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How Much Does the Average Utility Bill Cost for Renters

By: Justin Chaplin
March 20, 2019

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

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

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.

Average Household Utility Costs by Metropolitan Area

Wondering how much the average utility bill is in your area? Find your metro area in the table below!

Metropolitan Area
State
Electricity
Water
Gas
AkronOH$108.64$43.48$68.34
AlbanyNY$128.92$19.46$64.08
AlbuquerqueNM$94.05$46.27$51.61
AllentownPA$149.08$36.34$43.42
AmarilloTX$132.42$48.02$41.6
AnchorageAK$139.65$29.99$108.1
Ann ArborMI$122.6$37.43$79.14
AnnistonAL$199.33$31.68$46.2
AshevilleNC$136.2$26.5$26.75
AtlantaGA$152.99$39.75$60.22

Methodology

Household utility costs are self-reported to the US Census Bureau and include both renter-occupied and owner-occupied homes.

The data were pulled from the 2018 American Community Survey via IPUMS.[efn_note] IPUMS USA, University of Minnesota, www.ipums.org\[/efn\_note\]

Households are excluded from the calculations if their utility costs are folded into rent payments or other contracts, like condominium fees.

Households are also excluded if their gas costs are included in their electricity payments. Gas refers to the bottled, tank, or liquid petroleum; fuel refers to home heating fuel including oil, coal, kerosene, and wood; water includes both water and sewage costs.

The Census Bureau notes that research comparing respondents' reported costs with utility company records indicates that respondents tend to overstate their costs. Metropolitan Areas represent collections of counties, per OMB's 2013 MSA definitions.

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