How To Find The Best Electric Company for Your Apartment

How To Find The Best Electric Company for Your Apartment

How to find the best electricity plan for your apartment

Thad Warren By Thad Warren

Other than your rent, your apartment’s utility bills are the most significant expense. Many renters quickly signup for the provider recommended by their landlord. This can be a costly mistake. 

There are dozens of providers to choose from and it could save you from paying a costly deposit or getting suckered into a rate that’s way overpriced. 

Finding the perfect apartment can be a pain. Finding an affordable electricity plan to power your apartment is easy. 

EnergyBot makes it easy to compare electricity plans for apartments by cutting through the sales gimmicks energy providers use to make things complicated. You can start comparing plans here or read on to learn what you need to know before selecting an electric company. 

Best Electricity Plans for Apartments

The best plans for apartments are generally short-term 11-month to 24-month contracts that have better rates at lower usage totals. 

You will notice plans advertised at three different usage amounts. 500, 1,000 and 2,000 kWh. Most studio and 1-bedroom apartments will fall into the 500 kWh bucket. Larger 2 and 3-bedroom apartments will be near 1,000 kWh. 

If you’re unsure ask your landlord if they have an idea of past tenants' usage. 

To get the best electric rate for your apartment, you should consider the size of your apartment and the length of your lease. For most renters, there are a few things to consider. 

  • Usage - Most apartments use less than 1,000 kWh/mo. Make sure your plan is designed for less usage. 
  • Term length - Depending on the market you may be able to get a cheaper rate if you sign up for a short or long-term plan. It doesn’t necessarily have to align to the length of your lease. 
  • Early termination fees - If you decide to move you might be able to move your plan over to your new apartment. But, if you decide you want out of a plan altogether you may be on the hook for several hundred dollars in fees. Luckily if you are moving somewhere the new provider does not serve you will be off the hook for those pesky fees.
  • Base rates/flat fees - Some plans will have a lower rate than others but have a $5, $10, $20, or even a high flat monthly fee. That fee can easily override any savings you see from the cheap rate. 

What to Look For Before You Sign Up for a Plan

Your Usage

Your monthly electricity usage is one of the most important factors when finding the right energy plan. Most providers and plans have pricing models based on usage. For example, you may pay 15¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh) when you use less than 1,000 kWh. If you use more than 1,000 kWh your pricing could change to 16¢ per kWh.

So how do you know your energy usage will be if you are moving into a new apartment? 

Most apartments will have less energy usage than stand-alone homes. Typically somewhere around 1,000 kWh a month is normal. Smaller apartments may have less, and a large apartment may have more. 

This charge will help you estimate your monthly usage based on square footage. This can change depending on the local climate, your energy habits, and the efficiency of your apartment. 

Electricity Facts Label (EFL)

*Texas Residents Only* 

Every electricity plan for your apartment will have an Electricity Facts Label or “EFL”. This document summarizes key terms in the plan. Different companies have minor formatting differences but the EFL will show you:

  • Pricing
  • Contract term (Usually in months)
  • Monthly “base” charges
  • Renewable Energy vs Non-Renewable
  • Early termination fees

Deposit vs No Deposit

You will likely need to complete a soft credit check in order to enroll in a plan. If you do not meet the credit rating requirements you may be asked to pay a deposit. Generally, this is somewhere between $200-$500. The deposit is often applied to your bill after you establish a solid payment history. 

If you want to avoid paying a deposit there are a couple of things you can do. 

First, try other plans from different providers. Each provider has different credit requirements, so you may be able to get a similar plan without a deposit.

If that doesn’t work try finding a short-term plan, 1-3 months. These plans are typically variable-rated and will have fluctuations in price over time. But, you may be able to skip the deposit and establish a payment history with the provider. Once you have a solid history try enrolling in a longer-term plan. 

Your Start Date and Move-In Date

Most apartments require that you show proof of electricity service before moving in. This is where many people go wrong. Moving day comes and they forgot to enroll in a plan. Whoops.

You can shop for plans weeks or even months before you move. Make sure you start date is before your move-in date. 

Avoid Sales Gimmicks

There are lots of gimmicks when shopping for electricity. “Free” bonuses for sign-ups, “Free” nights and weekends, EV plans, and loads more. 

These types of plans have their place. But, more often than not they are just lipstick on a pig. Most people should avoid these plans. 

Many times these types of plans require you to have a relatively large amount of electricity usage. Most apartments use less than 1,000 kWh a month. 

Same-Day Apartment Electricity

In most cases, your energy provider can turn the electricity on to your apartment on the same day you submit your order. Make sure if you need your electricity on the same day you contact your provider in the morning and verify you have passed all credit checks etc. 

If your electricity can not be turned on the same day it is likely because you submitted the request late in the day, you have credit issues, or you are missing a piece of paperwork. Either way, your energy provider can help you remedy the issue. 

Average Apartment Electricity Bills

If you’re trying to estimate your energy costs for an apartment here are some helpful data points. 

Home Size Avg Monthly Usage Price (kWh) Monthly Cost
One Bedroom Apartment 750 sq. ft. 500 kWh 13¢ $65
Two Bedroom Apartment 1,000 sq. ft. 1,000 kWh 13¢ $130
Average Home 2,000 sq. ft. 2,000 kWh 13¢ $360
Large Home 3,000 sq. ft. 2,500 kWh 13¢ $390