Seems like things are pretty easy-going here in Thailand.
Last month I paid my electric bill a little late. I normally pay at the 7/11, but after the due date you have to go to the City Electricity Office. I was prepared for a long wait, but it took about 5 mintues (once I figured out where to go--10 minutes of looking and asking). No problem.
THIS month was a different story. The bill was sitting on our table one day, I thought a housemate would pay it. Three days later it was still there, so I put it in my wallet for when I'd pass a 7/11. I was busy with a training seminar all week and so when I finally got to the 7/11 on Friday we saw that it was past due, and it was too late to go to the City Office.
Monday when I came home from my Thai lesson, the electricity was out. I did not get the correlation between that and my unpaid bill, because the last time it was NO PROBLEM, right??
Well, there were millions of people at the Electricity Office that day so I skipped it. Still no electricity... which for me means no water except for in the kitchen. Why, you ask? Our water gets pumped upstairs by an electric pump. Broken Pump? no water. Electricity out? no water.
That night as I got ready for bed by candlelight and washed up out of a bucket, it hit me! "Is it because I haven't paid my BILL?? Surely not, this is THAILAND, where people get away with tons of illegal things all the time" (i.e. not wearing motorcycle helmets).
Well, sure 'nuff. Tuesday, went to the Electric Office first thing. 104 people were ahead of me in line, but it went fast... waited maybe 20 minutes. I asked him, "Is my electricity out because I haven't paid?" "That's right" "It will come back after I pay?" [Nod.]
That was roughly 9:30am. Finally, after showering at my gym for the last two days (kitchen has water but it's only COLD), around 7:30pm my electricity was back!
I'm guessing there's some new policy about late payments, and they're really cracking down. There is a one-week period in which you can pay the bill. After that, apparently, OFF GO THE LIGHTS.
That will certainly motivate locals (and foreigners!) to pay the bill on time.