How to pay electricity, gas and water fees in your apartment in Beijing

Another thing that might be perceived as weird by foreigners in Beijing is the way you prchase electricity and gas. You won’t receive invoices via the mail or anything like that, actually you have to go yourself purchase these facilities at the bank, or send someone to do it for you if you fear to face the automatic machine at the bank or do not have time for it. Anyway, you have to kow how it workd if you live in an apartment in Beijing.


You have to get the IC card, as it is called. You have IC card for gas and electricity. Fot water, it depends, you might have to deal with property management for it.


Look at your gas counter and your electricity counter. If the level goes down dangerously, with the risk of running out, you’ll hear a small alarm designed to warn you that beep ! Beep it’s time to go to the bank with your card. You have to know what is the bank where you can recharge your IC card, the landlord or the property management should tell it to you. Anyway, if you don’t know go there and ask, most of the time Chinese banks are organised in kind of clusters and once you are there they will show you the right place to go.


To recharge the IC Card, you’ll need a Chinese bank card, if you don’ t have it you either ask a friend or anyone you know to advance you some money from their card, or you can go to the counter (which can be long in China).


Back with you charged card in your apartment, you can introduce it in the counter and the amount of gas or electrivity you just purchased will be added. This is quite simple actually and when you are used to it you might even prefer it to the invoice-via-mail system. The big drawback is those mornings you’ll wake up without electricity because you have neglected the machine warnings. Yes, it happens to everyone and then you just have to run to the bank cursing the whole world, but this is part of the excitement of expat life in Beijing.


There exists now some other systems where you can pay online at your bank, which is developeing and at par with the general development of the e-commerce in China. If your compound used this kind of system, you might want the help of the property management or assistance from your real estate or relocation agency.


Anyway, do not worry, buying electricity and gas in China is quite easy and retaher chep until now.

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