no less. I did another little happy dance.

My husband came later that afternoon and changed the front door lock for me. Another unanticipated miracle!  Since I had no idea who last rented the house and how many house keys they had made, it seemed like a sound investment.  I felt like things were progressing nicely if a bit slowly.

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Filed under Construction, Cultural Challenges, Electricity issues, Employment, Water issues