Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
Utility bills might not be exciting, but they can cost you a lot of money every month. There are several different utilities that you might use, including electricity, water, gas, and broadband.
The bills for these are labelled as utility bills as they are essential to household living.
We’ll cover what utility bills are in more detail below, as well as what to do if you can’t pay your bills on time.
What Are Utility Bills?
Utility bills provide a monthly statement of how much money a household owes for using important services, such as electricity, gas, and water.
Everyone has a different definition of what utilities are, but some others may include trash, recycling, and sewage. You may think of internet, cable, phone, and streaming services as utilities too.
A utility bill will include the client’s name, address, and account number. It will also have the amount owed and due date written on it, along with payment guidelines.
Utility bills tend to give information that shows how you’ve used your service, though this varies with each provider.
For instance, water bills may state how much water you’ve used during this month, then give a breakdown of how your intake has changed over the past few months.
You can also use utility bills as proof of residence for license and passport issues. If you don’t have one of these at hand, contact the relative institution to find out what other documentation you can use as proof, like tax or financial statements.
How Much Do Utilities Cost?
The cost of utilities depends on where you live, the climate, how much you use, and how big your home is. The age of your home also matters, along with its water and energy efficiency.
Utility costs are determined by your location’s climate, but the amount you have to pay is affected by how much you use. The amount is connected to your gas and electricity usage, which may go up or down depending on your household size.
It’s also affected by the heating and cooling system and energy source that you use. For example, heating your home with natural gas is normally cheaper than electricity, particularly in colder areas.
The most significant utility for American households is normally the biggest utility bill, the electricity bill. In 2017 in the United States, the average monthly household electric bill was $111.67.
The amount changes with each state. Utah had the lower cost at $81.65, while Hawaii was larger, at $149.33.
Gas utilization changes with different climates, the cost of natural gas, and how many processes you need it for. For instance, those that just need gas for cooking won’t use gas as much, so will have a lower bill.
Some houses don’t use gas, but use other energy sources for heating purposes. These may be wood or fuel oil, which will have their individual bills.
The cost for using electric heat pumps or HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system) will be stated on your electricity bill.
Water And Waste
The U.S Geological Survey states that each person in the United States uses an average of 80-100 gallons of water each day.
The cost of water changes depending on the state you live in. For example, the Department of Energy estimates that the price is as little as $1 per 1000 gallons in Rochester, Minnesota, but increases to $7.50 in Lubbock, Texas.
Sewage prices also change with each location. The cost is around $1.50 in Oakland, California, but as much as $17.50 in Seattle, Washington.
Water bills are affected by usage, but the number also depends on the local price of water and waste, the going rate, and how big or small your water meter is. Water usage is also affected by your area’s climate, weather tendencies, and whether you live in the country or a city.
People that live in cities tend to use less water. If your state is regulated, your utility company may add your water and sewage to your electricity bill.
Trash And Recycling
Waste removal counts as another utility bill. This bill will normally state the price of garbage, recycling, and organic waste disposal.
Some cities may have separate bins for each type of waste. Recycling collection can sometimes be managed by a different institution and billed separately from your utility bill.
In most cases, recycling is picked up at a less expensive price. This can save you money in the long run, particularly if you can reduce the amount of garbage your household produces.
Your city or county will have an established monthly garbage collection cost. Some areas may have a free bulk or appliance collection service each year. If they don’t, you may have to pay for these services when required.
Utility companies in regulated locations may put the price of waste removal and similar services on another utility bill, such as your water bill.
Other places may include trash pick up and recycling collection along with town or city fees. These change with each location, but they tend to range between $20 and $50 each month.
Internet, Cable And Telephone
Most households need internet, phone, and cable services. Several providers offer these services to purchase, though the cost varies depending on what ones you’ll be using.
Both mobile and home phone usage will be billed. Some phone service companies also offer cell, internet, and cable facilities.
Often, if you use the same company for a few or all of these amenities, you may be billed for a lower price.
You’ll need to purchase your own router, though some internet providers offer routers for rent. If you do rent a router, make sure that you don’t end up paying more than you would have done purchasing one for yourself.
People still use cable television, but over time, streaming services have become popular. Different ones will have different prices, but these tend to cost between $10-$20 each month.
Managing Utility Bills
Utility bills can get expensive, so it’s always a good idea to know how much you’re spending each month. Try tracking your bills and related expenses in a spreadsheet or app.
You can also try the 50/30/20 approach. This relates to your monthly income, dividing it into different amounts.
- 50% goes toward important needs. These include groceries, utility bills, rent, and mortgage payments.
- 30% is spent on personal items, like eating out and holidays.
- 20% is stored as future savings, such as emergency funds, retirement savings, and debt payments.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Bills?
If you don’t pay your bills, the company will cease providing the service. You may also have to pay a late fee, and in some cases, it may damage your credit score.
If you can’t pay your bills, try contacting your provider’s customer service line. You can find this number online or find it stated on your bill.
If you tell them what your situation is, the company may defer the bill or lower the fee.
You can also try applying for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This service aids qualifying households that find it difficult to pay energy bills. Learn more about LIHEAP here.