Saturday, April 28, 2012

Getting Electricity–a Continuing Tale of Woes

 

Sorry to report that the promise of getting the electrical network for our little piece of land has fizzed out. Here’s what happened…

I cannot recall exactly what date in March, somewhere around the middle of the month, we got the notice on a Friday afternoon that there would be a meeting at the Presidencia (Town Hall) on Monday at 8 a.m. to decide who would qualify for getting electricity as part of an ongoing program to provide electricity to all of Santillan. We needed to present at least 18 signatures with relevant documents by Monday morning.

Reyna, my neighbour to the north, took the initiative of finding all those who were ready to participate and collected everyone’s signature and required documentation over the weekend (an undertaking that was both demanding, time and energy consuming). The chance would pass to another group should we fail to qualify. She collected 19 names with ready documentation. We were excited and apprehensive, all at once. If our hope and prayers had been candle lights, the night should have been bright as day…

Then on April 2nd, Reyna got a visit from an electrical contractor who had come to have a look at the layout of the land; most likely mandated by the Municipality or there would have been no way that he would have known on what to base a quotation. He stated that our chances were in the order of 99.9 % that we qualified to get electricity and probably at no installation costs to us. The work would commence by the end of the following two weeks.

Three weeks later, having failed to receive any notice or to see any sign of impeding work, Reyna went to the Presidencia. She was told that the program of electrification would probably not take place before the municipal elections in July and that the costs were prohibitive for the time being. The clinching factor for holding off the works was that we were “… only 5 families” actually living in our house on the lots in our area, hardly enough to warrant the installation costs. The remaining 14 were lot owners who lived elsewhere.

So Reyna asked us to accompany her on a visit to the Presidencia to plead our case. It was to be pointed out that in our group, we were 3 senior women living alone for whom light was a matter of safety. The answer was the same. The Town engineer mentioned that a '’dressed up” cement post cost in the order of $40,000 pesos and that we needed 3 for a whopping $120,000 pesos for those alone. Based on prior quotations prepared for Yvonne’s place, a cement post costs between $3,000 and $5,000 pesos.

The whole exercise was debilitating and disheartening. We got $2,500,000 pesos worth of hot air, nothing else. Reyna was in tears and I had to restrain myself from either screaming or crying. To cut short of the repetitious exchange between our group and the representatives of the Municipality, I said that I wished to ask two questions and insisted that we deserved to get an answer to both, since the hands of the authorities were supposedly tied;

“What then do need to do to get electricity?” and

“How long would it take to get it?”

In the following 20 minutes discourse of the Delegado, we got a lot more of hot air and an annoying dismissive tone of voice claiming that we were asking too much of the Municipality since we were “only” 5 houses living in the small area. Request denied. No other answers would be forthcoming.

I suppose that the only alternative left to us, all of us quite poor I assure you, is to try to get quotations for the works and split the costs between those of us living in our house in the area. Or be ready to wait it out, regardless of when the electrification would take place.

The three of us in our senior years might be better off contemplating our demise in the dark since living with light represents such an ordeal for the Municipality. Please pardon the bitter tone of my comments…

And that’s where we stand at this point…

1 comment:

Mark Martin said...

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Anyway, I would just like to share that in the U.K., electricians are represented by several unions including Unite the Union.
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