If you are an adult who rents or owns a place to live, you are definitely aware of the necessity to pay utility bills. In the United States, as well as in many other countries, any utility bill template you get contains plenty of information: numbers and words describing what services you are paying for.
You receive them each month, and sometimes such forms may seem complicated and overloaded. In this review, we will take a closer look at a standard utility bill form that the US residents get, and we will go through its content step by step.
Averagely, US residents pay significant sums to cover utility bills. For instance, a median of 110 US dollars is paid for electricity, 70 dollars for water, about the same amount for natural gas, around 140 dollars for internet and TV, and 14 dollars for trash and recycling services. The monthly sum each payer sees in their bills depends on various factors, including the premises’ size, providers’ prices, and consumption level.
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If you get these bills every month and understand nothing except the sum to pay, we will now explain what else you can find among the document’s contents. We will take a sample of the bill template used by one of the largest American utility providers.
Sometimes one provider is responsible for several utilities, and sometimes you get a number of bills sent by multiple companies. It usually does not depend on you because all districts have their own providers for various services (for antimonopoly issues). So, you typically have one of these options by default. Now, let’s see what you can read in the template.
On the first page, you will see your name and address, your account number that a company uses to identify you among other customers and bills’ recipients, the due date, and the amount to pay. If you have debts, there is a separate line where you can see how much you must add to your current due amount.
Besides these items, you will get the contact phone number or website you can use to ask questions regarding your bills (if there are any), along with the schedule telling you when your inquiries can be accepted and dealt with. Some companies also provide clients with important news and monthly billing history on this page.
Finally, the bottom part of the first page is a piece of paper you must cut, fill out, and send back to your company with the money. As you can see, the company’s address is written here, and the only thing you have to fill out is the sum you plan to pay this month. Your account number, due date, and required amount are already inserted here.
Rules, rates, and customer service contacts
The second page of the given template provides you with the rules and rates applied by the company to count their clients’ expenses and issue bills. At the top of the page, there are various phone numbers that customers can use to get assistance (for English speakers, non-English speakers, and corporate clients).
Then, you get the details about your electric charges breakdown (each position is listed, and the sums are stated nearby).
At the bottom (left-hand side), there is a blank field that you can fill out if your mailing address is changing. If this is your case, write your new address (with the city, state, and postal code), add your primary phone number and email address so you can be reached out. On the right-hand side, you may learn about the possible payment methods to cover this bill.
The blank box above these fields should be left blank because it is for the company’s use.
Electric usage and expenses
Then, on page 3, there is a chart telling you more about your electricity usage throughout the current month and previous months as well. Your service agreement ID, rate schedule, and address are written above (this data will be duplicated further). The service information is placed on the right-hand side (meter number and other technical features).
Silicon Valley Clean Energy costs
Silicon Valley Clean Energy, or SVCE, is an entity responsible for the no-carbon energy supply. In some parts of the US, customers are provided with such a service and should pay for it. On this page, you will get the numbers and period on the left-hand side and the service information on the right.
SVCE has nothing to do with the company that has issued this bill to you. If you have any concerns about this expenditure item, you must contact SVCE, not the bill sender. In the service information section, you will find the email address and phone number to use.
The following page consists of the info related to your gas charges. Average gas use is added here, along with the service information.
If the company’s important messages and news do not fit on the first page, the last page is used to add more information. Here, you can read the info about planned repairs and maintenance actions, discounts and bonus programs, emergency phone numbers, and guidelines on what you should do and who to call in specific situations (including emergencies).
We hope that now you will not get confused when you see the utility bill template. The entities responsible for utility services and bills always try to be as transparent as possible with their clients, so you can understand why you should pay every cent. The only thing you have to do now is cover your bills on time to avoid fines and other problems.
Apart from the sums to pay, each bill you receive contains all current payment methods among which you can choose. For one, the template we are considering in this article offers the following ways to deal with the payment:
Typically, all such companies suggest as many methods as they can to make the payment procedure more convenient for clients and motivate them to pay right away and avoid postponement.
Besides the money itself, you should provide the company with a part of your bill: there, you should specify how much money you are transferring. In the previous part, we have shown how these parts may look like in your bill.
You can pay the exact sum stated in the bill; however, many people prefer to pay in reserve, so they can skip paying for the next months. It becomes especially convenient if a payer plans to leave the apartment for which he covers bills and then comes back after a couple of months.
Well, this is quite obvious: the utility company will stop rendering services to you and your premises. Water, heating, electricity, and any other thing that you have not paid for will be turned off (not immediately but eventually). If it happens and you need to get the services back, turning them on again may cost you a fortune.
And before everything is turned off, there is a period when you get various fees and interest besides the sums you already have to pay. Anyway, ignoring your bills will lead you to spend more money than you could have paid.
If you feel that your utility bills become unbearable, there are a couple of ways that will not only help you save some money but also make you a bit eco-friendlier than you are now. Among such ways are changing your lightbulbs to those consuming less energy, turning off the water when you brush your teeth and saving water when you take a shower, unplugging all devices when you do not use them, getting a new thermostat instead of the old one, and other tips.
You also can re-estimate the volume of internet and TV usage. If you do not use up your internet package each month, maybe it is time to switch to a lower-cost tariff. The same applies to the TV: if you do not watch all channels included in your package and cannot remember when was the last time you used your subscriptions, consider reducing these expenses.
Additionally, you can consider purchasing solar panels to have an alternative power source. In some sunny regions, it makes sense and helps save money.