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US Utilities

As soon as you have found a place to live, no matter if you have decided to rent or buy, you need to set up your US utilities (if you want heat, running water and electricity, that is). This can be a little bit more confusing than you would expect. But never fear, we’ll walk you through the process.
Don't forget your utility bills when calculating your budget.


In the past, each region in the US had one electric company which was responsible for providing all households with electricity. Today, due to deregulation, you can compare costs and services and choose the US utilities provider which suits you best. If you are unsure, your friends, neighbors, landlord or real estate agent can probably recommend a company that offers good value for money. Of course, you can also contact the different providers directly and ask about available rates.

If that is the case, you should also ask about their billing options. They might offer budget billing, which gives you a monthly bill that you have to pay on the spot. If you choose auto billing instead, your US utilities provider will deduct the amount you are supposed to pay from your account or bill it to your credit card. If your new home had electric service in the past, turning it back on under your name should not be a big deal. In many cases, it can be done with just a phone call. Make sure to make that phone call way ahead of time. Some US utilities companies need a few working days to set up your connection. On top of that, you might have to wait even longer during the peak moving times in summer. Ask your US utilities provider to confirm the date when they will connect your new place to their system and tell them exactly when you will move in.

The Biggest Electricity Providers in the US

The 10 biggest electricity companies in the United States are the following:

  • Duke Energy Corporations
  • PG&E Corporation
  • Exelon Corporation
  • Edison International
  • NextEra Energy, Inc.
  • Southern Company
  • American Electric Power
  • FirstEnergy Corp.
  • Xcel Energy Inc.
  • National Grid plc

Please remember that the list above is not extensive and that a smaller, local US utilities company might be able to offer you a better deal. Before you sign up with any US utilities provider, try to find out if your heat is powered by electricity as well and if you will need it much throughout the year. If heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (often referred to as HVAC) are powered by electricity as well, your bill might be a lot higher than expected.

Water and Household Waste

Who you have to turn to for running water depends largely on where you live. If your new home is in a rural area, you may receive your water from a well. If this is not the case, then you have to contact the responsible US utilities company and ask for a connection to their system. The process should not be much different from that of setting up your electricity connection. In most cases, water and sewage services are provided by your city or county. You might be asked to pay a deposit which you will get back after one year of positive payment history.

Household waste disposal should be provided by your county or city as well. Contact them as soon as possible to find out if and when the garbage truck will stop by your house and if you are required to recycle. In addition, you may have to dispose of some items at special facilities (if these items are considered hazardous, for instance) or recycling centers.


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