Acknowledging consumer confusion, the government is stepping up its campagin to encourage Ecuadorians to switch from gas to electric cooktops.
The Ministry of Energy is posting graphics on its website showing the energy savings of cooking with electricity instead of gas. The problem, some say, is the the cost of new electric units that can range between $200 and $800, and a general reluctance to make a change until the end of the gas subsidy in late 2017.
Another problem of convincing the public to make the conversion, said one ministry spokesman, is that statistics have little impact with most consumers.
Currently, cooking with subsidized gas is much cheaper than cooking with electricty due to the subsidy. The government says it pays $22.27 for each 15 kg cylinder of gas while the subsidized street price is $1.60.
The government is offering to finance electric cooktops but so far interest has been minimal.
A salesman in a Cuenca appliance store said it was highly unlikely the government will reach the goal of having 3.5 electric cooktops in Ecuadorian homes by 2017. “If the subsidy continues to the beginning of 2018 why would you change now? I think many people will change once they start paying higher prices for gas but until then they will continue to use gas.”