About Utility bills and payment
The public utilities, water, electricity, and gas, are indispensable in daily living. The utilities in Tokyo are served by several companies with whom each householder, both live in a detached and apartment house, is supposed to have a use contract. However, some rental rooms and serviced apartments include utility fees in the rent, and you are advised to check it when you look for a rental place.
- A meter reading slip is NOT a bill
- About utility services and the payment plans
- Water Service
- Electricity Service
- Reference: Related websites
A meter reading slip is NOT a bill
Have you ever seen Kenshin-hyou 検針票, a meter reading slip? The slip is a usage statement to tell how much utility (e.g., water, electricity) you spent in a period. In the utility system, a meter reading slip is firstly issued, and then, the bill is given based on the amount of usage stated in the slip. The user is to pay the invoice accordingly later on.
Kenshin-hyou slip will be shifted from paper to online.
The paper slip of Electricity/Gas usage statement will no longer be issued. Instead, the report will be available online. You can check the amount of usage, fees, and payment status on the website.
About utility services and the payment plans
Water and electricity in Tokyo are served as follows. Please note that the reference fees mentioned here are based on Tokyo and may vary in other regions of Japan. At any rate, what to keep in mind is the difference in the date of usage statement issued and the fee charged. If you move out of a place, you need to consider the time gap between the end of the contract period and the payment day.
As for gas in Tokyo, the information is not provided in this article as the gas service is not commonly used in the urban area these days. In fact, gas is not served at most high-rise apartments in Tokyo. To learn about the gas service, please refer to the following information on the electricity service, which is quite similar to it for the gas.
The water service in Tokyo is provided by Waterworks Bureau of Tokyo Metropolitan Government, with whom you are to have a contract directly. The water rate is determined on a pay-for-use basis that includes 1.Basic charge, 2.Usage fee based on quantity.
Water rate: Basic charge
The basic charge is charged for the use of water and sewerage. The water fee is set according to the water pipe width, which means the larger the pipe has, the higher the rate. The cast for sewerage is determined based on quantity.
Water rate: Usage fee based on quantity
The pay-for-sue fee is set per 1m³, and the rate varies depending on how much water you use in a period. For example, in Tokyo 23 special wards, the fee is 22円/1m³ for usage between 6m³ and 10m³, and 128円/1m³ for usage from 11m³ up to 20m³. (As of October 2020)
Therefore, the water bill is calculated as;
Basic charge + (Water usage x Pay-for-use rate/1m³)
The amount of water usage can be found on the meter reading slip (Kenshin-hyou). The statement can also be found online (User registration is required)
The water rate varies in areas.
Tokyo Waterworks Bureau provides different water rates within the municipal area. The rate is somewhat higher in the 23 special wards than in other western areas. In some regions of Japan, the rate may largely vary depending on the prefecture.
The water fee is charged every two months.
In principle, water usage is summed up every two months, and the payment is made one month later. For example, if the calculation period is two months from July 10th to September 9th, the payment day will be September 28th. (In case of automatic payment) This time gap may sometimes be confusing, especially when you move in/out.
For electricity, there are two different services to be provided according to the usage, which are;
Den-ryoku 電力: Single phase power supply (100v), for regular use at home.
Dou-ryoku 動力: Three-phase supply (200v) for business use at offices, stores, small factories, and large houses.
Electricity fee for ordinary use at home (Den-ryoku)
The electricity to use at home is supplied by an energy company and is sold through a retailer. Consumers are supposed to have a contract with a retailer. Incidentally, most of the retailers offer gas service as well. Signing up with one of the retailers will allow you to use both gas and electricity and make the payment altogether at once.
The electricity rate for regular use is determined on a pay-for-use basis that includes 1.Basic charge, 2.Usage fee based on quantity, 3. Additional cost for fuel cost adjustment etc.
Basic charge for electricity
The basic charge is usually set based on amperage, and the rate varies depending on the retailer. The average amperage used at home in Tokyo is likey from 30A to 50A. The rate will be around 858 JPY/30A and 1430 JPY/50A (As of October 2020)
Usage fee based on quantity
The pay-for-use fee is set per 1kWh. The price per 1kWh is provided in three levels based on usage, and the more electricity you use, the higher rate is applied. One example goes like this;
The use less than 120kWh is Level 1; The rate is 19.88 JPY,
Range of use from 120kWh up to 300kWh is Level 2; The rate is 26.48 JPY/1kWh
The use exceeding 300kWh is Level 3; The rate is 30.57 JPY/1kWh.
Additional cost for fuel cost adjustment etc.
This cost includes a surcharge for fuel cost adjustment and renewable energy power promotion. The price is calculated from usage quantity by the unit cost.
Therefore, the electricity bill is calculated as;
Basic charge + (Electricity usage x Pay-for-use rate/1kWh) + Additional cost
The amount of usage quantity can be found on the Kenshin-hyou slip/website (User registration is required.
The electricity fee is charged every month.
In principle, electricity usage is summed up monthly, and the payment is made around the 20th of the month. For example, if the calculation period is one month from July 8th to August 7th, the payment day will be August 20th. (In case of automatic payment)
Electricity/Gas retailers provide services at different rates.
If you are thinking of cost-saving for utilities, it is advisable to carefully select a retailer as they provide different rates and loyalty programs. Although the basic fee will not be much different, the usage fee can be quite a change depending on how much electricity you use. Remember, changing retailers cannot always be money-saving if you don’t use much electricity. Besides, you should consider a cancelation fee that your retailer may charge.
Do not show your meter reading slips to anyone.
Being competitive in the utility service market, it seems that some retailers try to do a hard sell. According to a consumer affairs center, there was a case that a salesperson who saw the slip stole the personal information on it. Showing the slip to someone will be a risk. The chance is that such a salesperson will replace the contractor before you know it.
Extra information: Dou-ryoku Power (Three-phase supply (200v)
Dou-ryoku is powerful electricity used at offices, stores, small factories, and large houses. The service is provided by an energy company with whom the consumer is supposed to directly have a contract. Being like bulk consumption, the electricity rate for Dou-ryoku is lower than that for ordinary homes. The service plans are provided for each customer in accordance with the facilities to use, such as large refrigerators and machine tools, and the rate varies accordingly. To find detailed information about Dou-ryoku, it is suggested you contact an energy company.
Reference: Related websites
Waterworks Bureau of Tokyo Metropolitan Government
How to read Kenshin-hyou Meter Reading Slip (Japanese website )検針票の見方（日本語）
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO)
TOKYO GAS Co., Ltd.