June 19, 2011

Free electricity

electric wiring in La Ceiba, HondurasWires crossed

In Sunday's La Prensa, I happened to see one of those little one paragraph sidebar news items that don't seem to be included in the on line version.
Complaints in La ENEE
This week it was known that the Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (la ENEE) has lost L. 12 million for the effect of a "borrador electrónico" (electronic erasure) or for having billed large consumers at zero in the northwest zone. To deduce responsibilities, an audit will be initiated tomorrow.

Let me look into my crystal ball and see into the future.........

Here we go: The audit will find nothing amiss. The system doesn't allow determination of who makes what entries into it. It was a mere accident, a fluke, and no one will be held responsible. Of course, it wouldn't be fair to charge these companies when they have already been billed at zero. So, in the interest of peace and reconciliation, we'll just let it go. In fact, to ensure no claims of political persecution, maybe we'll just spin those meters backward a bit. No further mention will be made in the newspapers.

They could estimate these bills by charging a 3-month average like they do for mere mortals like us. With some help, they might even calculate the average correctly, unlike they did for us.

La ENEE actually temporarily changed out our meter once during one of their inspections because they thought we weren't paying enough — even though at the time, we thought our bill was plenty high! Maybe compared to the neighbors who use a lot of A/C, it seemed low to them. Who knows why they do crazy things. I was sure that we would get screwed somehow, and we were.

After they returned to re-install our original meter — which, of course, had not been tampered with and was working correctly — they 'averaged' our last 3 months bills to arrive at the current month's bill. From a prior article, Electrocuted by La ENEE:

The only problem was that our prior three months bills were something like L.1,400, L.1,800, and L.1,500 and SEMEH calculated the 'average' as L.2,800. The clerk could not understand why El Jefe was too stupid to understand the averaging concept. Math? Who needs it? If it came from the computer, it must be right. Logic and a little math tutoring got him nowhere with the clerk and that was the end of the discussion − case closed.
When you know all the corrupt and wasteful crap that goes on with La ENEE like the article above and the stuff that came out during Operación Tijeras (and I'm sure that the public doesn't even know the half of what goes on) and when the consumer has personally been "electrocuted " as many have, it begins to be easier to understand why many folks aren't interested in doing their share to conserve energy or are even willing to cheat on their bills if they can.

I'm not saying it is right or that I approve because I don't. I'm just saying that it is understandable that people think "What's the point of being honest?" when the whole system is against the 'little guy'. But in the end, La ENEE will go on as it always has and we all pay for all the waste and corruption in the form of higher bills, bad service, and power outages.

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