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Life in the US

Settling in
Appliance Usage
Emergency Services

Mail Services
Public Library

Credit History
Credit Union
Debit and Credit Cards

Planning Ahead
School System

Out and Ahead
Entertainment in New Jersey
Entertainment in New York
Entertainment in Pennsylvania
Local restaurants
Public transportation

Customs and Holidays
The Four Seasons


Utility companies vary from state to state. The Utility companies we have provided are all based in New Jersey. You would have a choice between two or three companies depending on the particular utility. Whether you buy or rent you will find yourself having to pay for some or all utilities.



In most cases, electricity is not already provided in apartments. You will have to call the local electricity company and ask them for service in your home before you even move into the apartment. Call them ahead of time and tell them to provide service from the day you will need it. You now have more choices than before for electricity suppliers. Companies will vary in pay plans. The billing cycle is usually month-to-month.

PSE&G 1-800-350-PSEG
GPU Energy 1-800-622-3115
Connectiv 1-800-642-3780


A number of homes use gas for central heating and cooking purposes. It is a cheaper alternative to electricity. Some apartments do include the cost of gas in your monthly rental.

New Jersey Natural Gas 1-800-221-0051
PSE&G 1-800-350-PSEG


As far as water goes, it varies from place to place. Most water bills go directly through your town. A number of homes also use well water.

New Jersey American Water 1-800-652-6987
Elizabethtown Water Company
1341 North Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07062


Cable Television
Cable television is an optional utility. To get a TV cable connection, call your local cable operator and sign up for service. There are different kinds of service packages available. For example, basic service will be of low cost and will give you access to very few channels. Additional premium channels including movie and sports channels will cost extra. Depending on your time, liking and price you can make your own choice. Ask for special deals and attractions. There are also additional charges for TV guide magazines, cable boxes and remotes.

Cablevision 1-732-367-2582
Comcast 1-732-542-7603


Internet – ISP
Everyone knows the efficiency of the Internet. If you have a computer system you can call the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and get connection for your home. Most cable providers are now offering Internet access via the cable TV line through the use of a cable modem. This method of accessing the Internet is much faster and more reliable than the earlier dial-up process. It also allows you to stay online always as it frees up your phone line.
To find a suitable Internet services provider in your area, visit: http://www.cnet.com/internet/

AOL http://www.aol.com
AT&T http://download.att.net
EarthLink http://www.earthlink.net
Verizon Online http://www.verizon.net
Comcast http://www.comcast.com
Optimum Online (Cablevision) http://www.optonline.com/


In the United States, many competing companies provide various telephone services. The providers charge significantly different prices, so it pays to shop for the best price. To get your telephone service you will need to contact your local telephone company. In New Jersey, your standard local carrier is Verizon, formerly Bell Atlantic.

The Telephone Company provides service only. You will have to buy your own telephone. Usually, it takes a few days to get telephone service. Besides the cost of the telephone, there are installation fees, a monthly fee for using the service and naturally, additional fees for long distance or international calls. When asking for service there are numerous options - basic plan, full service plan or personal choice plan. Services differ on options like caller id, call waiting, call forwarding, call scanning and other features.

For your Long distance and international calls, check around to find the lowest rates. There are several companies like, Verizon, AT&T, Vonage etc that provide a variety of plans. Some providers have plans with monthly fee and lower minute rates; others have no monthly fee with higher minute rates. Some have flat monthly rate for unlimited calling in US and Canada. Choose the one that meets your needs best.
Verizon (Local) 1-800-287-9933
AT&T (Long Distance) 1-888-928-8932


Cellular Phones
Cingular Wireless 1-866-Cingular
Sprint 1-888-703-9514
Verizon 1-732-786-4000
Nextel 1-800-639-6111
T-Mobile 1-800-937-8997


Calling Cards
For your long distance or International calls, consider using phone cards or calling cards. It is like a mobile phone service. Usually, calling cards provide a lower price than the regular telephone companies. With the calling card your service of minutes is prepaid. Using a calling card gives you the convenience of making calls from your workplace or public phone or from your friends home. Warning! You have to be careful when buying. There are fake cards too. A low upfront price does not necessarily mean that the card is good. Before buying a card ask your friends if they are using any and what is the quality of service. Call the reputed companies about their service and the reliability of the card.

Phone cards are available in denominations of $5, $10 and $20 at many gas stations, convenience stores, drug stores and newsstands across the country. Many different companies offer telephone cards, and their rates usually vary from 5 cents a minute to 50 cents a minute. Be careful of mail order companies and Inthat offer cheap calling cards. Most calling cards require you to call a toll free number to connect to their system.

When purchasing a prepaid calling card, look out for the following …
• What is the cost per minute?
• Is the billing on a per minute basis or on a set of second intervals?
• Is there a per-call surcharge (connection charge)? Most companies charge $1 or more on each call as a connection charge.
• What all counts towards the time of the call (is the actual connection time also included)?
• Is there a minimum charge per call?
• Are the rates different based on when you call (day-time, weekends, etc)?
• Is customer support available to handle issues that you may face? Does this customer support have an 800/888 (toll-free) number?
• Is the card rechargeable (can you extend the card over the phone using your credit card)?
• When does the card expire? Most cards expire in about 6 months from the first call made.
• What have been others experiences with the card? Check with your friends and online discussion boards.
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