As we continue to move forward on the situation with CEA there are now letters in English and in Spanish that anyone who is interested in may sign. The letter was written by Juan Carlos Gonzales who we recently wrote about and is now spearheading this movement demand for transparency in regards to water in San Carlos. I am now trying to get a hold of the water company’s director of communications to schedule an interview with them. After speaking with dozens of people in San Carlos regarding their respective water bills as well as lawyers, local journalists and hotel owners, it is clear to me that CEA has been illegally overcharging residents in San Carlos for water for what could constitute decades. As a strategy to make CEA pay attention to the fact that San Carlos residents are now well informed of their on going shenanigans Juan Carlos has suggested an idea that seems very valid.
Most residents of San Carlos pay their property taxes up front for the whole year. What Juan Carlos has suggested is that instead of paying for the whole year up front simply pay only the first quarter payment. When you pay your bill you could perhaps bring a copy of the letter or simply mention that you normally pay the whole year but until CEA gets its act together you are only going to pay by the quarter. That will certainly get CEA and the City of Guaymas’s attention.
Now here is the part that really drives home the overcharging. In Guaymas the rate for between 0 and 30 M3 (cubic meters) is 55 pesos. Note on the paper to the right that here in San Carlos the rate is 254 pesos. Now when CEA is asked why the rate is aproximatley 5 times greater in San Carlos the justification is that San Carlos is a “zona turistica”. Well the last time I visited the Ranchitos in San Carlos there are plenty of places that don’t look to terribly “turistica”. Now in Guaymas there are plenty of zonas turisticas. There is the malecon turistica and there is the Marina Singlar which is registered as a marina turistica. I wonder what those zones pay for water. Is it the 55 pesos a month rate or more? The constitution of the state of Sonora does not define “zonas touristica”, even if that designation is real, as paying more for water service then non tourist zones.
What is also very interesting is that under the Non Domestic use category the cost is 342.92 pesos yet the business owners I spoke with are paying over 500 pesos a month and all they have is a bathroom at their place of business. Even when the business is closed for months in summer and there is no water usage they are paying the same rate, over 500 pesos per month. What that says to me is that CEA is not reading their meters and pretty much arbitrarily charging users more than they should. I have spoken with home owners in Bahia Esmeralda who have recently installed new meters and even have a separate water meter for their bodega. These users have read the meter themselves and have zero water usage and yet were charged get this, 1,500 pesos for that new meter that read zero. Just like the months before. Of course they were told by CEA that the previous water meter was bad and should install a new one.
I hope to get an interview with the head of CEA in Guaymas before the holidays but in the meantime please take a look at the letter Juan Carlos has written and if you are in agreement with it pleas sign it. The letter will be posted for signing at Aqua Luz, Captains Club, Galeria de Bellas Artes and hopefully more business’s as the word gets out.