What’s the Cost of Utilities in Tokyo? (2014)

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CC Photo by sukekichi

How much are utilities in Tokyo? That’s a very wise question if you plan to be moving to Tokyo in the future. Last year, the GaijinPot blog asked the same question and got some very enlightening answers. Since I like to keep track of my utilities, I decided to put together a detailed breakdown of my own utilities for 2014.

This article outlines my costs living alone for 2014 for five utility bills: Gas, electric, water/sewage, cellphone, and internet.

Before diving in, you can use a currency exchange conversion site to change the yen to your country’s currency. The exchange rate has been a little crazy recently, but for a rough conversion, you can think of 100 yen as 1 US dollar (move the decimal in the yen figure two digits to the left for USD).

Tokyo Utilities Monthly Averages (for 2014)

Gas: ¥1,411
Electricity: ¥1,821.25
Water: ¥1,797.75
Cellphone: ¥4,378.08
Internet: ¥6,482.17

Total: ¥15,890.25

Tokyo Utilities Highs (for 2014)

Gas: ¥1,985 (April)
Electricity: ¥2,812 (August)
Water: ¥1,816.5 (January and February)
Cellphone: ¥6,174 (March)
Internet: ¥9,064 (January through May)

Total: ¥21,851.5

Tokyo Utilities Lows (for 2014)

Gas: ¥1,031 (September)
Electricity: ¥882 (March)
Water: ¥2,764 (March through June)
Cellphone: ¥3,233 (December)
Internet: ¥4,638 (June through December)

Total: ¥12,548

Tokyo Utilities Yearly Totals (for 2014)

Gas: ¥16,932
Electricity: ¥21,855
Water: ¥21,573
Cellphone: ¥52,537
Internet: ¥77,786

Total: ¥190,683

Tokyo Utilities Cost Details (for 2014)

Gas

Gas Monthly Average: ¥1411
Gas Monthly High: ¥1985 (April)
Gas Monthly Low: ¥1031 (September)
Gas Yearly Total: ¥16,932

Gas Provider: Tokyo Gas

Note on my Gas Use: I don’t have an explanation for my highest and lowest, but I notice that if I do more gas-stove cooking or take more baths, the bill tends to go up. I keep the gas bill down by washing dishes in cold water and turning off the hot-water heater and gas valve when not in use.

Electricity

Electricity Monthly Average: ¥1821.25
Electricity Monthly High: ¥2812 (August)
Electricity Monthly Low: ¥882 (March)
Electricity Yearly Total: ¥21,855

Electricity Provider: TEPCO

Note on Electricity High: My highest month was August at ¥2812. This is unsurprising since I used the A/C a ton. The summer months (July through September) and winter months (December through February) tend to cost the most for electricity since I use the A/C a lot.

Note on Electricity Low: My lowest month was March at ¥882. I usually use the A/C a bit in March, since it is still cold, but in March 2014 I unplugged my refrigerator for the month, which cut down on the electric bill a lot.

Note on my Electricity Use: I have a refrigerator (no freezer), microwave, and computer that I use often. I don’t have a TV, limit use of hair dryer and A/C, and am careful about unplugging items I don’t use.

Water/Sewage

Water Monthly Average: ¥1797.75
Water Monthly High: ¥1816.5 (January and February)
Water Monthly Low: ¥1764 (March through December)
Water Yearly Total: ¥21,573

Water/Sewage Provider: Tokyo Waterworks Bureau

Note on Water/Sewage Payments: Actually, the water bill comes every two months, but I divided the bi-monthly bill by two to get the monthly high, low, and average.

Note on Water/Sewage High: My highest two month period was January/February, which was a ¥3633 bill (meaning ¥1816.5 per month). This was because I wasn’t using automatic withdrawal, which gives you a small discount.

Note on Water/Sewage Low: From March through June, my water bills were all the same. That is, every two month period, I was charged ¥3528 (¥1764 per month).

Note on Current Water Bills: Since August 2014, my water bills have been at a steady ¥3628 per two months (¥1814 per month). I think the slight increase had to do with the April 2014 sales tax hike, but I’m not entirely sure.

Note on my Water Use: I wash dishes by hand and am careful to turn off water when washing hair in the shower. I take a full bath about once a week.

Cellphone

Cellphone Monthly Average: ¥4,378.08
Cellphone Monthly High: ¥6,174 (March)
Cellphone Monthly Low: ¥3,233 (December)
Cellphone Yearly Total: ¥52,537

Cellphone Provider: Softbank

Note on my Cellphone Use: I currently use a Softbank flip-phone with the cheapest plan (which is partly pay-as-you-go), so the months that I text, use the internet, or call a lot, the bill is higher. I’d like to switch to a SIM card and tablet as my cellphone, which seems like it’d cost about the same as my non-smart flip-phone (not including the purchase price of the tablet).

Internet

Internet Monthly Average: ¥6,482.17
Internet Monthly High: ¥9,064 (January through May)
Internet Monthly Low: ¥4,638 (June through December)
Internet Yearly Total: ¥77,786

Internet Providers: NTT/Yahoo LAN (January through May), AU Pocket Wifi (June through December)

Note on my Internet Use: I switched to an AU pocket wifi as my internet source in June 2014. The pocket wifi is about ¥4000 cheaper per month than the NTT/Yahoo setup, but it isn’t very reliable. I’d stick with the normal NTT/Yahoo service if you want something very stable.
If anyone has suggestions on how to lower this bill, I’m all ears!

How do your utilities compare?

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