UTILITY PROVIDERS
WHO TO CONTACT

In Australia utility providers will charge a fee to set up utility accounts ……….. Unlike the UK (where I paid everything monthly by Direct Debit) most utility bills are paid following receipt of the bill (although they are starting to introduce the direct debitoption).

Payment can be made via the following methods and may vary slightly between utility providers so be sure to check the reverse of the bill for instructions;

FINANCE MENU



TELEPHONE


Telephone billing is based on a 30 day period and is payable by cash, cheque or card at the post office. Card payments can be made on the Internet or send a cheque by post. Direct Debit is available.

Key landline providers in WA are Telstra and Optus.


GAS


Gas bills are generated quarterly and are payable by cash, cheque or card at the post office (breakdown and average daily cost detailed on bill ). Card payments can be made on the Internet or send a cheque by post, Direct Debit is not available. Main provider for gas is Alinta.


ELECTRICITY


Electricity bills are generated quarterly (breakdown and average daily cost detailed on bill ) and are payable by cash, cheque or card at the post office. Card payments can be made on the Internet or send a cheque by post, Direct Debit is not available. Electric provider Western Power.

Western Power has recently restructered so now we recieve a bill from Synergy.


WATER


Water is split into two bills, you get one for your water rates (sewerage use) which is payable annually and another for usage payable every 6 months.

The annual sewerage bill is paid on a property purchase at settlement and is based on the remainder of the 12 months. Water provider is the Water Corporation.


SHIRE RATES (COUNCIL TAX)


Rates are payable annually and can be split into 4 equal payments for a fee. If you purchase a property then Rates are generally paid on settlement and are a percentage of the 12 months. The payment year runs from 1 July to 30 June.

 


SET UP CHARGES


All of the utility companies charge a setup fee on new accounts for either a purchased house or a long term rental. Short term rentals are usually inclusive of utilities excluding telephone.


TV


There is no TV licence fee in Australia, you have access to four key channels ABC, Channel 7, Channel 9 and Channel 10.

A selection of regional channels are also available SBS, 31, GWN and WIN.

Foxtel is the distributor for cable and Satellite TV and further details can be found at Foxtel.


POSTAL SERVICES & MAIL


Stamps: Internal domestic .50 cents, International from $1.


POWER SUPPLY


In Australia the power supply is 240 volts AC, 50 Hz, using a three-pinned socket. Plug adaptors for European, North American and other plugs are widely available for around $10.

When you move to Perth bring your UK extention plugs with you and put an Aussie plug on the end. Much easier than changing the plugs over on everything.


TV/VIDEO/DVD


The Australian TV system is PAL-B/G.

European TVs & Video recorders operate on a different sound frequency to Australian systems so you can see the picture but hear nothing. You can run the TV system through an Australian Video which will then decode the sound & picture into the Scart / RGB / Aux Input on the TV. This is a messy way of doing things & it might be cheaper to sell your system and save on shipping.

Videotapes from Europe are compatible with this version of PAL and will play on Australian videos. The PAL-B/G system is incompatible with the NTSC system used in North America and Japan. However Australian domestic video recorders can play NTSC tapes. They may not duplicate or record. Australian DVDs are region 4 and encoded in PAL. If you buy DVD discs in Australia, check if your DVD player can play region 4 discs, and that your DVD player and TV can display PAL signals. Multi-region discs & systems are most reliable unlike the Sony PS2, which is region 4 in Australia & 1 in th UK.


TELEPHONES


The Australian telephone network is different to Europe therefore fax machines & telephones from the UK will not work.

Calling from Overseas

The prefix for dialing Australia from overseas is 00 61.
When dialing from overseas, you should drop the first 0 from the area code - e.g. 08 for Western, Southern & Northern Australia becomes 8.

(00-61-8-Then your 8 digit Perth number.)

STD (area) codes

  • (02) for NSW,


  • (03) for VIC and TAS,

  • (07) for QLD,

  • (08) for SA, WA and the NT

Calling within Australia

The number to dial for emergency services is 000 This number is a free call and should ONLY be used for an EMERGENCY.

If you require Police assistance for a non emergency then dial 131 444

From mobile phones 000 & 112 will also work.

From fixed landline phones, calling local numbers and numbers beginning with 13 are free & un-timed calls. These cost 40 cents from payphones.

1800 numbers are completely free.

Calls to 1900, long distance, and mobile phones are all timed calls, with varying costs .

All calls made from mobile phones are timed calls & incur costs.

Payphones

Telstra payphones are common all over the country. All phones will accept coins or a Telstra phone card. Phone cards are available at post offices, newsagents and convenience stores.

Prepaid Phone Cards

There are a huge number of cheap phone cards in Australia too for making your cheap phone calls to the UK. These can be purchased in Newsagents or on line and have crazy sounding names like Go Bananas. Check out the prices with. phonecard selector You can compare prices over all the talk cards available and select the cheapest for your requiements

Mobile Phones

Prepaid phones are a big thing in Perth and are a lot better value than the pay as you go in the UK. We find it the cheaper option for our needs. The phones we had in the UK were compatible so all we did was buy a start up kit with a SIM card and Australian mobile number and continued to use our UK mobile phone.

After a bit of research we found vodaphone RED sim card (pay as you go) the best deal for us.

You can get a selection of deals with them to suit all users and it only costs $3 for a 10 min phone call back to the UK. (Oh and if you buy your recharge voucher from VideoEazy you get a free dvd rental voucher)

Text Message

A great way to keep in contact. I was amazed the first time I sent a text message to my best friend back in the UK and got a reply almost immediately. Of course if you choose to send a message when it's the middle of the night then the response may not be so fast.

Internet Access

You will find that Internet cafes are relatively common in built-up areas. They can generally be found in city and town centres and most libraries offer internet facilites too although you will probably have to become a member.

E-mail Account

Email is such an easy way to keep in touch, you can send an email anytime even when the person you are sending it to is away. It is so easy to access email today, for those who don't have access at home or work you can find an internet cafe in most towns. If not try the local library they are normally a good place to get on the internet.

It is worth setting up a roaming email address with Hotmail or Yahoo (both provide a free service). This will enable you to access emails via Internet cafes etc.... You will find this a very useful facility especially for keeping in touch with family & friends and other important contacts while you are finding your feet and your new home.

Instant Messaging

What a fab idea IM's are, it makes me think my sister is just down the road not the other side of the world. We chat all the time in this manner, normally early evening while she is on her lunch at work. Getting an internet passport is easy, I use hotmail but Yahoo provide the same type of access now too.

Internet Webcam & Audio

Once we were settled and had our own pad we invested in a web cam and broadband which makes speaking with the folks back home even better. My youngest niece saw me on the web cam for the first time a few weeks ago. Her little face was a picture, she was so excited so see & hear Auntie Shazza.

Computers

There shold be no major hassle bringing you PC over here with you. They can be used with the internal modem, check with the manufacturer for international compliance. External USB modems do work worldwide however some internal older modems do not. You may have to purchase a USB one on arrival and configure it to work with a new service provider.

 

ISPs ( Internet Service Providers)

You can purchase monthly ISP CDs from Target, Big Ws, Post Office and other retailers, they all offer the same products but sometimes offer 2 for 1 deals. You can pay a monthly contract from a fixed landline telephone provider with unlimited access and other international call rate discounts. These are cheaper depending on how long you need to be online.

ADSL, ADSL2 and Wireless ADSL broadband services are now widely available in Australia, and quite often work out cheaper than dialup accounts. I guess at the end of the day the best package for you depends on how much you are going to use it. The difference we found over here was that with Dial up you pay a connection fee (for the phone line) each time you go on line which soon adds up. For comparison on broadband choice check out Whirlpool who also offer a discussion forum on the topic too.




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