Telmex and CFE in Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico
Things certainly have changed for the better since we arrived over 14 years ago. Do you remember when bill paying at home was a snap? The bill came to your house and you wrote a check and popped it in the mail. Mission accomplished. Now, of course it is even simpler to pay bills on line.
In those early days here in Ajijic, Lake Chapala bill paying was not such a snap. First you had to find your bill and look sharp about it as your service was cut off by a certain date if the bill in question was not paid. People would come to your house making scissor signs with their hands and you knew you were in trouble.
We were renting then had to find out the name of the person on the Telmex bill which may or may not be the person from whom you were renting. Then armed with the correct name you had to go to the post office in Chapala and, hopefully, speak enough Spanish to secure said bill. You then proceeded to the Chapala Telmex office and stand in a line that circled the block to have the opportunity to pay your bill in cash, of course.
CFE was a little easier although you still had to know the correct name on the bill. You had the option of paying your bill at the CFE office in Chapala and you had about a 2 hour window when they would kindly accept your payment. Then CFE had a wonderful notion of allowing you to pick up your bill at various outlets along the main carretara. Naturally, they did not tell you where your specific bill would be and so began the adventure of finding your bill through word of mouth, hopefully before the cutoff date.
Ah but a new day has dawned and both our Telmex and CFE bills come to our door. Well at least they are thrown over the gate or wall.
CFE is paid every two months and runs anywhere from $800.00 to $6,000.00 pesos for the average household depending on your array of electronic items. Although the electricity does go out frequently you can call 071 24/7 to make a report and service is usually restored within hours as opposed to the days it once was.
Telmex now has an office in Ajijic and the basic rate is approx. $150.00 pesos then, of course, all long distance charges and various other charges are added to that. Cell phone charges being the most expensive. We suggest either Skype or Vonage so your phone bill does not bankrupt you.
Unfortunately, neither of these companies have any competition so dealing with them can be tricky. If you do find a discrepancy on your Telmex or CFE bill (and you will) you can dispute it with a fluent Spanish speaking friend but I have yet to win any of those disputes.
These bills can also be paid on line or automatically through you Mexican bank which makes life much easier albeit less adventurous than in the past.