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What is a Utility Bill

Updated on October 4, 2012
What is a utility bill and what defines a utility?
What is a utility bill and what defines a utility?

Almost everyone understands that the electric or power bill is considered a utility bill, but what else would normally be included as a utility bill? Generally speaking it is a wire or pipe entering a home or business with a regular invoice for services and materials provided. However, over time, those items that are considered “utilities” have come to mean very specific services. For example, a new paper is a consumable (you read it) material that is delivered to your home, but it is rarely considered a utility. Given that there are no hard and fast rules for the definition of a utility bill, these items are widely accepted as those products and services that would be included in the utility bill expense category.

The Electricity Bill – As mention previously, this is probably the most universally accepted utility bill. It has become so synonymous, that you will sometimes hear people calling the electric bill their utility bill. Much like people often call adhesive bandages Band-Aids.

The Natural Gas Bill – Natural gas is used all over the world for heating, cooking, and more. In nearly all instances, people consider their natural gas bill a utility bill.

The Water Bill - Water is another straight forward utility bill. You are invoiced based on the amount of water that enters your home (through metering), along with some minimum access fees.

The Sewer Bill - In some areas the sewer fee is included as a part of the water fee, while in other areas they are billed separately. IN either case, it is still widely viewed as a normal monthly utility bill.

The Cable Bill - Cable has become widely accepted as a utility bill over the last couple of decades. Originally a luxury item, cable TV has now become a mainstay in the majority of homes in the industrialized world. AS such, it has taken its place as yet another normal utility bill.

The Internet - Much like cable, internet access has become almost as common as water in most homes. While these services are relatively new compared to the other utility bills, it can clearly be classified as such none-the-less. With high speed internet, this has taken on an ever increase percentage of the monthly utilities cost, however, more and more people are reducing their cable and phone packages by using the internet for voice and content delivery.

Home Heating Oil
Home Heating Oil

Home Phone - Yes, many people do still have a home phone, and it is still considered a utility bill. While more and more people are reducing their need for a home phone, there are still millions and millions of households that have land line phone service, and many of those customers have no intention of giving it up.

Home Heating Oil - Among this group, the home heating oil invoice is less clearly a utility bill. Logically, this bill is no different than the natural gas bill, but because it is normally purchased in bulk in large quantities, this bill isn’t presented monthly. As a result, many people don’t automatically call it a utility bill. However, logically it is precisely the same as a natural gas bill, and as such, it is widely included under the definition of utility bill.

In answering the questions “what is a utility bill?”, changing technology continues to muddy the waters. Clearly this items mentioned above are normally categorized as utility bills, but there are many other services that have not yet moved into that category. From cell phones, the streaming movie services, the notion of what constitutes a utility bill is changing, However, one thing is certain; when we see those bills come in the mail, they are never a welcomed sight.


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    • flashmakeit profile image

      flashmakeit 5 years ago from usa

      Yes those utility bills keep coming.