Our power went off yesterday about 11:30 am which is not out of the ordinary. Right away I went to check with our neighbor to see if it was the whole building or just us and his power was still on. This had me wondering if we had forgot to pay our bill – when you do that you get cut off within a couple of days unless you notify the office you will be making a late payment.
They do not waste any time cutting people off – we were told once it was due to customer complaints that the bills would get to high if they allowed people to be late and add it onto next months bill. I was able to tap into a wireless connection and confirm that our last e-bill still showed we had $129 credit.
Next step after letting Paul know was call BEL – I was wondering if I would even get through as likely everyone is still at lunch – yes some places still close down for lunch here and you have to wait ah hour if you do not get to the office on time.
The rest of what happened is quite amusing…
Me – Dialing BEL office
BEL phone message – Thank you for calling Belize Electricity limited. To enter the phone number of the person you are trying to reach press 1, to enter the name of the person you are trying to reach press 2, to transfer to the operator press 0
Me – pressing zero rings once then Bel Message… to enter the phone number of the person you are trying to reach press 1
to enter the name of the person you are trying to reach press 2, to transfer to the operator press 0
Me – pressing zero again
Bel Message – to enter the phone number of the person you are trying to reach press 1 to enter the name of the person you are trying to reach press 2, to transfer to the operator press 0. The phone number you are trying to reach is currently out of service sorry you are having trouble please stay on the line and someone will be there to help you shortly.
Beep beep beep beep beep – dead air
Me – waiting a minute or so in silence. Surprised by how this is all playing out? Not really.
Well actually I am pleasantly surprised – while waiting in silence my phone rang through with an incoming call and it happened to be a very helpful woman at BEL confirming that she just got my emails and was calling to confirm we should not be cut off for any reason. Our next bill is due January 15th and and that she will send someone out to investigate right away. Paul called for an update and said he will still double check with the office since he is in town.
Good news the BEL truck came in record time – about 15 minutes from when I hung up the phone. I called Paul back right away and told him that BEL guys are here and it is all getting sorted out and he can just head for home. Bad news they said we had power when clearly we didn’t. P happened to be close by checked our breaker box and said it is working fine.
BEL guys quickly figured out that what looks like it should be our meter is not really our meter and that we are on one that has got turned off which is supposed to be a ground floor meter. They said just to go to the office and make sure we do not have a balance and then they will get a call to come turn us back on after that end is sorted.
I call Paul back right away and asked if he could please go back to town to the BEL office and call when he gets there as I will have the correct account number and we can make sure we are in good standing and get the power back on asap. Was not to long before Paul called me from the office – I told him the truck just left and if they hurry the guys can come back and flip the switch. I gave him the number and he said he would keep me posted.
More not so good news – Paul called back right away and said that even though we do not owe any money (well technically we had a balance of 37 cents not enough to pull the plug) – BEL is not going to turn out power back on because they said the meters in our building are messed up and until they get that fixed there is nothing they can do. Unfortunately the owner of the building is out of the country till January 3rd so does not help matters much.
My next move was to go talk to P and let him know the scoop. I also asked if need be could we rig an extension chord from somewhere to get some power – need to keep fridge/freezer stuff cool or take it somewhere. Paul put in a call to Pedro and who started making a few calls and trying to help us get sorted.
About 4pm we heard that familiar beeping noise of the power going back on. Paul jumped up to go see who turned the meter back on and thank them – no one was there. 4:03 pm we got a call from BEL saying they would be around soon to turn our power back on. I even got an email reply from BEL after having talked to them saying that they were working to figure out the problem right away. Hooray for a happy ending on that one – funny thing is we still have no idea why it was cut in the first place.
Often I get correspondence from people who are looking to do what we did – move somewhere tropical like San Pedro and starting a new life. They want to know more about our experience and cost of living on Ambergris Caye Belize. One of the good things about moving to Belize which we found extremely helpful was that most apartments come furnished to some degree. Here is some info and pictures some of you might find useful in your research – a beach front apartment for rent on Caye Caulker island.
Beautiful one bed/ one bath apt for rent. Fully furnished and centrally located in the heart of Caye Caulker Village. Private balcony boasts spectacular views of the Belize Barrier Reef. Local restaurants, bars and shops are all within walking distance.
Kitchen features – Refrigerator Stove Microwave Coffee Maker Can Opener Dishes Utensils Counter
Laundry features – Washer/Dryer Linens Towels
Inside features – Cable TV, CD Radio, Cleaning, Central Air, Ceiling Fans, Sofa Bed, Pets ok
Outside features – Outdoor Shower, Porch, Hammock
One year minimum lease required plus one month security deposit!! $1500 US/month …all utilities included. All you need is your clothes to move in!!
Now also available is a “very hard to find” 2 bedroom/ 1 bath apt, downstairs. Same amenities as the one bedroom…all utilities included for $1800 US/ month.
Contact: Beata – beatamusic[at]yahoo[dot]com