Friday, September 5, 2014

A Tale Of Gas Natural Mexico

Not much to report other than it is still sprinkling off and on here as the remnants of Hurricane Dolly push through.  Things are green so I won't complain about that.   I am in a bit of pain and didn't sleep well last night but I'm not being grouchy either.  I kind of fumble around but that must be the pain meds.  I look like Scrooge's partner Marley in a Christmas Carol.   I'm still not talking much so it's pretty quiet around here.  I thought I would bother all of you with a story of bureaucracy and cultural mistrust.

I've mentioned many times we share a house in Monterrey with Susanna.  She lost her partner to cervical cancer about five years ago.  They had purchased a house together but hadn't finalized the papers leaving it in the air and uncontested by Angie's family.   Squatter's rights come into play here.   If Susanna pays the utilities and can prove it for seven years she can become the owner of the house.  

We use the house for weekends and overnighters and sometimes guests so we do all the upkeep and maintenance.  It comes in handy.   Being out of the country for four months Susie let the utilities lapse.  We paid the electric and water on line so that wasn't an issue.  However, the gas line was shut off for lack of payment.  Furthermore, they changed out the meter.  Juan went to the Gas Natural office two days in a row.  They said they saw a reduced consumption for four months.  Sure, we turn off the water heater when we're not there just like at home.  Why keep a pilot running or heating the water if no one is there.  We don't use hot water in summer anyway, too hot to shower with hot water.   They believed we had fiddled with the meter, changed it out and then did an estimate of usage.  This is a common practice in Mexico because people do steal electric, water and gas by playing the meter game.

He argued the point while I put together all the electric and water bills for the last two years  that proved the house was not occupied 100% and not at all for the last four months.  Susie never uses it, I think it brings back bad memories for her.  She lives with and takes care of her elderly mother and they have a nice house not far away where we used to live up in the hills of Monterrey.  He argued that we could prove that we weren't stealing natural gas.  Long story short, we won.  They reduced the bill from 3400 pesos (1600 for a new meter and 1700 for unpaid estimated usage) to 1021 pesos.  Fair.  So we paid it and now have a new meter.

You wonder what happens to people who don't have the smarts, education, organization to defend themselves.  Anyway, that's the story of the day.


  1. Nice Chris...good to see David win and not Goliath!

  2. So would the proper procedure have been to contact them before you left and tell them you had turned off the appliances etcetera? Something like contacting your bank before you travel? I'm surprised they even noticed...

    1. Good question. I did that with the phone, internet and electric here at home. The problem is, we never know when Susie or her son is going to want to use the house. I'm going to find out though.

  3. Well, probably could have paid a little "mordita" and had the problem go away too.
    Had fun like that in Puerto Rico. Shut off our phone the day we called. Instead of waiting for the day we had requested. Sure was a pain.

  4. Hope you're feeling better.....we also had an issue with propane 'disappearing' in La Cruz from our our car import permit and it only took 1 hour instead of the 3 hours it took last year!!!!!