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How Much Does the Average Utility Bill Cost for Renters

By: Justin Chaplin and Davina Ward
June 11, 2021

If you are planning your budget for a new apartment a crucial component is your utility bill. You factor in your rent, but what about those pesky electricity and internet bills that pop up once a month? To get a good idea of how much spending cash you’ll have after paying your bills, you should get an idea of what your utilities will cost you. It will largely depend on your usage, but the average utility bill for renter households is $240 a month (excluding internet, cable, and streaming services).

Average Household Utility Costs by State

The most expensive state for utilities is Alabama at $191.27 and the most affordable state for utilities is New Mexico at $103.40.

Wondering how much the average utility bill is in your state? Use the map below to find out.

Average Household Utility Costs by City

Knowing what to expect from utility costs for your city can help you build a more accurate budget. Moreover, if you're a frugal renter, you'll want to ensure that you're choosing a city with low average utility costs.

You’re likely wondering...

The most expensive city for utilities is Bridgeport, CT at $353.57. The most affordable city for utilities is Boise City, ID at $186.55.

Browse through the table below to see how the city you’re living in or considering moving to ranks!

CitiesAverage Electricity BillAverage Gas BillAverage Water BillAverage Fuel BillAverage Utility Bill
Bridgeport, CT$184.97$74.44$35.59$58.58$353.57
New Haven, CT$166.38$66.12$36.59$42.53$311.62
Boston, MA$135.20$81.67$46.58$32.78$296.22
Stockton, CA$161.80$64.37$68.82$1.12$296.10
Birmingham, AL$196.29$45.92$51.46$0.76$294.43
Worcester, MA-CT$153.43$50.31$32.70$55.19$291.63
Hartford, CT$149.79$58.32$32.99$48.91$290.01
Scranton, PA$125.38$76.32$52.93$25.62$280.24
Kansas City, MO$157.53$67.30$52.76$1.54$279.12
Providence, RI$130.38$75.34$39.07$33.26$278.06

What utilities am I responsible for?

Hopefully you asked this question when touring your new home and before signing the lease. In some apartments, your landlord will cover all of your utilities. In most cases, you will be responsible for a portion of your utilities. It is common for a landlord to cover the cost of water, garbage and sewage. If you will be covering the cost of these utilities, expect to pay around $40 for water and $20 for garbage and sewage.

Beyond these utilities, you’ll likely be responsible for paying for electricity, gas, heating, internet and cable.

Electricity

Plan on your electricity being the largest portion of your utility bills. It’s also probably the most necessary. When considering how much your electricity bill will cost, consider the size of your apartment and the number of tenants living there. One person living in a studio will use a lot less energy than a family of four living in a two bedroom apartment. For a typical household, an average utility bill ranges from $103-$191 a month depending on the state you live in. To save on this bill, invest in energy-efficient products, like energy star labeled appliances or LED light bulbs. For more tips, check out this guide on how to save on you utility bills.

Air Conditioning

If you live in a hot city like Phoenix or Las Vegas, hopefully you have air conditioning set up in your apartment. Depending on the climate of where you live, running A/C might be necessary. If you live in a cooler neck of the woods, you’re in luck, because A/C is expensive. Running your A/C throughout the month tends to add on an additional $60-$70 to your electricity bill.

Gas

Living in a cold city like Rochester that’s going to require a ton of heating during the winter? That’s where your gas bill starts to add up. Heaters powered by gas running throughout the month can cost up to $50 if they are efficient appliances. Heaters powered by electricity will cost a bit more. Other gas appliances, like a gas range stovetop, are cheap. These typically will only be like $10, and that’s if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Internet and Cable

Internet is pretty much a necessity at this point… but cable not so much. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are taking the place of traditional cable in many homes. The internet bill will vary depending on the speed you need. If you hardly use the internet at all, you can get away with the lowest plan. If you are a power user, you might need a top tier plan. For the average consumer who uses middle-tier plans, expect to pay around $30-$60 a month for internet.

If you want cable to watch your favorite award shows and sporting events live, most companies will have a bundle deal for cable and internet. Bundling cable with your internet will cost an estimated additional $20-$40, depending on your provider.

Average Utility Bill

The average utility bill for a typical renter household will cost approximately $240 (excluding internet, cable, and streaming services). The utility bill for your new home will depend on lots of things, but most importantly where you live and how many people you live with.

Water

The average monthly water bill amounts to $28.24 for a single adult and $116 for a family household.

However, your costs may vary greatly depending on your location.

Some states, like California, have strict laws that regulate water usage and may levy fines if regulations aren't followed.

If possible, opt for an apartment unit with a dishwasher, eco-friendly washers, and regulated water pressure. These measures will keep your water bill low!

Phone

The average cell phone bill is $94 for a single person. However, phone plan costs vary based on your carrier.

Here are the lowest cost unlimited plans for a single cell phone line of the most popular cell service providers in the US:

  • Verizon: $70
  • AT&T: $65
  • T-Mobile/Sprint:$60

That said, this cost generally doesn't reflect sales tax, fees, and the cost of leasing a cell phone, which can add upwards of $50 to your bill.

If you're looking to save on your cell phone bill, check out low cost providers such as Mint, Google Fi, or Visible.

Garbage

Garbage collection costs are hard to pin down, as they vary so greatly. Typically, the cost of garbage collection is included in the cost of rent.

If your municipality or apartment unit doesn't provide garbage collection services, you will need to arrange for your own collection. It's best to shop around if you are in the market for private garbage collection.

Each service provider can set their own rates, so you might find wildly different prices during your search.

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AUTHOR
Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
AUTHOR
Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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