Utilities: Getting Your Place Connected

You will need to arrange and pay for the utilities that are not included in your rent.


Cellular (Mobile) Telephones: Cellular phones and service plans are available from a number of providers – see Yellow Pages under “Cellular/Wireless Telephone Equipment & Supplies”.  Many companies will not provide serves to those who do not yet have a US social security number (SSN).  Therefore, you will need to find the two or three companies that will (Sprint is one of them).  For these companies, they compensate for the lack of and SSN by charging you an extra deposit when you set up service (about $150).  You will receive your deposit back when you finish your contract.  Pay-as-you-go and pre-paid cell phone plans are usually not as a good a deal in the U.S.  Most people sign up for a plan with a 1 or 2 year contract.


You might need a local SIM card for making phone calls and sending SMS messages in the United States. SIM cards are available at local telecommunication service centers in Charlottesville. For example, you may buy an AT&T phone card and select either the individual plan or the family plan based on your personal need.


[From David, a first year student from China] My favorite way to contact family in China is via WeChat. It’s free and convenient. You only need a smartphone and Internet access. If you use an iPhone, FaceTime is a good option. Other options include Skype, GoogleVoice, etc.

If you are renting an apartment or house, your landlord should inform you of your electricity provider.  Contact the provider to set up electricity supply.  For Dominion Virginia Power, call 1888-667-3000. 

For gas and water services, contact City of Charlottesville Utility Billing, Tel: 970-3211.  See: http://www.charlottesville.org/ under “Gas & Water”.  For Albemarle County, call Albemarle County Service Authority, Tel: 977-4511.

Recyclables like glass, metal cans, paper, cardboard, newspaper, magazines, and #1 & #2 plastics should be deposited in apartment recycling bins or brought to the McIntire Road Recycling Center.
The following local television stations are broadcast free in the Charlottesville area:  NBC29 (WVIR), CBS19 (WCAV), ABC16 (WVAW), FOX 27 (WAHU), PBS41 (WHTJ), and PBS50 (WVPT).
To set up cable television service, contact Adelphia 1888-683-1000.  They offer several packages that include local broadcast channels.  Check for special offers.
Satellite service is available through Dish Network 1800-333-3474, and DirecTV 973-0601.
Internet access is available in all UVA libraries and computer labs.  High-speed internet access for your apartment or home is available from providers such as Comcast (cable internet) and Embarq or Earthlink (DSL internet).