Content of the material
- How to get an electricity account number
- Switch electricity providers save
- How much does it cost to turn on utilities for the first time?
- Understand the set-up process
- When will I pay for utilities?
- Look at your last and first bills
- What are the cons of renting a unit where utilities are not included?
- Final thoughts
- Research for low monthly rates
- 5. Check that utilities have been turned on/off (moving day)
- How to Set up Your Utilities
- Tips for Splitting Electric Bills With Roommates
How to get an electricity account number
Learn how to set up electricity and get proof of service for your leasing office or landlord in minutes.
Total Time: 10 minutes
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- Your Apartment Address
- Your Social Security Number
- Drivers License Number
- ComparePower.com is all you need to get an electricity account number and the keys to your new apartment.
Materials: Computer or mobile device with internet access.
Switch electricity providers save
- Enter your zip code to view competing energy plans and electricity rates in your area.
- Compare the rates of electric companies at 500 or 1000 kWh, depending on your apartment size.
- Enroll at your best rate, online and instantly, and have proof of service ready for your leasing office.
Switching electric providers for your Texas apartment is quick and easy!
If you are already in a contract with an electric supplier make sure to review the terms and pay close attention to the expiration date to ensure there are not any penalties associated with terminating your contract early. Contact your electricity provider if you are uncertain.
Once you enroll in a new electricity plan on ComparePower, your new electricity provider will notify your transmission and distribution utility company of the change.
The switch only takes minutes and you could realize savings in the first month.
No matter whom you buy your power from, the reliability and quality of your service will not change.
The power lines that run down your street and into your home will still be operated by your utility company, and the rates for the delivery portion of your service will still be regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
Only companies that are licensed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas are allowed to sell electricity to consumers.
If you’re switching providers take a look at your electricity bill or log into your online account manager to obtain your electricity usage month by month for the past year.
Plug your usage into our historical usage calculator, which will instantly find the best plan for your custom usage profile.
This short 2-minute video will show you how to find your best plan on ComparePower.
Ready to shop electric plans and find a low rate for your apartment?
How much does it cost to turn on utilities for the first time?
Generally, you should not encounter any extra costs to set up utilities as first time renter. Utilities like electric and gas will begin accruing charges for usage at the date they are set up. However, some internet and cable companies will charge an installation fee either upfront, or included with your first monthly bill. Common installation charges for internet and cable usually run around $90.
The cost of your monthly utility bills will be dependent on how frequently you use them, as well as several other factors including the following:
- The size of your space
- The number of roommates
- Building age and location
- Type of rental unit
- Seasonal changes
The size of your apartment, how many people you live with, how old the building is, and where you live all determine how you’ll allocate your funds for renting house utilities. For instance, you won’t need to crank up the AC if you live somewhere with mild summers. Similarly, some utility bills can fluctuate based on seasonal usage.
Whether renting a house or an apartment, you may also have different utilities to set up before move-in, like coordinating with oil and natural gas providers. Ask the property owner for monthly averages to better estimate what specific utilities when renting a house or apartment costs. If you’re moving out of state, you’ll want to research the cost of living in your new area. You can also utilize user-driven sites like Numbeo that gather cost of living information from residents across the country.
As for cable and internet, do your research to find which providers offer the best packages or promotions in your area based on your individual needs. If you only use the internet for browsing, you probably don’t need to pay for lightning-fast service. Keep in mind, some apartment buildings have contracts with specific providers so your options could be limited in this regard.
Understand the set-up process
When you’re setting up apartment utilities in your name, there are some things you need to have ready before you call. If you’re transferring services with the same utility company, they may just need your new address and move-in date.
But, if you’re opening an entirely new account, they may require your name, phone number, email, new address, Social Security number or tax ID and birthday. Make sure you have all of the important information on hand to make the set-up process as easy as possible.
You may be asking yourself why the utility companies need such personal information to get started. The utility company needs your Social Security or tax ID number and birthday to run a credit check. These companies must do a certain amount of risk management on their customers.
If you don’t have stellar credit, it doesn’t mean the utility company will refuse to turn on your service. But, you might be charged a higher deposit to offset the risk. If you have an outstanding balance with your former company, they may require you to pay that off before turning on service. Each company is different, so be sure to ask.
When will I pay for utilities?
Utility bills will all come separately, with gas and electricity coming in one bill, internet and cable in another, and water in yet another. Track all your utility costs and make on-time payments every month to avoid late fees. Each utility provider has a billing cycle with different due dates. Some providers will bill you each month, every other month, or every several months based on your plan or package.
Look at your last and first bills
Your utility bills can get a bit complicated when you move. Some utility providers will charge a transfer fee, while others may have some added costs tacked on for new service setup or processing.
Keep in mind that you should also be expecting a final bill for any utilities that you shut off. These should be prorated, meaning that charges for usage only apply up until the day that you scheduled your cancellation for. In some cases, you may actually be owed money from your utility provider — for example, if you paid for trash collection through a certain month.
Even if you set up automatic payments, take a look at your first (and final) bills to double-check that everything on the bill is correct. It’s always smart to take a moment to confirm that everything went through as it was supposed to.
What are the cons of renting a unit where utilities are not included?
Despite all the pros of utilities included in your rent, there are some downsides to be aware of. Some of the potential issues to keep in mind include:
- Utility-included apartments are often more expensive
Units with an all-bills-paid arrangement are often more costly when compared to similar units where tenants pay their utilities. A common misconception is that if you live in an apartment with utilities included, electricity, water, and other utilities are technically “free.” The truth of the matter is that landlords/property managers factor the expected cost of utilities into the rent, and if you use a below-average amount of water or electricity, or your don’t need add-ons like cable TV that may come with a unit, you could end up paying for utilities that you aren’t using.
- No way of knowing if you’re paying a fair amount
When your apartment utilities are tacked on your rent, it’s hard to tell if you’re paying a fair amount. Your landlord is in charge of how much you’re paying, and you have no choice but to trust that you’re paying a reasonable price for utilities.
- These types of units are harder to find
Rental units with utilities included can be harder to find. They are most common in older homes that have been divided into smaller apartments, college rentals, and accessory units located adjacent to a primary residence.
- Little to no control over your utilities
If you are naturally chilly all the time or tend to run hot, it may be frustrating to have no control over your utilities. You may find that the heat isn’t set to your preferences or that the water isn’t as hot as you like.
Related article: How do I Get Packages if I Live in an Apartment?
Getting your utilities set up, transferred, or switched can be an effortless process as long as you plan and have the correct information. Just don’t forget to confirm that they’re turned off at your old place and that they’re turned on at your new unit.
Research for low monthly rates
Once you’ve determined what you’re responsible for, start shopping around for the best prices. Retail energy providers can help you find the lowest rate and lock it in. Search online for one in your area.
Gas companies are very competitive, with some even offering cash-back incentives to use their service. Cable and phone companies often bundle services for a discount.
- Installation charges
- Services provided
- Length of introductory rates
What seems like a bargain to begin with can quickly shoot up once the initial rate expires.
5. Check that utilities have been turned on/off (moving day)
There’s always the chance that you made a mistake when canceling, transferring, or setting up your utilities. For that reason, consider verifying that everything went through as planned – especially if you don’t want to deal with a bill for utilities that you thought were shut off.
You also need to confirm that utilities in your new apartment were turned on. Make sure you can flush the toilet, flip on a light, connect to the internet, and turn on the stove. For services like trash pick-up, you have no choice but to wait to verify until collection day, but you should have confirmation that you’re correctly set up before the end of the week. If any of your utilities are turned off when they’re supposed to be on, call the provider as soon as possible. If the issue is due to a mistake on their part, they can usually get a utility set up right away for you.
If you canceled utilities, double-check your account information to ensure that they were shut off on the date that was agreed upon. If that information is not available online, call the company in charge to verify.
How to Set up Your Utilities
Before you even start the process, ask your property manager or landlord about preferred providers. These providers have an established partnership with an apartment community, and often times give out discounted plans and rates in exchange for exclusive servicing rights to the tenants’ homes.
1. Research local service providers If you can choose your own providers, start researching companies that serve your area. Online research can help you find the best rates, plans, and coverage. While one provider may offer a better deal, another provider may have more coverage in your specific area. For instance, one internet and cable company may offer you a great discount, but another internet and cable company has better reach in that area.
2. Determine move-in date Once you’ve found a service provider for each utility not already provided by the property manager or landlord, you’ll need to determine your move-in date so your utilities are activated by the time your lease starts. If any utilities are included in your rent, such as water, then that utility will already been set up and ready to go on move-in day.
3. Schedule an appointment if needed After you’ve determined your dates, you’ll need to speak with the utility companies’ customer service department to turn on your services — you can do this over the phone or online. The rep may ask you to schedule an appointment if the technician has to come out and physically turn it on — and they’ll need your apartment address in the process. For example, a brand new or recently vacant apartment may have had the gas turned off by the landlord to save money. When you move in, you’ll need to schedule a technician to come out and turn the valve on.
Tips for Splitting Electric Bills With Roommates
For those of you with roommates, we have also put together some helpful tips for sharing apartment electricity bills:
1. Identify what you are looking for in an apartment electricity company.
Together, sit and list out any must have items and priorities:
- Specify your length of your stay in the apartment. Did you sign a 6 month, 12 month or longer lease?
- Determine your budget. How much money do you have for apartment utilities. Will you be splitting bills with your roommate?
- Write down any other relevant details prior to beginning your apartment electricity search. Can you get rid of any items that use too much power?
Creating an apartment checklist before you proceed will help you visualize which items are the most important in your plan and in your apartment energy provider. Does it make more sense to opt in to a fixed rate plan or a prepaid electricity plan?
Will you split the bill monthly or will you contribute the same amount of money to the account each time you recharge the balance? This is one of the first decisions you will make together as roommates – be sure to start off on the right foot!
2. Next, choose the best electricity plan for your apartment.
Once you find a light company or find the cheapest energy rate near you , it is time to get same day power! If you opted for a fixed rate plan, decide how to split any money down. If you opted for a prepaid plan, simply contribute the same amount to keep things fair as you get started.
Quick Electricity is one of the best energy companies for apartments. We give you the option to buy electricity online and offer account access and usage data with a simple login.
3. Finally, discuss your apartment electricity usage often.
With our apartment electricity plans you will receive daily updates on the energy you are using. You can see if certain items or utilities need to be scaled back and can gauge if the energy use is within your budget.
By communicating with each other you will be sure there are no surprises and no payment shortages that could cause sudden lapses in electricity, or disagreements between roommates.
In a deregulated electricity environment, the options can seem overwhelming, but Quick Electricity is here to help you save money and provide you the best service possible. It won’t take much research to find the perfect plan and provider for your apartment electricity plan, and options are a good thing! They give you more power as the buyer.