Friday, June 24, 2005

Mexican Utilities - Gas

We use propane for cooking and heating. The cost for it has gone up in the three years we have had the house. In the warm weather it probably costs us about $40-50 a month for cooking and heating water. There isn't any central heat, just fireplaces with propane heaters or lava rocks in each bedroom and in the sala. Not the most efficient way to heat a house but the cold weather lasts for a couple of months with maybe some cool mornings or evenings for a month on either side of that. During that time the houses do get cold so for the two or three colder months the cost for keeping the propane tank filled will double maybe even more if we have a really cold spell and you use the fireplaces during the day.

Using electric heaters isn't a good option because it is very expensive to heat with electricity. We have heard of people who have had renters who used electric heaters and they have had electric bills in the hundreds of $500 or more. As I mentioned in a previous post, the cost of electricity in San Miguel is more expensive than it is in the USA.

How do you get propane gas into your house? It is delivered to your door by truck. You can call the gas company or if you see the truck in the street, you just stop them and tell them you need gas. The good things is that the trucks seem to have a route that they follow playing a little jingle over their loudspeaker so you know when they are near by. Ranchocalypso calls it noise pollution but somehow the little two-line jingle, and all of the other mobile businesses that come "singing" down my street, is a part of the charm of living in Mexico for me. I'm not hidden away in a house but a part of my neighborhood.

If you have a tank on your roof, they come in a tank truck. One of the men goes up to the tank, drops a rope, pulls up the hose from the truck and they pump the gas up. There is a meter on the truck and you pay cash for the delivery. Most people in the older houses use cylinders of gas. The tall cylinders come on a different truck but it is the same thing. You either flag them down or call for a delivery. What amazes me is that the men who deliver the cylinders carry them up the street if the truck has to park downhill and will also carry them up stairs. How do they do it all day long? The Mexican men are strong.

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