It is amazing how easy it is to setup all your utilities from your coach in Seattle. You literally don’t have to talk with anyone. The only problem is that URLs for signup are so buried in information, As an illustration and what a dashboard should look like to signup and then to monitor/pay your bills:
“Seattle Public Utilities”:http://seattle.gov/util has no obvious place to “signup” so the link is http://www2.cityofseattle.net/util/services/closeopen/a.asp You do have to go read your water meter, so I guess I lied, it is the one trip off your coach 🙂 Then you use http://www.seattle.gov/util/Services/Billing/Manage_Your_Account/COS_004076.asp to setup bill payment, get garbage cans, check recycling dates and so forth.
“Seattle City Light”: for some reason is completely different from the utilties company so you need your own application http://www.seattle.gov/light/accounts/resa/ and this application doesn’t start service, but starts the review. It also has a billing area, but doesn’t seem to have a place to see Bill Payment Online and Automatic Bill Payment Program. But doesn’t seem to have a way to look at your bill online.
“Puget Sound Energy”:http://pse.com provides Natural Gas. (Confused yet!) so there is yet another. It has complete bill online, but this one looks like you need a call to 1-888-CALLPSE to get it going. So they are better at looking at bills online at http://www.pse.com/solutions/youraccount/Pages/mypseWhySignUp.aspx
“Comcast”:http://comcast.com. They have the cable franchise here and lots of HDTV. I really dislike their HD DVR but at least it is only a $15/month lease and as soon as I figure it out, I’ll get an HD TiVO. Still they provide really high speed internet at least in my neighborhood of 10Mbps regularly. Their site first puts you through an address locator so they can figure out what services are available at https://www.comcast.com/localization/Localize.ashx?StreetName=120+39th+Ave+East&AptNumber=&Zip=&x=72&y=6&FormName=AddressOrZipCode&StreetNumber=&StreetDesignation=&City=&State=&Referer=%2Fshop%2Fbuyflow%2Fdefault.ashx%3Fhp%3D1. Their offerings are really confusing, but the basic thing to get is what is called Digital Starter for $56/month and then the $15/month HD DVR option. Then for Internet, it is $45/month plus $3/month to rent the cable modem. So expensive. They take you through this complicated thing then actually have a representative talk with you through chat. Sad that something can be so complex, someone actually have to look at it.
“Qwest”:http://qwest.com. There are only two choices for true local phone service, Qwest and AT&T. You can use VOIP over your internet connection too, but then personally, I’d just use a cell phone. I normally like to get a backup real landline. $13.50/month and you can get $6/month and $4/month international plan.