In Japan, gas is one of the essential utilities you need for your home. The most common type of water heater in Japan is the gas boiler and most properties have a gas line in the kitchen for gas stoves. There are a few reasons you would want to switch gas providers in Japan, for example, finding a cheaper rate or using a gas provider with better English support.
Switching gas providers in Japan is not as simple as switching your electricity provider in Japan but is still pretty easy.
In Japan there are two types of gas used; natural gas (as known as “Toshi gas” or “city gas”), and liquid propane (“LP gas”). Toshi gas is the standard gas used in cities and suburban areas with gas main lines running to houses and apartments. In rural areas where there usually aren’t gas main lines, LP gas is the norm and is delivered in containers.
How to Switch Gas Providers
Now let’s have a look at how to switch gas providers in Japan. While it may not be as simple as switching electricity providers, switching gas providers is still pretty easy but is a bit more involved.
1. Choose a Gas Provider
The first step is to select a gas provider you would like to switch to. In Japan, gas is usually provided by private companies in metropolitan areas and government organisations in more rural areas. There may be different providers for each city. Some examples of gas providers in Japan are Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Toho Gas, Saibu Gas, Tobu Gas, Hokkaido Gas, etc.
When looking for gas companies to choose from there are a few questions you should ask:
- What are the benefits of this contract?
- Are there any additional charges?
- Are there conditions on the duration of the contract?
- Is there a cancellation fee?
- If I have any issues, who will be my main point of contact?
- Are there any green energy options?
- Is English support offered?
Many electricity providers in Japan also provide gas. Check if your current electricity supplier doesn’t also supply gas. They may even have special rates for customers who use their company to get both gas and electricity.
2. Sign Up with a New Gas Provider
You need to sign a contract with the gas supplier you chose in step one. In the past, you had to contact the current provider to cancel your service. Today, however, if you find a new provider, they will handle the cancellation process for you. This makes the process hassle-free for you, the customer. However, be aware that it takes about 10 days to complete the procedure, so it is best to choose your provider and make a request as soon as possible. You can usually contact a gas company and initiate a contract with them via phone or on their website. Some companies may not have English support or an English website, so be prepared to use Japanese or have some on-hand to help.
Give Your Info
Signing a gas contract is fairly easy and you just need to give the gas company your full name, address, and date you would like to start using their gas.
Schedule an Appointment
In Japan, it is required that you be present when the gas company comes to your house and turns your gas on. As such, you will need to schedule an appointment with your new gas provider to open your gas. While it is possible to arrange an appointment on the same day, it is advisable to book one or two weeks in advance.
On the day of the appointment, a service provider from your new gas company will come to check and activate the gas lines. They will also explain the general precautions you should take.
Select a Payment Method
You will also need to choose a payment method with your new gas provider. Most gas providers accept automatic payment by credit card or bank transfer (known as “furikomi”). If those aren’t a preferred option for you then a gas bill should arrive every month that can be paid in cash at convenience stores, post offices, utility offices and banks.
3. Be at Home
In the last step, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and make sure you’re home when your appointment comes up to disconnect and connect the gas. You don’t have to do much except be at home when the service provider visits.
After following the steps above you will have now switched your gas provider in Japan! Keep in mind that March and April are the busiest for moving house in Japan, so most gas providers will be busy helping customers who are looking arrange gas service in their new location. That’s why we suggest that you apply early and schedule an appointment for a service provider to come to your home and disconnect and connect your gas.
We also suggest that you try to schedule your cancelation appointment and starting appointment as close together as possible, if not on the same day. This will prevent any inconveniences of not having gas.
If you are looking to switch to a better gas provider, then Hinatao Energy should be at the top of your list. Hinatao Energy is an electricity and gas provider for the foreign community in Japan, and offers the benefits of no minimum contract period, no sign-up fees, and no cancellation fees. And best of all, Hinatao Energy has full English support!