Utilities

Electricity

The electricity supplier in the Cuenca region is the state-owned company CentroSur.

You can pay your monthly electricity bill at the office of CentroSur in Cuenca or at one of the many stores that offer payment services. Most banks and credit unions offer the possibility of automatic payments.

If you rent a home and you want to have the electricity bill to be on your name, you can apply for a name change at the office of CentroSur. You will need to bring your ID, the cédula of your landlord, and a recent electricity bill.

Gas

In most homes in the Cuenca region, people need gas to heat water and to cook. Cities and villages in the Cuenca region have no gas pipelines to deliver (natural) gas. Modern condominium buildings have central gas systems, but if you are not living in such a building, you will need to buy gas cylinders.

Buying gas cylinders

Before buying a gas cylinder filled with gas, you need to be sure that you have an empty gas cylinder to give to the gas vendor. You can get empty gas cylinders at stores like Coral and AKÍ. An empty gas cylinder usually costs between $45 and $55. You can also get gas cylinders from gas vendors, but they ask for a higher price.

The easiest way is to buy a full gas cylinder from a gas distribution truck. The vendor will ask $3 if you return an empty gas cylinder. In Cuenca, you can recognize the gas distribution trucks by the song about Cuenca that they play. In the video below, you can listen to this song. When no gas distribution trucks are not showing up, you can call one. There are many gas distribution companies with trucks. An example of such a company in Cuenca is Distribuidora Idrovo. The WhatsApp number of this company to order gas cylinders is +593 9 8284 5747.

Most cities also have several distribution points for consumers. Here you can buy gas cylinders for $1.66 if you return an empty gas cylinder. By law, these gas vendors cannot ask for higher prices. The difference with the price when buying from a gas distribution truck is a service fee.

Color system

The colors of gas cylinders vary by region in Ecuador. In the Cuenca region, you will see white (blanco), yellow (amarillo), and blue (azul) gas cylinders. White and yellow are the most frequent colors of gas cylinders in the Cuenca region. In the past, businesses could only use blue gas cylinders, but this is no longer the case. Vendors will usually accept all three colors. Vendors do not take in gas cylinders with different colors than white, yellow, or blue. The reason is that vendors cannot exchange these gas cylinders from other regions at the regional gas distribution point for resellers in Challuabamba.

Recommendations

  • Have a reserve gas cylinder in case a gas cylinder runs out.
  • Make sure that all your gas cylinders are full when there is a high probability that a national strike is about to occur. During national strikes, there is usually a severe shortage of full gas cylinders in the Cuenca region.
  • Many modern condominium buildings have central gas systems. If you don’t want to worry about gas cylinders, you may choose a home in such a building.
  • Sell your gas cylinders when moving to a region with different gas cylinder colors.

Water

Most cities in the Cuenca region have potable water. Local water companies distribute the water with water pipelines.

The local water company for Cuenca is the municipal utility company ETAPA. You can pay the monthly bills for water at one of the ETAPA offices or at one of the stores that offer payment services. Many banks and credit unions also offer the option of automatic payment.

The water often comes from the highlands above the cities and is therefore drinkable. The water can contain parasites, so if you are sensitive to parasites it may be wise not to drink the water untreated.