People put two names on a utility bill when both parties, such as roommates or business partners, share the responsibility for the bill or when a legal representative, such as a lawyer or caregiver, takes over the responsibility. In addition to paying the bill, the second person also becomes the contact for emergencies and can make changes to the account including cancelling. Once both parties agree to share responsibility, putting two names on a utility bill is not difficult—it usually only requires that both parties inform the utility company over the phone or in person.
Call the utility company together and choose the “speak with a customer service representative” option or a similar option such as “account management” or “billing representative.” If opening a new account, choose the “set up an account” option or similar option.
Answer the customer service representative’s account questions. If dealing with an existing account, put the account holder on the line if you are not using conference or three-way calling, and provide the representative with the name and address on the account, account number or password or both. If setting up a new account, either person can provide the address.
Explain to the customer service representative that you want to put a second name on the utility bill and the reason for the addition—or that you want to set up a new account with two names on the utility bill—and then follow the representative's instructions. Every utility company uses slightly different procedures. The representative may ask both parties to go to a local branch office or simply may require verbal confirmation on the call, sometimes with a transfer to a recording or third-party witness line.
Go to your local utility branch office together if required. Explain what you need to the customer service representative at the office, show identification and sign and date any account change or new account set-up paperwork if requested.
To protect the account security, after putting a second name on a utility bill, place a password on the account for both parties to use when calling to make changes or inquire about billing.
Never put your name to another person’s utility bill unless you intend to take on the financial responsibilities of the account. If one person pays the balance owed on the account and then fails to pay again, the utility company can hold the second person equally responsible and accountable for the payment.