Paying Utilities (Gas, Electric, Water, etc.)

When choosing an apartment, ask the manager if you will be paying utilities and if so, which utilities. If you are responsible for utilities you will need to know how to contact these companies (gas, electricity, phone, or water).

Commonwealth Edison (Com Ed) Electric Company

You will need to call this number 1-800-334-7661. You will need to tell the company representative that you wish to have the electricity turned on or put in your name, at your new apartment.

They will ask for the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. Your temporary Social Security Number (pink sheet you received from ISFO)
  3. They will ask your employment status - your answer will be “NIU Student”
  4. They will want to know if you have ever had electrical service in the U.S. before

After you have answered the above questions, they will tell you when your service will be connected. Usually it takes a day. There is NO deposit required for this service and there are NO start-up fees. You will receive a bill every month in the mail for your electrical service; please remember to pay promptly.


Northern Illinois Gas Company (Nicor)
(for your heat, hot water, cooking, etc.)

For apartments or homes that have heat, hot water, or cook stoves using natural gas. If your apartment is all electric, you may NOT need to turn on the gas. You should ask your landlord.

If you do need to start up the gas, you will need to call this number: 1-800-942-6100. Again, you will be asked a number of questions so it is a good idea to have your answers prepared before calling (if you have any of the following). 

  1.  
    1. Home phone number
    2. Work phone number
    3. Place of employment; again you will answer “student”
    4. Landlord’s name and phone number
    5. Social Security Number (temporary or permanent)
    6. Driver’s license number

It usually takes three to five days to have the gas turned on. You will need to be present at the apartment on the day the serviceperson will be turning the gas on. The person on the phone will set this time for you. If you are not there they will not be able to start your service. You will also receive a bill once a month in the mail for this service.


Verizon Telephone Company
(815) 748-1372

The Best way to get your service started is to visit the telephone company office located at 225 E. Locust Street in DeKalb. Their hours are 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday - Friday. You will need to bring your passport with you. At the Verizon office you will be able to pick out a phone to either buy or rent.Or you can go to any department store such as Wal-Mart, Target, etc. and purchase a phone. You will find that the cost of purchasing a telephone ranges from $10 and up, so we recommend that you shop around.

There is a connection fee of $38 for starting your telephone service. The cost of having a telephone averages about $20 to $30 per month. On top of the monthly charge, you will have additional charges for your long distance calls and for any extra services you might put on your line, such as call waiting, 3-way calling, call forwarding, etc.


Verizon Cell Phone
(800) 483-4000

You will need to choose a plan and provide the following information:

  1.  
    1. Your Name
    2. Local address
    3. Local Phone Number
    4. Social Security Number
    5. NIU ID or driver’s license number
    6. Your date of birth
    7. Passport

You may already have a cell phone with another telecommunication company.