If you live in the Chicago area, your utility costs for electricity and natural gas run above and below the national average respectively. Chicagoans enjoy a lower rate compared to other U.S. consumers when it comes to their heating costs and pay around 8% more than other consumers in the U.S. for electricity.
Electricity – An Expensive Utility
Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) is the major supplier of electricity in the Chicagoland area. As stated, if you live in the city of Chicago or surrounding suburbs, expect to pay more for this utility. As an average, rates hover around $100 for each month of usage during the year. Although it’s typically a tendency in the U.S. for electricity costs to move upward for a certain length of time, the electricity costs in Chicago have exceeded this national trend since the beginning of 2007. To conserve energy, when using electricity then, experts advise turning appliances off when they’re not in use and making sure major appliances, such as stoves or refrigerators, are tagged with the Energy Star label. Because stoves and refrigerators consume around 30% of the energy in an apartment, noting their energy use is a good place to start in lowering the cost of electricity.
Natural Gas – You’ll Pay Less for this Utility in Chicago
While electricity costs are generally higher than what you’d pay elsewhere, residents in Chicago enjoy lower rates for natural gas. According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Chicagoans paid almost 25% less than the rest of the country in December 2009. In fact, for the last five years, Peoples Energy, the supplier of natural gas in the Chicago area, has provided gas for Chicagoans at a lower price than what other people are paying for the utility nationwide.
High Speed Internet Access – It’s Reasonable in Chicago
To go online in Chicago will not cause you too much hardship cost wise as residents in the city pay about $38 per month on average for high speed Internet.
Telephone Usage – Weigh Your Options
The main telecommunications supplier for landline phones in Chicago is the Illinois Telephone Corporation. However, you do have other options when it comes to reducing your phone bill as there are other competitors that supply the same type of service. Telephone costs typically span between $30.00 to $43.00 per month. Therefore, instead of a landline phone, you may want to consider using a cell phone as your main phone. By foregoing the landline, you can save almost $500 per year.
Cable Costs – A Small yet High Price to Pay for Home Entertainment
Although cable can be expensive in the Chicago area (around $60 per month on average), it’s still a small price to pay for home entertainment when you compare it with other entertainment options, such as movies, concerts, restaurants and sporting events.
Keep in mind that around 60% of the energy used in your apartment is for cooling and heating. Therefore, make sure you set your thermostat properly to make the most of the energy you use. In the warmer months, set the thermostat at about 78 degrees Fahrenheit and keep it at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the colder seasons of the year. Whether you currently live in Chicago or plan to move there, keep these tips in mind to lower your overall costs.