What is a Utility Bill?
A utility bill is a bill for services that you use in your home including electricity, gas, and waste. Electricity and gas bills are often referred to as energy bills as they relate only to light and heat. Most energy bills are issued on a bi-monthly basis. Landline and/or mobile phone and broadband bills are often considered a utility too, but are usually a fixed price each month.
How do utility bills work?
Utility bills differ slightly from our other bills as we don’t always know how much they will be as they relate to how much you use. It is a good idea to look at how much you are spending and if you can cut back.
If you are using a pre-pay meter, you will not receive a bill, but it is important to know your usage to plan your budget for the week/month. Some providers have a mobile app or online account to check your usage on pay-as-you-go.
You can find our series on energy-saving tips here.
Although gas and electricity are commonly used to heat our homes, many households use oil heating. According to the 2022 Census, almost 4 in 10 households use oil to heat their homes.
Bills for oil work differently from electricity and gas because they aren’t every month or two months but as and when you need to fill the oil tank. You may need to budget a percentage of the fill each month to have the money ready for when you need to buy a fill.
Most of us don’t consider waste a utility, but our waste bins are an important part of our budget. Depending on where you live, there may be many suppliers that provide waste collection and recycling facilities. If so, shop around to see which plan best suits your household. If you are being charged by weight, try to reduce how much goes into the waste bin and recycle where possible.
Some suppliers offer a yearly set fee or a smaller once-off annual fee and then charge per lift. The lift charge may include the recycling bin, so it might be more cost-effective to bring some recycling, glass and cans to your local recycling centre or where there are free recycling bins. For more information on managing your waste, check out mywaste.ie.
All containers will have the Re-turn logo on them so you know which ones can be returned to the point of sale for a deposit refund. The deposit will be between 15c and 25c per container depending on the size of the container. Check out the Re-turn website for more information.
Food and Compost Waste
Often, the heaviest item in our bin is food, so where this can go in the compost bin is an immediate saving. As of 1st January 2024, all households are entitled to a brown bin collection service, if you don’t have one already.
Consider your shopping habits as well, as about a third of the food we buy is thrown away. Check out stopfoodwaste.ie to see how to cut down your food waste.