Two on-line services that will allow you to comparison shop are:
For Auto Insurance, Phone and Internet, Utilities, Credit Cards and Home Loans.
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)
(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
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.
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
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
Some large long distance service companies are:
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
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
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.
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-
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
County Utility Company Other Phone No.
Bridgeport Aquarion Water Co. 800-732-9678
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
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
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.
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 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 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.