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Hooking-Up Your Utilities

Utilities

 

Hook-up Your Utilities

  • Generally speaking, it is the tenants' responsibility to set-up the utilities. It is beneficial to contact the utility companies at least 2 weeks in advance.
  • When doing your budget, you not only have to consider your rent each month, but also utility costs on top of that. Generally speaking, the cost of utilities may be the greatest when living alone. If you are sharing an apartment/house, you are also able to share the cost of utility bills.
  • When living in an apartment, many landlords will pay the water, but you are usually responsible for all other utilities; gas, electric, telephone, cable, internet, cell phone, etc. When living in a house, landlords will typically ask you to pay for all utilities, including the water.  Some additional information that could be beneficial is below:
    • If the landlord pays for any utility, they cannot bill the tenant for any taxes, franchise fees, etc associated with that utility.
    • If the apartment has multiple units, the landlord cannot estimate the usage of utilities, there must be some way to prove the usage of each unit.  If the landlord is estimating charges for utilities, they are in violation of the Railroad Commission rules.
    • Many landlords do include a basic fee for water, but the fees should and can be negotiated as to the usage amount billed each month.  Additionally, the landlord cannot change the fee without 30 days prior notice.
      • Example:  If the tenant is in a rear apartment or garage apartment and there is only one meter.  There would be no way to prove how much water the tenant used as opposed to the main house, so the landlord could only give a flat fee and not increase as to the usage unless it was stated in the lease.
  • Utility costs greatly vary. If you are living in an apartment complex versus an older home, the quality of insulation can be quite different. Houses tend to be a larger area of space to heat/cool.
  • It is often beneficial to ask tenants that currently live in the apartment complex/house how much they pay for their utility bills on average. Gas, electric and water can vary based on usage. You can call the cable, internet and phone companies to get price quotes for the various packages they offer.

Factors to Consider

  • Age of the property: Unless the property has been renovated on the inside, many times the older apartments/homes may not have a lot of insulation. Windows may be old and allow for cold air to enter quite easily. Storm windows may not exist. Older units may not have central air. Window air conditioning units can be purchased, but tend to increase the electric bill drastically.
  • Size of the property: The larger the unit, the more expensive it is to heat and cool. If you are renting a large house, the gas bill will probably be quite high in the winter months. Having roommates helps to share the utility costs.
  • Location of the unit: Where you live in an apartment complex can affect the cost of your utility bills. Living in a corner unit versus a unit in between two apartments can be very different in terms of cost of heat, for example. If you live in an apartment that has neighboring apartments on both sides, for instance, your apartment would be well insulated from the cold weather and wind, therefore minimizing your heating bill. If you live in an upper unit, your apartment will reap the benefits of the heat from the bottom unit; heat rises.

Utilities Contact List

  • Gas Company
             
    • Atmos Energy (throughout the Amarillo/Canyon/Panhandle area)
      • 1-888-286-6700
        Prior to calling, make sure you have your social security number handy. Depending on your credit history, you may be required to pay a security deposit between $50.00 - $150.00. If you are an international student and do not have a social security number, they will ask for either your visa and/or passport number. It is suggested to call at least 5 days prior to moving in. You will need to be at the property when they activate your account. The technician will check for any leaks and ignite any pilot lights that need to be turn on.
  • Electric Company

    • Xcel Energy (throughout the Amarillo/Canyon area)
      • 1-800-895-4999
        Prior to calling, make sure you have your social security number, driver's license, email, and address of new apartment handy. Depending on your credit history, you may be required to pay a security deposit between $20.00 - $150.00. If you are an international student and do not have a social security number, they may ask for either your visa and/or passport number. It is suggested to call at least 2 days prior to moving in. 
  • Water/Trash Company
    • City of Canyon (within Canyon city limits)
      • (806) 655-5003
        To sign up for water and trash service within the Canyon city limits, you must go to the City of Canyon office at 301 16th St. The office is open Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 4:00pm. You will need to bring your driver license or if an international student, your passport. A security deposit of $50.00, as well as a $10.00 nonrefundable connection fee will be required at the time of activition. It is suggested to sign-up at least 5 days prior to moving in. You do not need to be at the property when they activate your account.
    • City of Amarillo (within Amarillo city limits)
      • (806) 378-3030
        To sign up for water and trash service within the Amarillo city limits, you must go to the Utility Billing Office at 509 S.E. 7th Ave, Room 102. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm. You will need to bring your driver license or if an international student, your passport. In addition to bringing your ID, it would be a good idea to bring your lease agreement as well.  A minimum-security deposit of $35.00 will be required at the time of activition. It is suggested to sign-up at least 5 days prior to moving in. You do not need to be at the property when they activate your account
  • Cable/Internet/Landline
    • Suddenlink
      • 1-877-694-9474
    • Dish Network
      • 1-888-581-9813
    • Direct TV
      • 1-866-615-2931
    • AT&T
      • 1-800-288-2020

Sign a Roommate Contract

  • It is extremely important that you and your roommates are clear on your expectations. It is beneficial to all tenants involved to discuss all items on the Roommate Contract (PDF Document). Signing the contract allows for further documentation of verbal agreements. Keep in mind that the contract will not protect you or your roommate(s) from any claims that the landlord may have, its main purpose is to provide a chance for you to proactively discuss issues that could potentially become areas of conflict.
Know Your Rights
  • You should be knowledgeable on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
  • You should be knowledgeable on the property owner's rights and responsibilities as a landlord.
  • If you are ever having issues with your landlord and you do not know whom to turn to, you have a variety of options. Contact Commuter Programs at (806) 651-2313; or legal counsel.
Meal Plans
  • Living off-campus doesn't mean you can't eat in the dining halls. Campus Dining Services offers several meal plan options including the "Commuter Plan" for students who do not live in the residence halls.
  • Click Here for more information regarding campus meal plans.
Grocery Stores
  • There are a variety of grocery stores near the campus area. Purchasing food at the grocery store versus eating at restaurants everyday can help you budget your expenses. Below you will find a list of a few grocery stores near the campus area.
    • United Supermarket
      • 201 23rd St. Canyon, TX 79015
      • (806) 655-2300
    • Wal-Mart
      • 1701 N 23rd St. Canyon, TX 79015
      • (806) 655-1175
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