Djibouti Travel Blog

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I moved into an apartment near the airport behind a grocery store named Agemel's, not sure the spelling is correct.  It is a new place.  What an experience to get utilities hooked up.  Remembering that this is not the United States and so nothing happens very quickly or efficiently is important when arranging for utilities.  The most important lesson learned that I could pass along to anyone coming here and will be on their own to set up an apartment is to get a French speaking interpreter; even if you have to pay for one which should not be more than $35USD (5,000 DF) per day on the high side.  This person can take you around and speak to all the clerks, which will have to happen several times; back and forth, go here go there.

Currently electric charges are high.  I had to put down 40,000DF deposit which is around $225 USD.  The rate per kwh is around $.22, according to what I have read.  I haven't gotten my first bill as yet so I will be able to confirm later this week.  I understand that Djibouti will be connected to the Ethiopian power grid within this year so that the prices are expected to fall by 60%.  This will of course energize (pun) the economy, and expect many good things to happen after that.

Water required a 15,000DF deposit, plus 3,000DF monthly meter charge.  The meter charge was not mentioned at the time I set up service, and was only told to me after they cut my water for failure to pay a charge they had not told me about; welcome to Djibouti.

Bills come every 2 months.  My advice, if you are on any budget is to watch the electric meter yourself.  Do not trust that the meter reader is not high on Khat when he comes to read your meter.  An important note is that you must provide a letter to the various utilities companies telling them where you want your bill taken.  There is no mail service as is found in the USA, they hand carry your bill to where ever.  If you don't tell them they may leave the bill with the gate guard who may forget to give it to you.  Your utility is cut for non-payment within a couple of days, then you have to pay a reconnect fee of 7,000 DF.

The stoves typically run on gas provided by a portable cylinder.  Think of a gas grill.  These cylinders are twice the size of the outdoor grill ones, and cost 6,000DF to fill.
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