Like most of Western Europe, Cyprus utilities are reasonably good. There is mains electricity and running water in all the towns in in the South. The island also has a – mostly – excellent phone system. There is no mains gas, however. Most people use small bottles of gas, which you can exchange outside most supermarkets. It is also possible to pay a little more for gas bottle delivery. Those with gas powered central heating have much larger gas bottles. These are permanently in place, and a gas provider fills them regularly during the winter.
Telephones and the Internet
Telephony is provided, for the most part, by the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority, CYTA (pronounced SEE-ta). The fixed charge is low, and the tariffs are generally reasonable, although many people no longer have landlines.
CYTA also provides broadband Internet access at reasonable cost. We found this mostly reliable, although we switched a few years ago to Cablenet. Unfortunately, Cablenet is not available in all areas. However it offers a good range of packages including high-speed Internet and cable television. Another provider for Internet access and telephony is Primetel. It is worth checking for discounts and offers at each site, as they vary regularly. It’s normal to sign up for a two-year contract; keep a note of the end date and then check for better deals, as the speeds increase regularly.
Mobile phones are now common everywhere in Cyprus. It is possible to have a contract with most of the providers starting as low as about €1 per month for low-use. An alternative is the pay-as-you-go system. You can buy top-up codes online or in some shops, from €5 upwards. Most of these have a limited roaming system that can be used inexpensively elsewhere in Europe and the UK. You can sometimes use them internationally too. Make sure that you check the validity periods before buying a top-up.
Paying Cyprus utility bills
Phone bills are sent out monthly, electricity bills bi-monthly, and water bills quarterly. The phone companies are quite strict about payment being on time. However the others allow a bit of grace, although they will send out red reminder letters if you pay very late.
It’s possible to set up direct debit payments from your bank to cover utility bills. Unlike in the UK, we have not found this to be entirely reliable, and there is a set-up fee for doing so. Some people still pay by cash or even cheque at the local office of the utility providers, although cheques are now expensive to buy and banks charge fees to deposit them. A much more efficient option for people who have online banking is to pay online using their bank’s website. This is what we have done for the past fifteen years or more, and it is a quick, reliable and free service.
In addition, there are sewerage and drainage bills, which come annually. You can pay these sometimes at a local Co-operative bank (for a small fee). However we pay these online too, at the useful jccsmart site. This is where we also now pay our other bills such as car tax and house insurance.