Sergio has been traveling to the village this weekend to troubleshoot and expand the system. They have decided that a better billing cycle would be to start and end on the first day of the month, so Monday they will be "restarting" the billing process. I'm not clear on this, but I don't think they have started actually charging customers yet. That's OK, because there have been some other things that needed finalizing first.
To date, there are 15 houses connected to the grid. This is good news - and there's more. As I write this, the hydrogenerator has been running with the new dump load for about 24 hours!! The battery voltage climbed all the way to 59V, which is the upper limit I set before leaving. This seems to indicate that the dump load controller is working correctly. I talked Sergio through the process of lowering the upper limit to 56.4V, which is better for the batteries.
I could hear the excitement and enthusiasm in Sergio's voice, despite our terrible connection. A few weeks ago, Sergio's cell phone was stolen when his house was robbed (again). So when I wired him some money for project-related expenses, I included a little for a new phone for him. It's a "company phone" so we can talk while he is in the village, and since it's prepaid by him, he can also use it for his personal use.
I'm anxious to return and see things for myself. I am planning to do so in about a month, perhaps in time for the first bill collection. That might be interesting.