Understanding utility services in the US: A Canadian's guide

utility poles on a field with big white clouds

Are you planning a move from Canada to the United States? If so, understanding utility services in the US will be a crucial part of your relocation process. This guide aims to simplify that journey for you, providing essential insights into setting up your new home. Whether you’re moving for work, education, or personal reasons, being well-informed about utilities like electricity, water, gas, and internet will make your transition smoother. By collaborating with experienced movers in Toronto, you can ensure that your belongings are transported safely and efficiently, leaving you more time to focus on settling into your new life.

Key utility services in the US

In the United States, essential utilities include electricity, water, gas, and internet. Here’s a brief overview of each:

  • Electricity: Powers your home’s lighting, appliances, and electronic devices.
  • Water: Vital for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and other daily activities.
  • Gas: Used mainly for heating and sometimes for cooking and powering certain appliances.
  • Internet: A critical service for connectivity, work, and entertainment.

Various local or regional companies typically manage these services. In the US, thanks to a competitive market, you are often free to choose your providers, especially for internet and gas. This competition can lead to more favorable service options and pricing for consumers. Utility companies provide regular billing with options for online payments and offer customer service support.

A black electricity post while the sun is setting
Understanding utility services in the US can greatly simplify your transition, allowing you to settle seamlessly into your new home.

The process of setting up utilities

When you relocate to a new home in the US, setting up utilities is crucial to make your living space comfortable. Here’s how to get started:

  • Electricity, water, gas: Contact local utility companies to activate these services. Provide your new address and the date you’ll move in.
  • Internet and TV: Choose your service providers and schedule installation appointments. Some setups may require a technician’s visit.
  • Trash and recycling: Check with your local municipality or waste management company for collection schedules and requirements.

Remember, for a smooth installation, ensure that utility access points in your home are easily accessible. This includes electrical panels, gas meters, and water shut-off valves. Organizing your utility room can also aid technicians in their work. Finally, link your utility accounts to your preferred payment method for efficient bill management.

Managing utility costs

Managing utility costs is an essential aspect of everyday life in the United States, and these costs can vary widely depending on the state and the individual needs of each household. For instance, while the national average expenses for utilities like cell phone services stand at about $157, electricity at $137, cable and internet at $118, gas at $63, and water at $45 per month, these figures can fluctuate significantly based on location and usage.

For example, when considering a move from Toronto to Miami, it’s important to note the differences in utility costs between these two cities. Miami, known for its warm climate, tends to have higher air conditioning usage, which can increase electricity bills. In Miami, the average monthly cost for electricity can range from $120 to $150, depending on the size of the home and usage patterns. Water and sewer services in Miami could cost around $50 to $70 per month, slightly higher than the national average due to the region’s specific infrastructure and environmental considerations.

Money, a notepad, pen and a calculator
Before moving, consider the cost of utilities and make sure it fits your budget.

Navigating challenges

Navigating challenges requires effective communication and persistence. US utility companies offer various channels for reporting issues, including phone, email, or online platforms, emphasizing strong customer service. When encountering problems, it’s essential to articulate the issue and provide relevant account information. Keeping detailed records of your interactions, including account details and previous correspondence, can facilitate a quicker resolution. If an issue isn’t resolved initially, follow-up communication is crucial.

US regulatory bodies and consumer protection agencies can assist in case of unresolved issues. These organizations help navigate complaints, ensuring your rights as a consumer are respected. Understanding these avenues for support is vital in providing a smooth transition and managing utility services effectively in your new American home.

Tips for energy efficiency

Reducing utility bills after moving from Toronto to Orlando home can be achieved through several energy-efficient practices. Here are some practical tips:

  • Energy-saving appliances: Invest in ENERGY STAR® rated appliances. These are designed to use less electricity and water, which can significantly reduce your bills.
  • Smart thermostats: Install a smart thermostat to control heating and cooling more efficiently. These devices allow you to set schedules and automatically adjust temperatures based on your needs and presence in the home.
  • LED lighting: Replace traditional light bulbs with LED bulbs. They use up to 75% less energy and last 25 times longer.
  • Water-saving fixtures: Install low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. These reduce water usage without compromising performance.
  • Proper insulation: Ensure your home is well-insulated. This keeps heat in during winter and out during summer, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling.
  • Unplug electronics: Unplug electronics when not in use. Many devices draw power even when turned off, known as “phantom loads.”
  • Regular maintenance: Keep heating, cooling, and water systems well-maintained. Regular checks and filter changes can improve efficiency.

Utility service setup checklists

These checklists will guide you through setting up each essential utility service in your new US home.

Electricity and gas:

  • Research local utility providers.
  • Compare rates and services.
  • Contact the chosen provider to open an account.
  • Schedule a connection date before your move-in.
  • Provide necessary documentation (e.g., ID, proof of address).
  • Set up a billing account and choose your preferred payment method.


  • Identify the local water service provider.
  • Contact them to start service in your name.
  • Provide your address and move-in date.
  • Complete any required forms or agreements.
  • Set up your billing and payment preferences.

Internet and TV:

  • Explore different internet and TV providers in your area.
  • Compare packages and speeds.
  • Schedule an installation appointment.
  • Ensure your home is ready for installation (e.g., accessible outlets).
  • Review and set up service agreements and billing.

Trash and Recycling:

  • Contact your local municipality or waste management company.
  • Inquire about trash and recycling collection schedules.
  • Understand the guidelines for sorting and disposing of waste.
  • If necessary, request bins or bags from the service provider.
  • Note down collection days and any special instructions.
a person using a laptop to research all there is to know about understanding utility services in the US
Refer to our checklist to make sure you don’t overlook any important steps.

Understanding utility services in the US simplified

Now that we’ve helped you with understanding utility services in the US, you’re well-prepared to enjoy your new home. This guide has provided a clear pathway for navigating the complexities of cross border moving from Canada to the US, ensuring you can establish essential services like electricity, water, gas, and internet. With insights into the subtleties of US customer service included, you’re set for a smoother transition. Embrace this exciting new chapter in your life in the United States, confident in your ability to manage these crucial elements of your relocation.