Housing & Accommodation
Hong Kong Utilities: Energy Supply & Co.
As a tenant or homeowner in Hong Kong, you are responsible for utilities in your home. Generally speaking, hardly any landlord will get involved in providing your house or flat with all necessary utilities. Serviced apartments are the sole exception to this rule.
In Hong Kong, different providers are responsible for different utilities. You will have to contact them individually if you want everything to work when you are ready to move into your new place. Fortunately, there are not all that many providers, so you won’t have to navigate your way through an overwhelming number of services and offers.
Two companies are responsible for the power supply in Hong Kong: HK Electric Investments is responsible for Hong Kong Island and Lamma Island, and The China Light and Power Company (CLP) provides Kowloon, the New Territories, Cheung Chau and Lantau with electricity. Before you can get connected, you have to pay a deposit of two months’ fees up front. In some cases, your landlord may have already paid the deposit, and you can just begin with the monthly payments.
The electricity supply in Hong Kong is 200-220V, 50Hz, with type G three-pin plugs. These plugs are the same as those used in the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Malta, or Singapore. However, outlets can be designed for square or round pins. In some older apartments, you even find both versions. You may have to get additional plug adapters, so you can use all the outlets in your apartment properly.
The Towngas network supplies most of Hong Kong with gas for cooking and heating. If you want to open an account with the gas company, you need to pay an advance deposit. Although most neighborhoods are very well connected to the gas supply system, older apartments (especially in the New Territories and the outlying islands) may not be connected. Here you can use bottled gas instead.
The Water Supplies Department is responsible for providing your place with water. The bill is usually rather low and only paid quarterly.
Quality of Drinking Water
Hong Kong's drinking water is considered one of the safest in the world and abides to the quality standards set by the World Health Organization. The water supplies in Hong Kong are subject to constant quality control, which involves checking for bacteria and chemicals and different procedures of water treatment.
The quality of drinking water in your own home, however, can be negatively affected by poor plumbing and rusty pipes. Therefore you should always have the quality of tap water in your place checked. Notify the building management or your landlord if you suspect that poor inside plumbing could affect the quality of tap water in your home.
As a result of Hong Kong’s constant population growth, the government expects to be faced with a serious waste problem very soon. In an attempt at damage control, the government has introduced a number of waste reduction and recycling programs.
The recycling programs include, among others, the Source Separation of Domestic Waste Program. Building managements and landlords are encouraged to provide their tenants with waste separation bins and facilities. In this way, waste can be recycled right where it is produced, thus saving a lot of money and energy that would otherwise go into the recycling process.
Many of the housing estates which participate in these programs also offer large-scale collections on a regular basis. These give tenants the opportunity to get rid of things which cannot be disposed of through regular waste, such as clothes or electronic devices. Items which are collected here are then recycled or reused.
With its thriving economy and its growing population, Hong Kong heavily depends on the reliability and availability of power supplies. In order to keep the city’s status as an economic leader, the administration has developed a keen interest in harnessing alternative and renewable energies, including solar, wind, and energy derived from waste disposal.
The government supports the development and use of alternative energies such as solar water heaters in public buildings and private homes - in sunny Hong Kong, a lot of energy can be produced and saved that way. Different websites provide information about the advantages of renewable energy.
If you are thinking about installing photovoltaic equipment on your building, you need the permission of the Buildings Department, Lands Department and Water Supplies Department. The equipment should be connected by a professional. You can find more information on the pages of the Hong Kong Government.
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