Utilities 101

Often overlooked, utilities are a big factor in your off-campus life. You really can't sneak by without them! It's actually your responsibility as a tenant to maintain the apartment and that means, utilities!
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Electric: You probably won't be able to choose an electric provider, instead, you'll use the one that is already set to for your apartment. However you will need to make sure that the electric account is set up in your name. Contact your landlord for details on how to access this account and set up the billing information. Often, electric companies allow for a grace period of 30 days for tenants to switch billing information. However you should not delay setting this up, as you do not want to be left in the dark!

Heat: Heat is another utility that may be out of your hands. You may have gotten lucky and have a lease that includes heat in the rent. If this is the case, than you don't have much to worry about with this utility. Hopefully, prior to moving in you know what kind of heat your apartment has and what you should be expecting the bill to look like. If not, now is the time to ask! There are a couple main kinds of heat utilities: gas, propane, oil, and electric.

The cost of each of these fuels, will be different depending on the heating method. You can use a heating cost estimator, like the one here to get an idea of your costs. However the best way to estimate your heating costs is to ask the previous tenants! 

Another thing to keep in mind with your heating costs, is that you should be expecting to pay them even when you are not home, especially during the winter months. As a tenant you are expected to maintain your property, including keeping it at an acceptable heat. If you fail to do so, your pipes may freeze and you will be responsible for the damage.

Internet/Cable: Your internet provider is an area that you as a tenant have more control. You may choose a deluxe package or choose to forgo internet/cable all together. When making these decision weigh your needs with the cost. Will you be doing your school work at home, or just use the wifi in the library? Are you a netflix addict, or are you too busy for television?

Utilities are most likely something that you haven't thought much about until this point. For more information on different local providers click here!

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