Utilities CT Two on-line services that will allow you to comparison shop are: www.lowermybills.com For Auto Insurance, Phone and Internet, Utilities, Credit Cards and Home Loans. http://www.getconnected.com For Local and Long Distance Phone, Internet and Wireless Services Telephone – Local Service Local telephone companies and long distance service companies provide telephone service in the U.S. Local telephone companies set-up and maintain the telephone lines and provide local phone service. The local telephone company for most of Connecticut is SNET. If telephone service is not already set up when you move into your home, you must contact SNET to start phone service. Long-distance companies provide long-distance service domestically and internationally. There are numerous companies to choose from. You will be connected to a long-distance carrier automatically when you call SNET to initialize phone service. (The SNET representative will ask you which long-distance carrier you prefer.) To Start Phone Service SNET from within Connecticut 811 Outside of Connecticut 800-453-SNET (7638) www.att.com 800-288-2020 (Check with your employer to see if they are handling this procedure for you.) Initialization of phone service can usually be arranged by phone. There will be an identification and credit check if you have never had telephone service in the U.S. before. This requires personal identification documents to be faxed to the telephone company, which you will be instructed on when you call to request service. (It often takes several days to complete this process.) The credit check requires your social security number, but don't worry if you do not have it yet; most telephone companies will usually initiate the phone service without it as long as other documentation is in order. This will include copies of your passport and your international or home country driver’s license. To complete the account set up, you will be asked your full address, how you would like your name to appear in the directory listing, type of service and options you choose, which long-distance carrier you prefer and the type of phone outlets in your home. Set up Charges Telephone companies charge approximately $42.00 as a one-time charge for order processing and telephone number connection, and this charge might vary depending on the number of lines needed. In addition, a deposit of roughly $100.00 may be required if there is any complication with the credit check. There can be an option to pay this fee in the first billing or spread it out over several months billing. (This deposit is usually refunded within one year as long as your bills are paid on time. If credit remains a problem, the deposit may be held as security and applied to your final bill when you disconnect service.) If inside work is necessary, such as installing additional phone lines or repairing existing lines, this is billed at an additional charge; typically, there is an initial charge of about $42.00 for the service person to come to your home and a labor rate of about $16.00 for each 15 minutes of work done. There is also a charge for materials. This charge will vary, so it is important to ask about the fees. Optional Services Telephone companies offer numerous specialized services, each at an additional monthly charge and sometimes with an initial setup charge. Some popular options include: "Call Waiting," where a second call may be received while on the line with the initial call. "Call Forwarding," where calls can be forwarded to another phone. "Caller ID,” which allows you to see the telephone number or name of the caller before you answer the phone. You may need to obtain a separate piece of equipment for this, or you can purchase a phone with this option built into it. "Home Voice Mail,” a 24-hour automated answering service. You may prefer to purchase an answering machine. If you prefer not to have your number published, request the "Non listed Phone Number" option. Information on optional services is available in the front of your telephone directory, or call the telephone company for more information. Telephone - Long Distance Services Long distance services vary greatly and are extremely competitive. It is best to talk to several companies and compare their current offers. When speaking to them, ask about international long-distance service. Often, they will offer a special rate if you call one country frequently. Many times, these companies will negotiate a good rate for you to get your business. However, beware of short-term offers that may increase the rate after six months of use. Clarify the length of the offer as well as the services that are covered. Rates may also vary according to the time of day you are calling. Typically, calls made between 7:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. are more expensive. Some large long distance service companies are: AT&T 800-288-2020 MCI 800-950-5555 SPRINT 800-877-7746 Many smaller companies now exist. To find out more about them try comparison-shopping resources Credit Calling Cards Long-distance companies offer calling cards for making phone calls from public phones (or any location) and having the charges billed to your account on your phone bill. (The rates may be considerably higher than regular call rates.) Calling cards are common in the U.S. because of their convenience when away from home. Pre-Paid Calling Cards Numerous companies sell pre-paid calling cards. These are usually available in minute increments. For example, you may purchase a 60-minute card for $10.00. These are convenient, especially for children or teens who do not have access to credit cards. Pre paid calling cards are available in grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations, etc. Monthly Phone Bill Although long-distance service and local phone-line service are separate services provided by different companies, billing for both might be included in one monthly phone bill for the sake of convenience and simplicity, depending on the long-distance carrier you choose. You will get a monthly phone bill from the telephone company, which will itemize all local charges first, followed by charges from your long-distance service provider. Telephone Directory Books A telephone directory of local numbers is complimentary from the telephone company when new service is ordered. You will find it to be a valuable source of information about the community in which you live. The telephone directory is usually divided into several sections: "White Pages" - numbers of local residents and businesses "Blue Pages" - numbers of local, county, state and federal government offices in the area “Yellow Pages" - a valuable consumer guide of businesses and services in the area Telephone directories contain other useful information, often in the front of the book: Descriptions of the services that the local telephone company offers. Area-code directory for the entire United States International dialing instructions Time-zone map for the United States and the entire world Zip-code listings for the local area Emergency numbers and procedures. Some telephone directories also include: An overview of your community with maps Points of interest and recreation information Information for cultural and sporting events Theaters and museums, sports facilities, along with floor plans for seating Useful community numbers Directory Assistance via Phone "Directory Assistance" is also available from the telephone company via the phone to assist you in finding phone numbers. For any inquiries to Directory Assistance, you will need to know the proper business or residential name, plus the correct city or town. You will be charged for directory assistance calls if made from a private phone. For Directory Assistance, dial “411." Making Phone Calls Telephone numbers in the U.S. are usually a 7-digit number preceded by a 3-digit area code. Telephone numbers beginning with "800," "888" or "877" are toll-free numbers. Be careful of telephone numbers beginning with "900." These are usually chargeable at a higher rate, and the cost per minute should be advised up front. Dialing Procedures Local call within your area code: 7-digit number Call outside of your area code: 1 + area code + 7-digit number Toll-free call: 1 + 800 or 888 or 877 + 7-digit number Operator assisted call: 0 + area code + 7-digit number Credit-card call: Follow the instructions from your credit- card provider Directory Assistance: 411 Emergency Call: 911 To make a coin call from a public phone, you will usually need to deposit 35¢ (no pennies) for a 3-minute local call from most pay phones. If you dial the number directly without coins, and an automated message will advise you how much to deposit. Dialing procedures are the same as above. (Directory assistance calls, emergency calls ("911") and toll-free calls require no coin deposit.) Cellular/PCS Phone Service Cellular phone service can be surprisingly difficult to obtain. There are two reasons for this: First, cellular phones are a credit nightmare for the cellular industry. More people ring up huge bills using cellular services than any other utility. For this reason, cellular companies are extremely careful when granting access. Second, if you are coming from another country, you have no credit history in the USA. You may do best to look for companies that offer pre paid plans. Whether to Use Your Existing Phone If you have an existing phone, you may or may not be able to use it. To find out more, you will need to contact a local cellular service provider. Utilize the company web sites to identify the office in your region. The main cellular/PCS providers in the New York area are: AT&T Wireless 800-462-4463 www.att.com/wireless Digital Advantage (Local), Regional Advantage, Digital One Rate, AT&T Family Plan - "New" Prepaid Wireless Verizon Wireless 800-255-2355 www.verizonwireless.com Digital Choice (Local), Single Rate East, Single Rate USA, Prepaid Wireless Sprint PCS 888-253-1315 www.sprint.com Sprint PCS Local Plans, Free & Clear Plans (National) Nextel 800-639-611 www.nextel.com Digital Cellular, Nextel Direct Connect, National Plans, Nextel Worldwide T-Mobile 800-937-8997 www.t-mobile.com Northeast Neighborhood, North American Neighborhood There are online services that will help you do your comparative shopping. A suggestion: some companies offer a discounted rate if you inquire through personnel. Some warnings! If you cross the U.S./Canada border with a cell phone on, some phones may start charging you roaming fees for every minute the power is on, not only when it is in use. U.S. technology currently lacks the ability to place an overseas call from a cellular phone. Locally, many individual counties are in the process of passing laws to prohibit the use of a cellular phone while driving. If you anticipate using your cellular phone frequently in your car, be very aware of local ordinances. You may want to consider purchasing a hands-free model. Gas and Electric Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control 860-827-1553 Consumer Assistance Toll-Free in CT 800-382-4586 Ten Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051 www.state.ct.us/dpuc/ Electric Choice in Connecticut In the year 2000, Connecticut consumers have the ability to choose their electric supplier, for the first time. Electricity will still be delivered by a local utility, which will now be called an electric distribution company. The Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) is the agency of state government that regulates the public utilities of electric, gas, water, telecommunications and cable television. One of its roles in electric competition is to develop a consumer education program to help you understand the process and make an informed choice. Their web site is just one way the DPUC provides information about electric choice. Information is also available through a toll-free telephone answer center, a series of brochures on subjects related to electric choice, advertisements and a consumer guide with worksheets that help you compare electric suppliers. In rental housing, if your gas and electric utilities are not included in the monthly rental fee, the realtor will often see to it that your gas and electric utilities are connected. If you are purchasing a home, or if your realtor does not arrange to have your utilities turned on, you will have to contact the utility companies directly. Electricity County Utility Company Other Phone No. Bridgeport United Illuminating Co. Outside CT = 560-665-5000 800-722-5585 Darien Connecticut Light & Power “ 800-286-2000 Danbury Connecticut Light & Power “ 800-286-2000 Easton United Illuminating Co. “ 800-722-5585 Fairfield United Illuminating Co. “ 800-722-5584 Greenwich Connecticut Light & Power “ 800-286-2000 Milford United Illuminating Co. “ 800-722-5584 Newton Yankee Gas Co. “ 800-989-0900 Norwalk Water & Electric Muncipal Provider Some Districts = CT L&P 203-866-4446 Ridgefield Connecticut Light & Power Outside CT = 560-665-5000 800-286-2000 Redding Connecticut Light & Power “ 800-286-2000 Shelton United Illuminating Co. “ 203-499-3333 Stratford United Illuminating Co. “ 203-382-8111 Trumbull United Illuminating Co. “ 800-722-5584 Westport Connecticut Light & Power “ 800-286-2000 Weston Connecticut Light & Power “ 800-286-2000 Wilton Connecticut Light & Power “ 800-286-2000 Gas County Utility Company Other Phone No. Bridgeport Southern Connecticut Gas Co. 230-382-8111 Danbury Yankee Gas 800-989-0900 Darien Yankee Gas 800-989-0900 Easton Southern Connecticut Gas Co. 230-382-8111 Fairfield Southern Connecticut Gas Co. 230-382-8111 Greenwich Connecticut Natural Gas Emergencies = 203-869-6913 203-869-6900 Milford Southern Connecticut Natural Gas 203-382-8111 Norwalk Yankee Gas Co. 800-989-0900 Ridgefield Yankee Gas Co. 800-989-0900 Redding Not Available Shelton Yankee Gas Co. 800-989-0900 Stratford Southern Connecticut Gas Co. 203-382-8111 Trumbull Southern Connecticut Gas Co. 203-882-8111 Westport Southern Connecticut Gas Co. 203-382-8111 Weston Southern Connecticut Gas Co. 203-382-8111 Wilton Yankee Gas Co. 800-989-0900 Water In many towns, water and sewer utilities are supplied and billed by the town. With rental properties, the homeowner may include water bill costs in the monthly rental fee or bill you separately for the cost of those utilities. If you are purchasing a home, you will need to call the water utility to set up an account in your name. In some cases, there may be an application (Your realtor may have the application or you can pick up one at your water utility office) and a required deposit (usually $60 to $100). For the water company to determine the usage, they may request that the home's occupants call in the reading from the meter or they may send a water-company representative to come to the residence and read the meter. Occasionally there may be a slight discoloration in the water following standard utility-maintenance procedures. Call the utility if you have a question or concerns about it. Water County Utility Company Other Phone No. Bridgeport Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Danbury Darien Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Easton Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Fairfield Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Greenwich Aquarion Water Co. Emergencies = 203-661-7200 800-292-2928 Milford South Central CT Regional Water Co. 203-562-4020 Newtown Norwalk Water & Electric Municipal Provider 203-866-4446 Ridgefield Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Redding Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Shelton Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Trumbull Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Westport Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Weston Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Wilton Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678 Television Cable While regular television service is free, there are only a few channels to choose from. Many people subscribe to a cable television service to increase their viewing options. Cable service adds an additional 30- 300 channels. Cable companies and service vary, depending on the area you live in. In many areas, each cable TV company has its own territory. Cable companies typically charge a one-time installation fee and then a basic monthly charge. The basic plan includes a set number of basic cable channels. Additional channels (such as the Disney Channel) are available for an extra fee. If the home has already been wired for cable service, everything can usually be handled over the phone? and the company will likely turn on the service automatically within a few days of your request. If the home is not already wired for cable service, a cable company representative will come to install the cable lines to the house necessary for the service. Cable representatives can generally come within a few days of your request. Contact the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Controls at 1-860-782-3782 or write to Customer Assistance and Information at 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051 before choosing a cable provider. Since area cable television rates have now been deemed to operate under competitive market conditions, it follows that consumers should explore their options in the market place. Cable Television County Utility Company Other Phone No. Bridgeport Southern Connecticut Cablevision 203-336-2225 Danbury Comcast 888-793-0800 Darien Southern Connecticut Cablevision 800-783-8885 Easton Southern Connecticut Cablevision 203-336-2225 Fairfield Southern Connecticut Cablevision 203-336-2225 Georgetown For Location Contact Information 203-438-7783 Greenwich For Location Contact Information 203-348-9211 Litchfield For Location Contact Information 860-567-3103 Milford Southern Connecticut Cablevision 203-336-2225 Newton Charter Communications 800-827-8288 New Canaan For Location Contact Information 203-348-9211 Norwalk Southern Connecticut Cablevision 203-847-6666 Redding Southern Connecticut Cablevision 203-336-2225 Ridgefield Comcast 888-793-0800 Shelton Telemedia Communications 203-735-9504 Southport For Location Contact Information 203-336-2225 Stamford For Location Contact Information 203-348-9211 Stratford For Location Contact Information 203-348-9211 Trumbull Charter Communications 800-827-8288 Westport Southern Connecticut Cablevision 203-348-9211 Weston Southern Connecticut Cablevision 203-348-9211 Wilton Southern Connecticut Cablevision 203-348-9211 Woodbridge For Location Contact Information 203-562-4955 However, Cablevision of Connecticut provides most of the cable service. The company has trained their customer service representatives to discuss rates and options with subscribers. The Location Contact information is as above. Garbage Collection Garbage collection varies by area. In some communities, the local government takes care of the collection, and the cost is figured into the town's property taxes. In other areas a private garbage collection business must be hired. Each garbage collection service has its own policy as to what it will accept and how. Many towns prohibit the disposal of recyclable or hazardous materials in the regular garbage collection, and in some areas, there may even be a limit on the amount of garbage each household can dispose of. Penalties may apply for violating these ordinances. Contact your local town hall regarding collection procedures. Recycling Recycling in many towns is a complex program. Newspapers, magazines, paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, glass and plastic may be recycled, depending on the town, and are picked up by the town's recycling service company on a predetermined schedule. Each town has a different policy and procedure for recycling, and some are quite strict. Contact your local town hall regarding recycling procedures.
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