Paycheck Chronicles

Comparison Shopping For Utilities

Moving around all the time means constantly learning about the different utility companies that are available in your (new) home.  Some utilities almost always have options, like internet and cable television service.  However, you might be surprised to discover that in many locations, you can choose the person who provides your electric service, or your trash service.  Competition is a great thing, first, because choice is always good and second, because choice often means competitive rates and promotional deals.

But it is tricky when you’re moving somewhere new and you don’t know what options exist.  The internet has a ton of resources to learn what is available:  you can either do an internet search on “{type of utility company} and {name of city},” or use a website like AllConnect.  Sometimes, the best resource is the least formal:  a local area Facebook group might be able to answer all your questions and provide insight that you can’t find from the official sources.

Once you know what companies offer service to your new house, then it is time to compare the promo offers that are out there.  It’s tough!  If you’ve got a bunch of utilities, say electric and natural gas and telephone/internet/television and water and sewer and trash, and you have to compare each option, it can be overwhelming.  Start with the bill that is likely to be the largest.  For many people, that is telephone/internet/television bundles, or it might be electricity.

Once you’ve figured out the best deal for your biggest bill, then work your way down the list.  Some utilities may not have options; in most locations you don’t have a choice for water and sewage service.

Remind yourself to check back with your utility providers every six months or so.  I’ve had great success in negotiating down my bills, especially for the services where there is a lot of competition.  If a couple of phone calls can save you $50 or $100 every single month, that’s definitely a good use of your time.

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