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Setting up utilities in your new place

How to get electricity, water, television, and phone service

Your utilities are services including electricity, water, gas, telephone, internet, and television. Sometimes utilities are includes in the cost of your rent, but in most cases they aren't. If your lease doesn't mention utilities, they are your responsibility to setup and pay for each month.

Electric, Water, and Gas

Most places don't use gas, so check with your landlord. With these services, be prepared to pay connection fees or a deposit. The fees will vary depending on your credit history. To find a utility company in your area, check the local yellow pages or ask your landlord; most have a list of local utility companies they can give you.

Television Service

You need to first decide whether you want satellite or cable television. Some apartment complexes won't allow you to install satellite dishes, so check your lease before making a decision. As with water and electricity, you may be required to provide a deposit when signing up for service.


Your options are dialup, DSL, and cable. Both dialup and DSL both require a phone line, so your new place must either have a phone jack or you need to be allowed to have one installed. This will probably cost money. Cable on the other hand costs more than dialup and DSL, but usually has much faster speeds and comes pre-installed in your building.


Wireless, landline, or VOIP. The telephone service you choose has a lot to do with your lifestyle. If you want to keep it simple, a cell phone is all you need -- just watch your talktime minutes. If you want unlimited minutes and/or a number people can call to reach everyone in your household, you need a landline or VOIP.

Landline is a phone jack connected to a phone through a standard phone line. VOIP uses more advanced technology, with calls being transferred through cable. VOIP has better sound quality and is usually much less expensive than a landline, with unlimited service costing about $20/m.

Call and setup all utilities two weeks before you move into your new place. Tll them what your future address will be and the date you want the service to be turned on (move in date). You don't want to move in and not have electricity for a week.