What Is a Utility Bill? Examples, Average Cost, Affordability

Utility bills aren’t the most glamorous expenses, but they can be significant, adding up to hundreds of dollars per month. Read on for utility bill examples, average cost, how you can save money and what to do if you can’t pay.

What is a utility bill?

A utility bill is a monthly statement of the amount a household owes for any one (or more) of the basic services that generally keep a home operable and comfortable. Examples of utilities include electricity, water and gas. Depending on how you define utilities, you could also add sewage, trash and recycling, or even TV, internet, phone and streaming services to that list.

What information is on a utility bill?

A utility bill lists the customer’s name, address and account number. It also states the amount owed and the due date, as well as guidance on how to pay.

Utility bills typically give information about your usage of the service, too. A water bill, for example, would list the amount of water you used during the billing period and may show how that amount has changed over the last several months.

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Electric bill

In 2022, the average electric bill among U.S. residences was $137 per month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration

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To save money on your electric bill, try to be more efficient with your appliances and devices. Investing in a programmable or "smart" thermostat that will adjust temperatures for when you're home or away can save money on your electric bill. Setting your thermostat up or down 7 to 10 degrees (depending on the season) for 8 hours a day can save you up to 10% over the course of the year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Check with your electric company to see if you qualify for budget billing. Typically, after living in your apartment or home for one year (sometimes a bit longer), you can qualify if you have good credit. The electric company takes your average usage from the previous year and bills you the same each month, saving you from surprise fluctuations that can bust your monthly budget.

You might also wait until you have a full load before running your washing machine. Or try a smart power strip, which turns off electricity to the products you aren’t using.

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