In the United States, at least in New England, to sign up for electrical service, the applicant must either be a US business with an EIN or a private person with a social security number.

What if a foreign entity or company needs electrical service and has neither of those things?

For example, a foreign consulate will need electrical service and for legal reasons will not have an EIN, and of course the ambassador or consular official managing the facility will not have a social security number.

  • 2
    Your assumption that the foreign consulate won't have an EIN seems questionable. Foreign consulates employ local staff. Furthermore, foreign ambassadors and consular officials may be able to get a social security number for "a valid non-work reason". This question may be better suited to Law.
    – phoog
    Oct 22, 2018 at 16:01
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    It's more likely that an EIN or SSN is expected by the power company's front-line customer-service staff (since that's likely all they're trained for), but someone higher up is probably aware that it's not actually required.
    – brhans
    Oct 22, 2018 at 17:06
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    According to this USA today article [usatoday.com/story/news/2017/10/28/…, this is indeed a problem for immigrants in some parts of the USA.
    – ajd
    Oct 22, 2018 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


Many utilities, but not all small municipal utility companies like those in Alexander Dunlap's link, will accept an alternate form of identification such as a driver's license number or passport. They may also require a large deposit in such circumstances. The ID and deposit requirements may be defined in state utility regulations or may be a matter of utility policy.

While it's not required, the US State Department encourages foreign consulate to obtain an EIN for exactly these sorts of reasons, so I imagine they'd likely do that, particularly if it's the only way they can get electricity.

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