To arrange your utilities such as electricity, gas and water, make sure you contact the respective suppliers a couple of days in advance of moving in (otherwise you might not be able to turn the lights on the first day). If you are transferring the utilities from a previous tenant, make sure the meters are read so you are not overcharged.
Electricity in Hong Kong
Electricity is provided by:
- Hongkong Electric Co. for Hong Kong Island and Lamma Island (Tel. 2887 3411)
- China Light and Power Co. for Kowloon, the New Territories, Lantau and Cheung Chau (Tel. 2678 2678).
You are usually asked for a deposit of two months’ electricity charges. In some cases this has already been paid for by the landlord and you may just take over paying the monthly bills. If you forget to pay your bills you will receive several demands before being disconnected. After payment, electricity will be restored immediately.
The electricity supply in Hong Kong is rated 200–220 volts. Plugs can be either square or round pin. Many – especially older - apartments have a mixture of both, so you may have to buy plug adapters.
Most areas of Hong Kong are linked to the Towngas network (tel. 2880 6988). To open an account you need to pay a deposit. Older apartments, especially those in parts of the New Territories and apartments in the Outlying Islands, are not connected to the gas main. In this case you will need to use bottled gas, which you can get delivered.
Water bills are minimal in Hong Kong and are paid quarterly. For the Water Supplies Department Customer Service, call 2824 5000.
Although your landlord will insure your apartment, you might want to take out an additional household insurance which covers your furniture and belongings against fire, theft, typhoons and burst pipes. Most major banks can give you an online quote for household insurance.
Hong Kong has two free Chinese language channels and two English language channels – Pearl and ATV World, for which you don’t need to pay any fees. Broadband Pay TV with a wide range of additional channels can be purchased via pay TV operators and broadband providers.
Many expatriates in Hong Kong hire domestic help, which is very reasonably priced. A local worker charges around HK$50-70 per hour. You can either hire a cleaning company on an hourly basis or a full-time Foreign Domestic Helper (FDH). FDHs are only allowed to work for their contractual employer. In practice, many helpers do additional work part-time. Be aware of the consequences: punishment for the employer is a maximum fine of HK$150,000 and one year’s imprisonment. The FDH may be imprisoned and deported. More information is available at www.amahnet.com and www.proxy-maid.com.hk.