What to do if your water meter disappears

A JAPAY water meter. (PHOTO: Barry Zahn)

Merida expat Barry Zahn shares this advice on what to do in the case of theft of your water meter.

Yes, this can really happen, especially if you have a shiny copper/brass meter! Anyway, if you wake up one morning and your meter is gone there are several things you need to do. Oddly enough, contacting JAPAY is the last step in the process.

First, hire a plumber (plomero) to put in a temporary connection. Otherwise you will be without water while you go about completing the remainder of the steps. JAPAY can and will do this for you but it’s a bureaucracy and it can take days or even weeks before they actually get around to installing your temporary connection

A JAPAY water meter. (PHOTO: Barry Zahn)
A JAPAY water meter. (PHOTO: Barry Zahn)

Second get a demanda or denuncia (complaint or police report). The actual report you will get is titled, “Acta de Perdida y/o Menoscabo de Medidor de Agua Potable.” To get this you need to go to the Fiscalía General Del Estado (state’s attorney). It’s located to the left of the jail (cárcel) that is just north of the Perifico near the Celestun exit. For those adventurous souls there is a bus that leaves Calle 67 between C60 and C62. It will take you to Fiscalía for only 7 pesos. The bus generally has Fiscalia in big letters on the windshield. It is also known as #65 Mulsay R1.

To complete the report you will need identification with a photo. They originally asked me for my passport but my permanent resident card worked just fine. And you will need your latest JAPAY bill. I was told that I would need a copy of my identification, but was not asked for the copy at any time.  The lady taking my complaint asked some basic information e.g., age, when did the meter disappear and how did I discover it was gone. This was then typed into a boilerplate report specifically for missing JAPAY meters.  The report is then printed and signed by you and the jefe. It’s easy and there is no cost.

Once you have the report, you can now go to JAPAY. Again take your latest bill for reference and the Acta. After a few minutes of furious typing you will be given a work order for the replacement of the meter. The work order will show a due date for the replacement of the following week. This is a work of fiction. In reality it will be at least two months, usually more, before the new meter arrives. In the meantime you will be billed the minimum amount – I believe its 74 pesos. JAPAY will also ask if you need someone to provide a temporary connection. This is when you inform them that you had a plumber install a temporary pipe. Now everything is legal and above board. Just sit back and wait for the new meter.

By Barry Zahn for TYT