Electricity in Ecuador


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Design research I did on a recent trip to Ecuador. Includes Quito, Ambato, Tena, and the roads in between.

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Electricity in Ecuador

  1. 1. Electricity in Ecuador<br />Kat Davis<br />
  2. 2. Light<br />In Spanish, la luztranslates to light and is the most common word used for electricity. <br />During my recent trip to Ecuador, I explored people's attitudes toward la luz, and how they put electricity to use in their daily lives.  <br />
  3. 3. The Amazon Region<br />
  4. 4. Power lines follow the roads and do not venture far into the dense jungle.<br />
  5. 5. Families must run their own wires if they want electricity far from the roadway.<br />
  6. 6. Individuals in remote areas have to pay for their power line poles, which can cost $1500 - $3000.<br />
  7. 7. Typical monthly electric bill in the Amazon, $15. Average salary, $250.<br />
  8. 8. Inside of a house located in Tena, ~ 28,000 people<br />
  9. 9. Switches and wires go on the outside of walls<br />
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  11. 11. As much as possible, natural light is used, but even then, lights are on.<br />
  12. 12. An inhabited, unfinished house during the day…<br />and at night.<br />
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  14. 14. Good design makes something mundane engaging.<br />
  15. 15. A street vendor keeping her food warm with light bulbs.<br />
  16. 16. Almost all cooking is done with gas, not electricity.<br />
  17. 17. Even the ice cream vendor uses gas.<br />
  18. 18. A carnival in a small jungle town<br />
  19. 19. An electric and gas powered ferris wheel<br />
  20. 20. The ferris wheel motor<br />
  21. 21. Well-lit foosball<br />
  22. 22. Dad pushing the merry-go-round which is lit with fluorescent lights<br />
  23. 23. Electric-powered moonwalk<br />
  24. 24. The Amazon’s heat and humidity make fans a necessity.<br />
  25. 25. A reminder at a hotel: <br /><ul><li>Turn off the water
  26. 26. Turn off the lights
  27. 27. Put trash in its place
  28. 28. Close the door slowly</li></li></ul><li>The government doesn’t allow electric showers to be sold anymore, but many still use them, as is the case with this hotel.<br />
  29. 29. Batteries are expensive in Ecuador. This fire alarm’s battery is charged by the wall to cut costs.<br />
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  31. 31. The Power Source<br />
  32. 32. Ecuador relies almost exclusively on hydroelectric power, which causes problems during times of drought. In the last crisis, Ecuador was forced to buy power from Colombia.<br />
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  36. 36. With some of the most active volcanoes in the world, Ecuador should consider its geothermal options. Yet, no Ecuadorian I talked to mentioned this potential.<br />
  37. 37. © 2011 Kat Davis<br />Andes region – in the city<br />
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  39. 39. Given religion’s prominence in the culture, churches and religious figures are always lit during the night.<br />
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  41. 41. Visual Design Fundamentals | 39<br />
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  43. 43. The boy on the right climbs a latter to plug in his father’s hotdog stand.<br />
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  45. 45. TVs are found in almost every eating establishment. Elvis Presley is not.<br />
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  51. 51. Houses must pay for their own meter, which is around $80.<br />
  52. 52. An electric bill for a middle class family in Ambato is between $20- $35.<br />
  53. 53. This is a store where electric bills can be paid. Every house gets a 5-day window to pay their electric bill in an effort to prevent the electric company from being overwhelmed with people. This can be a problem for many families to pay their bills particularly if their paycheck payment date doesn’t coincide with their given window to pay their electric bill.<br />
  54. 54. People waiting to pay their electric bill at the store. Electric bills can be paid online, but because water can’t be paid online, most people pay water and electricity at the same time and in person.<br />
  55. 55. This is a late payment notice slipped under the door. It warns that the recipient has 24 hours to pay before the electricity is shut off.<br />
  56. 56. Ambetenos walk by an electric fence. Technically, these fences are illegal, but business still use them and there is little enforcement of the law.<br />
  57. 57. Mayor of Ambato’s office<br />
  58. 58. One of two TVs in the mayor’s office<br />
  59. 59. The mayor’s CB radio<br />
  60. 60. The security & safety for the mayor includes a lighted exit sign and two video cameras watching the doors.<br />
  61. 61. Ambato Technical University, a leading Ecuadorian institution<br />
  62. 62. A kiosk in the unversity that explains the courses and goals of the information technology degree. It stands in the middle of the room unplugged.<br />
  63. 63. Buildings are designed to allow for light and natural ventilation.<br />
  64. 64. A broken billboard at the university which should rotate between three different advertisements.<br />
  65. 65. An electronic kiosk that provides information about the university, degree programs offered, and the ability to check grades and current events. The machine was left on all night. Several other machines around campus were permanently turned off.<br />
  66. 66. Here is a computer, which advertises being eco friendly found in the teachers’ lounge. Most Ecuadorians talk about the necessity of taking care of the environment and conserving energy.<br />
  67. 67. However, few practice what they preach. Lights and computers are left on in the teacher’s lounge long after all of the professors have gone home.<br />
  68. 68. A rare electric hand dryer in the university bathroom that does not work<br />
  69. 69. At the Ambato Ministry of Education, all offices on the floor share a common printer.<br />
  70. 70. Light switch repair at a restraunt<br />
  71. 71. A neighborhood corner store relies on natural light. Most stores have thin plastic ceilngs that allow light in.<br />
  72. 72. An Ambato house - It’s not uncommon to see electric sockets that can be individually turned on and off.<br />
  73. 73. In the kitchen, electricity powers a blender, the spark for the stove, the microwave, and the refrigerator.<br />
  74. 74. Cleanliness is next to godliness in Ecuador, so this floor waxer isn’t surprising. Most store owners scrub and wash the sidewalk in front of their store daily.<br />
  75. 75. A battery alarm on the door that separates the house from the family owned store attached to the house<br />
  76. 76. A year ago, the electric company advertised in the newspaper that they would exchange all low-efficiency light bulbs out for high efficiency bulbs. <br />
  77. 77. The house’s electric doorbell<br />
  78. 78. The washing machine which advertises energy efficiency.<br />
  79. 79. Ecuador imports most electronics. The English energy guide doesn’t help this family. However, they never use hot water for washing clothes anyway.<br />
  80. 80. Most people wash clothes by scrubbing them against concrete. Some families even scrub clothes first and then put them through the washer as the later is considered inferior in its ability to clean.<br />
  81. 81. Hot showers and water are gas powered in most city houses.<br />
  82. 82. Thanks!<br />For more information contact:<br />Kat Davis<br />kat.davis@ac4d.com<br />Twitter: @iamgato<br />