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CFE the Mexican electric company has been installing smart meters to new accounts. we didn't want one, but at the time that was what was available. they use all the usual arguments about better service, etc. but we found that wasn't the case. this last saturday they proved what control they can exert by cutting off the power to all smart meter users around the plaza. why? the previous week they had distributed meter reader cards. no real instructions were given, but since we had all paid our bi-monthly electric bills by june 27th, none of us were worried. we should have been. it seems that CFE now wants us to read our own meters with the card---the very same that we were warned about on this board months ago--take it to the bank and have it read and paid, go back to the meter and put the card on top again so the meter can read the payment . there is a 10 day grace period, but now they want you to do this every month on the first.....so that's why all of us paying customers were cut off at 5:30pm july 11th, a saturday. needless to say, we all lost business. we closed early because of no lights and had to make arrangements for food. we played their little game on monday,but now the bill is past due and we have to go to Chapala to pay the whopping 64p bill. we want an analog meter, but they say it will be at least 2 months. this annoyance is petty compared to the effect of EMF waves emitted by these meters that check your grid over 10,000 times a day and the privacy issues, but is the first flexing of the electric company muscles.....

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I have a smart meter and discovered that you put the card on top of the meter, let it read the meter and continue to cycle. The electric will turn off and then cycle to turning back on. It takes longer than the 15 seconds they claim.

Pay and do the same thing again, hold card on top and let it cycle twice from turning off the electric to turning it back on. The first time I forgot to hold the card on the meter so it could read the payment and the electric turned off. I went outside held the card on the meter and the lights came back on.

You should have a 10 day period to pay. Mine is from the 21st to the last day of the month.

It was complicated for me the first time because my Spanish isn't that great.

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we went over to CFE yesterday to complain about the unexpected electricity cut off that caused business loses in excess of the total of the bi-monthly bill and to request an analog meter. none of us were given any printed or oral information about the changed date of payment or grace period. after some half-hearted replies by the CFE clerks we were told that we could make a request for a new meter next august 1st after paying our bill. then submit a letter in spanish outlining why you want a new meter. would it be an analog meter? oh no, those go to the dump.....any options? we need to educate people about the insidious nature of these devices and how EMF can harm your immune system. if some people don't see the dangers, but only the convenience of eliminating the meter reader, let them have one. there should be a way to opt out....

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we went over to CFE yesterday to complain about the unexpected electricity cut off that caused business loses in excess of the total of the bi-monthly bill and to request an analog meter. none of us were given any printed or oral information about the changed date of payment or grace period. after some half-hearted replies by the CFE clerks we were told that we could make a request for a new meter next august 1st after paying our bill. then submit a letter in spanish outlining why you want a new meter. would it be an analog meter? oh no, those go to the dump.....any options? we need to educate people about the insidious nature of these devices and how EMF can harm your immune system. if some people don't see the dangers, but only the convenience of eliminating the meter reader, let them have one. there should be a way to opt out....

The current EMF hoax is very standard fare in some communitiies but never the less a hoax with 0 evidence supporting it except "puedo" science. Smart meters are 100% safe as are cell phones, blue tooth, WIFI and close proximity to high tensión power lines etc. I studied electricity and electronics my whole career and know what EMF is and does and does not.

http://www.skepdic.com/emf.html

http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/emerging/docs/ev_20140327_co01_en.pdf

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We were supposed to be given a choice of having a card and paying once a month but I found my card laying in the front yard, so that is how I got it. If the dogs had eaten it I never would have known I had a card until after my electric was cut off.

I didn't have any instructions and I barely understood the women at CFE so luckily I figured it out on my own.

Get CFE to tell you your payment dates.

Place card on top of the meter, let it cycle twice. I think the second time it reads something like "Descon" or a similar word which I thought meant disconnect but it doesn't, and after that word shows up, the electric will come back on.

Take the card, pay and repeat the first process all over by letting it cycle until the electric is back on.

It is not complicated once you know how to do it but it was easier paying every two months with a bill because you could pay at many places. They say you can pay at a bank but I haven't tried yet.

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Walkers, there was lots of info and complaints about the smart cards and associated problems months back in the Ajijic/Guadalajara section. In my case, I did FINALLY get them to take back the card and revert me back to the old system, but it took several months. I still have my digital meter, but no longer have the smart card and do get paper bills now again. It took me numerous trips to CFE, the letter you mention, and a variety of other pieces of paper. Several of the times I went I took a native Spanish speaker with me. If you want to get rid of it, you will have to be very, very persistent. Whatever day it is they have assigned you for reading your meter, you have 10 days after to pay before they shut off. They have a nasty habit of doing the shut off at 5pm on Friday evening.

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When will Banamex have a smart card reader. CFE is a 1/2 hour away

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What happens if you are out of town on the day you are supposed to use the card to read the meter and pay, especially if you are gone for more than 10 days after that date?

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CFE says you can pay more than you owe and keep a balance and it won't be cut off. The CFE employees here didn't know what I was asking when I asked them about paying more.

I think the CFE site explains it.

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We tried that once, they didn't credit the additional payment to our account, it took three trips there with a Spanish speaker to get it straightened out.

CFE is a royal pain in the butt.

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We tried that once, they didn't credit the additional payment to our account, it took three trips there with a Spanish speaker to get it straightened out.

CFE is a royal pain in the butt.

If you can pay more and keep a deposit, how will they know how much is owed anyway without a meter reader? The only way the meter can be read now is with a card so even though supposedly we can pay ahead, how will that make any difference? Reading it yourself also makes it impossible to be out of town unless you have someone to read and pay the bill.

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Guest bennie2

so now mexico restricts your travel? if you dare leave you lose electric? thats how it works?

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If you pay once a month, is your total bill less for the 2 month period, because you now do not go into the higher categories?

I can't tell. I paid yesterday and now all the card people get is the printed receipt from the CFE machine. We don't have a bill so it isn't broken down and it isn't online. I think I am paying about the same as before when I divide my old two month bill in half and it is more hassle to read the meter, take the card to CFE to pay and return and let the meter read the card again. Which reminds me I forgot to do the last step yesterday.

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so now mexico restricts your travel? if you dare leave you lose electric? thats how it works?

I'm sure no one at CFE thought about that when they got the card idea. Another example of making a decision without thinking through all the consequences.

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Guest bennie2

joco so tell me, what is the average I.Q. of the CEOs in the electric comp? are they capable of critical thinking? have they ever left town? was it a scam to charge for "re instatement"? for my phone, i paid ahead & then some. for electric you could do the same if you were there in person. (otherwize the bank would do a bi monthly debit, no worries). mexico is a country which requires people to "work" OR they figure the rest have fulltime help to pay the bills.

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If you pay once a month, is your total bill less for the 2 month period, because you now do not go into the higher categories?

we swiped our card and headed off for the CFE in Chapala to pay our bill and check up on our petition to change our meter. we thought our last months bill was a little high, but that it would even out over the 2 months--wrong. the charge was more than twice of our largest bills in the past and it was only for one month , not two. didn't pay it as we didn't consider that it might be 10 times what it should be. our mexican friend who tried to pay at the same time also had the same experience, a bill of over 8000p, as if the decimal point was in the wrong place....from reading Spensers description of how to file and amparo and the 1000p for a lawyer, what should we do?

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we swiped our card and headed off for the CFE in Chapala to pay our bill and check up on our petition to change our meter. we thought our last months bill was a little high, but that it would even out over the 2 months--wrong. the charge was more than twice of our largest bills in the past and it was only for one month , not two. didn't pay it as we didn't consider that it might be 10 times what it should be. our mexican friend who tried to pay at the same time also had the same experience, a bill of over 8000p, as if the decimal point was in the wrong place....from reading Spensers description of how to file and amparo and the 1000p for a lawyer, what should we do?

Honestly, I would go in and see spencer. I am sure many others are in the same situation.

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If you pay once a month, is your total bill less for the 2 month period, because you now do not go into the higher categories?

The billing rates are the same, whether you pre-pay 1 month, pre-pay them the equivalent of several months bills, or wait and pay the billed amount on the due date.

How the "higher categories" work: The CFE computer tracks your power usage as 12 month (6-billing cycles) running averages, and updates that 12-month running average each billing cycle. For each bill, CFE's computer re-calculates if your latest 2 month billing cycle usage puts you over the (published monthly DAC limit x 12). If your prior bill's running average comes close to exceeding that (12 x the monthly DAC limit) value, then one heavy billing cycle can put that entire 2 month's bill into the DAC rates - and you stay at those roughly 3X higher $$ rates + surcharges, until your future CFE power usage has a 12 month average usage that drops below your Tarifa Zone's cumulative DAC threshold, regardless of whether you prepay or not.

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we've been steadily decreasing our bill by shutting off high usage items when not in use. we finally got it below 1000p/ 2 month billing. so how does it suddenly become 3300p for a one month bill? it should have been 330p if it was consistent with the previous 2 months totals.with these cards you can't find out the amount due until it's in the card reader at CFE and there is no info on your receipt like on the printed bills about what rate tiers were used the past month, previous months´ and last years usage so that they may be compared. guess we'll try a follow up letter to protest this not-so-smart meter again....

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we've been steadily decreasing our bill by shutting off high usage items when not in use. we finally got it below 1000p/ 2 month billing. so how does it suddenly become 3300p for a one month bill? it should have been 330p if it was consistent with the previous 2 months totals.with these cards you can't find out the amount due until it's in the card reader at CFE and there is no info on your receipt like on the printed bills about what rate tiers were used the past month, previous months´ and last years usage so that they may be compared. guess we'll try a follow up letter to protest this not-so-smart meter again....

There is a logical explanation for your bill increase if you were using 1000 pesos of KWHs per 2 months since April or June instead of 500 KWHs per 2 months [at the heavily subsidized rate that would be about 470 pesos per 2 months]. You have now used up your yearly alloted, in April, 3000 KWHs per year of the highly subsidized allotment and will be in the DAC rate until next March no matter how much you consume or cut comsumption.

You are in the 3000 KWH yearly alloted subsidized climatic zone and should not consume more than 250 KWHs per month to stay in the heavily subsidized rate. If you used your AC and didn´t realize you only can only use 250 KWHs per month on average to stay out of the DAC, too late now to get cheap electricity until April 2015.

The 330 peso bills were the last of your allotment even when the rainy season came to cool down the heat outside you still needed to average 250 KWHs per month on average from April, now it is too late. Once that allotment is used up it is waiting for April to see a low bill again. Your SMART meter is probably OK. Check your last 4 to 6 bills to track your consumption to see what is happening.

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Doesn't sound to me like any of you have a Smart Meter. It's just digital which is why you have to read it. Smart Meter's send all the information to the Electric Company as well as what other info it can gather on you. There's no need to read them. I don't think anybody in the States, where Smart Meters do exist, have to read their meter.

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I have a smart meter and once a month I pay at CFE. Before with a paper bill I could pay at many locations once every two months. With the paper bill I could pay ahead and I can't with a card reading the smart meter. If people travel it will be a serious problem unless someone reads the meter and pays once a month. The card reading the meter twice, once to get the amount due and second to show it was paid, also turns the electric off and on twice so that all appliances with clocks need to be reset.

There is no reason for the electric to be shut off and turned on when the card is read. It is a pain.

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Joco,

If the card causes too many problems, you can just cancel the card agreement with CFE and go back to normal paper billing.

The steps for cancelling the CFE card agreement were described here on chapala.com about 3 months ago.

Ironically, Datura also wrote about cancelling a CFE card agreement on the first page of this thread. You can find it 3 posts above yours. Good Luck!

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OK, if everyone wants to call it a Smart Meter, we'll call it a Smart Meter, but, by definition, and this is from Wikipedia:

A smart meter is usually an electronic device that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes.[7] Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system.

This sounds more like a Digital Meter and CFE has come up with a hairbrain scheme to eliminate their costs for Meter Readers, computer costs for billing, paper costs and postage costs for mailing bills. All of course, at your expense and inconvenience.

You don't ever have to read a Smart Meter.

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To help understand what the new meters do: The new CFE electronic meters are midway between full operation as "smart meters" versus the old-school "dumb" clock-works meters.

The new CFE electronic meters have some features of Wikipedia's definition of "smart meter": They can be programmed, they can be reset, CFE can turn OFF the power remotely using the meter, the CFE electronic meters can be set-up to be "bi-directional" for customers with on-site solar power generations (though the meter only records how much power was fed back onto the system - according to what a CFE tech told us, but does not display that "credit").

The display on a new CFE meter does show current power usage, but it is in the form of " Kilo Watt Hours ", which means you would have to watch the meter for 10 hours of a 100W bulb running to see the kWh display change by just 1 kWhr. If you turn on a 2000W air conditioner, the meter value will increase by 1 kWhr tick in an hour of watching the meter. This means that the meter display appears to not change from minute to minute, or even in 20 minutes of watching the meter, but the little circuit inside the meter is still recording the power usage.

Finally, unfortunately, CFE chose a system where the homeowners who agree to the card-system, have to lay their special CFE card on top of the meter every month - to record the current meter reading - and then take the card into a CFE office...

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