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Setting Up Utilities in Dubai when Relocated from USA

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Setting Up Utilities in Dubai, Navigating utility set up as an American expat relocating to Dubai can seem daunting initially. Setting up utilities in Dubai when relocated from the USA involves arranging electricity, water, gas, internet, TV, smartphones, and transportation through providers like DEWA, Etisalat, and Du. While the processes differ from the US, they are fairly straightforward once you know what to expect.

As someone who recently made the move from the States, I’ll share firsthand experience getting our utilities and services established. I’ll walk through key steps and requirements to set up your DEWA account, select internet and TV bundles, get local smartphones, and leverage Dubai’s public transit options. With the right documents and some cultural adjustment, you’ll have your new home running smoothly.

The first utility to tackle is getting your DEWA account activated. DEWA is Dubai’s Electricity and Water Authority handling the majority of utilities. Setting up this account is essential for access to electricity, water, district cooling, gas, and more. Here’s what to expect with the process…

Getting Your DEWA Account Ready

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) oversees the majority of utilities. Setting up your DEWA account is crucial for access to electricity, water, gas, and more. The process is relatively straightforward:

  • Ensure you have copies of your passport, visa, Emirates ID (if available) and tenancy contract.
  • Visit any of DEWA’s service centers with the documents. Allow 1-2 hours.
  • Pay the one-time deposit, connection fee, and first month’s bill. Cash or credit card accepted.
  • DEWA will activate your account within 48 hours.

Pro tip: Apply for housing before your move so DEWA can conduct inspections and avoid service delays.

Read: Getting a Residence Visa in Dubai 

Understanding Utilities Costs

Coming from the USA, utility costs can be a shock. Electricity and water rates are higher than in most states. Some costs to budget for:

  • Electricity: $0.09-0.33 per kWh (varies based on usage)
  • Water: $0.05 per IG (Imperial Gallon)
  • Housing fee: 5% of annual rent
  • Gas deposit: $550+

Smaller living spaces and energy-efficient appliances will keep costs down. DEWA also offers ways to reduce bills so explore your options.

Arranging Internet and TV

With world-class digital infrastructure, Dubai offers blazing-fast internet. Etisalat and Du are the main telecom providers. Both offer:

  • Home internet packages from $27+ per month
  • IPTV services like OSN and beIN Sports
  • Bundles to customize TV, landline, and internet
  • No-contract options so you can change plans easily

I’d recommend visiting the stores of both providers to compare offers. For a smooth setup, take:

  • Copy of DEWA account
  • Passport and visa
  • Emirates ID (if available)

Getting Your Smartphones Working

To avoid roaming charges, you’ll want local SIM cards in your unlocked phones. You can purchase prepaid or monthly contract options from Etisalat or Du.

Packages range from $14-55 per month based on data amounts. Both carriers have stores across Dubai to purchase SIMs and select plans. Bring:

  • Passport copy
  • Initial top-up amount if getting prepaid

Pro tip: Notify your USA carrier about your move to avoid international plan charges. Suspend service or switch to low-cost options.

Getting Comfortable with Public Transportation

Owning a car in Dubai isn’t essential thanks to extensive public transit. Before committing to a vehicle:

  • Download RTA apps for metro, tram, bus, and taxi bookings
  • Get NOL cards for discounted travel rates
  • Learn the routes servicing your area
  • Budget $55+ per month for regular use

Dubai has an excellent metro system with stations connecting most districts. Buses and trams fill smaller routes. Taxis offer comfort and AC relief at affordable rates.

Find Out: Top Places to Live for Americans in Dubai

Adjusting to a New Way of Life

The utility and lifestyle differences take some acclimatizing as an American expat. But Dubai offers convenience and quality-of-life perks if you embrace the local way. Key mindset shifts that help:

  • Accept higher utility costs are the trade-off for Dubai’s modern infrastructure
  • Car usage is optional given reliable public transportation
  • Bulk grocery trips are less common with corner shops and delivery options
  • Expect and prepare for seasonal spikes in electricity bills from summer AC usage

With an open mindset to adapt as needed, you can settle into your new Dubai life smoothly. Let me know in the comments if you have other questions!


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