I often come up with topic ideas for articles based on my own experiences here in Mexico. This is one of those times.
Over the past six nights, a large portion of the condos in our complex have experienced power outages at night lasting as long as 10 hours. Even the condos that didn’t lose power in the past have been affected because the water goes out to the entire community until power is restored to the pumping station. This usually happens between 8 and 9 o’clock the following day.
I’ve started calling these long periods of no water or electricity impromptu camping trips.
We had a similar problem about three years ago and went for almost two months before the electric company, known as CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad), figured out that the outages were being caused by a defective part at an electric substation south of here.
After the power came back on this morning, the first thing I did was to turn on the coffee maker and the second was to file a detailed complaint with CFE via their website. I made sure to include the details of the previous problem and how they had fixed it.
I have been encouraging everyone in my community to file complaints with CFE in the hopes that more squeaky wheels will get more grease. That’s why I’m doing this post explaining how to do it.
Step-by Step Instructions to Report a Problem
On the CFE site, it says that you can dial 071 from any phone to be connected to a CFE representative 24 hours a day.
It did not work from my Mexican cellphone, but it did from my home phone — which unfortunately goes out when the power does.
To be honest, the phone option is not a good one for most of my neighbors because very few of them speak and understand Spanish well enough to get through the automated answering service with menu options.
But hope is not lost. There is still a way to file a complaint online via the CFE site. This might not be very helpful at the time the power is out; however, it’s a great way to make a complaint about a reoccurring problem like this one.
Here’s are step-by-step instructions:
Click this link: https://www.cfe.mx/atencionclientes/Pages/default.aspx
Scroll down and click on Servicios en Línea to open the drop down menu. Click on Avisar Fallas de la Luz
You should be taken to a screen that looks like the one below. You’ll need your CFE service number (número de servicio) which can be found on your last CFE bill.
After entering your CFE service number and your contact email address, you have four options to choose from: 1) There is no electricity on the block, 2) The electricity is out in your home, 3) the electricity comes and goes, 4) low intensity or low voltage.
In the box under observaciones, include all the details. It’s okay if you can only do this in English. CFE can use an online translator if needed. Then just hit continuar and you’re done.
There is also an app that you can download for your phone. It is useful to report outages but a bit lacking if you’re trying to explain an ongoing problem like this one.
Let’s Wrap This Up
One of the things you have to accept when you move to Mexico, is that the infrastructure may not be on par with what you are used to. That applies to electrical grids, road maintenance, emergency services and even animal control.
Still, in spite of occasional inconveniences like the one we’re experiencing now, the pros of living in Mexico far outweigh the cons. We really love it here.