Don’t worry, in Taiwan bill paying is designed to be easy, just pay attention, keep the bills in case there is any problem and you will soon know the process by heart.
First of all, all the bills for water and electricity come every two months and gas (if you use it) every month. Bills can be payed in convenience stores (7-11, Family Mart), banks, post offices or by standing order.
You take your bill to the counter, they will scan it and you can pay. They will give you the bill stamped saying that it has been paid and two tickets, one of them stapled to the bill.
If you do not pay on time for whatever reason, you have to pay at the utility company offices. This is more complicated than paying on time at the convenience store. There is usually one office in the city, once you have found it you simply stand in line and pay.
In Taiwan, water is very cheap which is good because you will need more than a shower a day in the hot summer months. Although water in Taiwan can be used for cleaning and personal hygiene, it is not recommended you drink it. In some areas heavy metals are present in the water which no amount of boiling will get rid of.
You can either buy a filter system to have installed on your taps or a filter jug. Another alternative is to buy bottled water. This, however, can become quite expensive since a five litre bottle can cost up to NT$75 and you have the inconvenience of carrying it back home on your own.
What you can do if you are counting on spending a long time in Taiwan is to buy a tank. They cost about NT$2,500-$3,000 and have three water options: boiling water, room temperature water and ice cold water. Their capacity is up to 15 litres and every time you fill it up, it shouldn’t cost more than NT$60 delivered. Usually, you have to pay cash.
It is the most expensive bill you will receive, especially during the summer. You will need it for your air conditioning and in the summer, you are going to be tempted to have it on all day long. You should try to have the air conditioner on only in the room you are using and keep blinds, doors and windows closed during the hottest hours of the day. The older air conditioners are less efficient so consider upgrading any you have in your house.
Most cooking and water heating is done by gas. Older or smaller apartments may not be connected to the mains supply so you will need to buy gas canisters from the local gas seller who will visit your neighbourhood regularly.
When moving into your new apartment, check the hoses in the stove. They are made of plastic or rubber and, since many Taiwanese usually do not cook at home, they may have perished causing them to leak.
Telephone and Internet
To get a fixed line or Internet contract you will need an ARC (Alien Resident Card). But if you’ve already bought your property you already have one. To find out everything about connected to the Internet and getting a phone line, check our section on Telephone & Internet.
In Taiwan, they have an interesting system to make people clear their own rubbish. They have put jingles on garbage trucks (like “Fur Elise”, “A maiden’s prayer” or at Christmas, some Christmas songs). This way, people gather in the street and dispose of their garbage straight into the truck. Some trucks broadcast city policies in different languages for the benefit of foreigners.