In Beijing, almost everything related to household utility is prepaid. This is the biggest difference in life in Beijing and Shanghai.
I have taken it for granted that the following things should be billed after use:
- Natural gas
- Hot-water (if it is provided)
- Fixed Line Telephone
In Beijing, things are very different.
For most of the households in Beijing, they have many different cards:
– Electricity card. You have to go to bank or self-serve machine to buy electricity credit, and then insert it into the electricity meter to get electricity.
– Gas card. The same thing. Buy it at bank first, and insert the card into the gas meter, so you get gas.
– Hot water card. You have to got to the property management company to prepay the hot water you need, insert it into your hot water meter, so you can get hot water.
If you do not insert the card, the meter just stops anything from passing it – no matter it is electricity, gas, hot water, or anything else.
Mvm has complained for this when he was in Beijing. There are all types of people – people like to plan and people hate plan in advance. Not everyone can plan exactly how much electricity, how much water, and how much gas the family will use in that month. I assume in Beijing, people may often run into the situation of no gas, no electricity or no water. Imagine at night, you don’t have electricity, like what Eric experienced during the middle festival. You have to wait until the second day to take short leave from work to buy some electricity…
Nothing Right, or Wrong. It is Just Different
I just feel the pain in Beijing, but there is no right or wrong. It is just different from Shanghai, just like many foreigners felt the difference and suffer from the difference from their own country in China.
What do you feel about the prepaid model in Beijing?
P.S. This page was actually created on October 1, 2008