Utilities and public services
An introduction to waste recycling, fire safety, water, fireplace, internet and TV.
Waste removal and recycling
In Oslo there is a stricht system for recyleling, and you should sort and separate your waste according to the guidelines.
This is what you can throw it the houshold waste:
- clean plastic packaging (use purple bag),
- food waste (use green bag)
- residual waste (use a normal plastic bag)
- paper and cardboard - use separate outdoor bin (papp og papiravfall)
Other waste (glass, metal, textiles, electrical and electronic equipment waste...) has to be delivered to designeted collection points. It is not allowed to leave oversized items by the outdoor bins or on the streets.
You can pick up purple and green plastic bags for free in any convenience store.
Recycling stations (gjenvinningsstasjoner)
For larger items and hazardous waste, there are recycling stations (gjenvinningsstasjoner) in Oslo. Be aware that you can only use clear plastic bags, not black, when bringing your waste to the recycling stations as they need to see the content.
To deliver items to a recycling station, you need a designated QR code (GjenbruksID). You can download the app called Oslonøkkelen.
Fire safety and chimney sweeps
There is a lot you can do to reduce the fire hazards in your home. The most important thing is to have a smoke detector and fire extinguisher.
The Fire Department does regular fire safety checks (boligtilsyn).
Municipal fees for chimney sweep and safety checks
If it is not included in your monthly rent, you will receive a digital invoice.
You can drink water from the tap in Norway.
In case of irregularities in the water supply, you will receive an SMS with an alert. To receive this – and other alerts from the City of Oslo/municipality – keep your mobile number updated in Altinn.
Electricity is the main heating source in Norwegian homes. It is not very common to have gas for heating or cooking in private homes.
When you move into a new home, you will usually find that electricity have not been disconnected. You only have to transfer the account to your name.
Electricity in Norway is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. The plugs are standard European, with two round plugs.
Price and billing
The price for electricity fluctuates during the year, with higher prices and consumption in the winter. In Norway, most households now have smart electricity meters (SMA) that send readings automatically to your electricity provider.
Utility bills are sent monthly. You pay for both the infrastructure and for your usage, but both charges are invoiced together.
The infrastructure is owned by Elvia (previously called Hafslund) in Oslo. For usage, you can choose between many providers. If you don’t make an active choice, you will be charged for your usage by Elvia, which will not necessarily be the cheapest deal available.
The Norwegian Consumer Council has a free service, strømpris.no, comparing prices between electricity providers and their various offers. You will often find a better price through this service than you will find if you go to each provider’s webpage.
Internet providers are not obligated to deliver services to every household. This is because they maintain their own cable infrastructure.
There are many options to choose from, and quite a few online commercial services comparing prizes and offers. Many internet providers also sell mobile phone services and TV packages, so comparing offers is not always easy.
- Internet: internett, bredbånd (broadband)
- Provider: tilbyder, leverandør (for example: internettleverandør, bredbåndstilbyder)
TV and radio
NRK is the national, publicly funded media provider. They run commercially free TV channels (NRK 1, 2, 3, and NRKSuper for children), several radio channels and a news website (NRK.no).
In the NRK TV and radio apps, you can access all the content for free, but they do not subtext in English.
Other Norwegian channels are funded either by commercials or subscriptions.
TV providers will bundle the channels together with some basic channels and a selection of your choice in addition. You will need a decoder or a dongle (small device) to stream content to your TV screen.
- TV-pakke (TV bundle/selection)
- TV-abonnement (TV subscription)
- TV-dekoder (TV decoder)
- TV-leverandører/-tilbyder (TV providers)
National radio broadcasts in Norway has been fully digitized. This means you can stream the content online or get a DAB-radio.
Landlines, or fixed lines (hustelefon, hjemmetelefon), is not very common in private households as the mobile coverage is good in most areas. It can take up to three months to get a landline installed.