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18 July 2008
Power to the (Mexican) people
It rained like buggery last night; real monsoon rain, of the type that you never see in the UK. Needless to say, the power went out and the house was illuminated by candlelight for about three hours.

If you want to know why the power goes out almost every time it rains just have a look at this man in the photo. If you are wondering what he is up to, wonder no more, because he is nicking electricity directly from a power line's junction box.

Just about every junction box has a myriad of highly unofficial cables leading from it that go down to the houses below. Since these connections are cobbled together by just about anyone who has a ladder, and the nerve to take his life in his hands at the top of it, then you can imagine that as soon as it starts to rain the water gets into the box and the system trips out.

Every now and again the state-owned power company sends out its people to disconnect the unofficial cables, but the people just give the men a few pesos and they go back to work and report the job done. Occasionally a senior figure will accompany them just to make sure that they actually do the work. What happens then is that those same power company fellows will return later that night to do a reconnect, for a suitable consideration, of course.

As a result of all this hardly anyone in these United Mexican States pays more than a few coppers for their electricity, but every time it rains the candles come out.

Such is life. . .

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2 Comments:

That is FASCINATING. I had no idea. Although our illegal immigrant Mexican neighbours did try to do the same with our cable!

21 July 2008 at 18:31  

The usual trick is not to thieve from another house, it is to take a feed straight from the power box that supplies a whole block.

A more sophisticated way is to have a diablito (little devil) installed. That way you don't have obviously dodgy cables hanging around and you take your power in the normal way, but via the diablito, and then into your meter. It makes the meter show only about ten percent of actual usage...

Just about the only people who can install a diablito are power company workers. The going rate is about a hundred quid, by the way.

21 July 2008 at 19:20  

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