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SimCity 2013 Utilities Guide – Power, Water, Sewage, Waste Disposal


As every experienced SimCity player knows, city planning takes precedence over actual building. Building without proper planning can prove to be disastrous in the long run.

However, city planning does not only go as far as designating commercial areas and residencies, etc, more importantly city planning involves managing the utilities which will actually make the difference between a functioning society and dirty shacks inhabited by equally dirty hobos.

For more help on SimCity, read our Zoning, Tourism and Disasters Guide.

Read on for tips on how to manage the various utilities offered to you in SimCity:

SimCity Utilities – Power, Water, Sewage and Waste Dispostal

Power

Yeah, everyone knows how to connect power lines to buildings from power plants but there is much more to it than that. You can manage the power consumption and production rates in various ways such as quite obviously building a new power plant.

Alternatively, you can borrow power from neighboring cities. Whatever way you choose to go and whichever power plant you choose to build, you have to keep an eye on the power gauge which you can find on the right side in the info tab of the power menu.

If you are consuming more power you need to provide the supply immediately and if you are producing more you can even choose to sell it to neighboring cities. The power menu will provide you with all the tools necessary to monitor the city’s power supply including a map showing the flow throughout the city. On to the next part, which plant to build and where to build it:

Wind Power Plant:

  • Cost: 8,000
  • Operational Cost: 80/hour
  • Production Rate: 3 MW in 10 mph wind
  • Pollution Rate: None

The wind power plant is perfect when you are starting out your city and you don’t need that much power. Not only is wind power cheap but you also don’t need to concern yourself with pollution as you do with other power alternatives. Also, wind farms need cleared areas with good wind pressure which might be hard to implement in bigger cities.

The power plant can be extended via service roads and turbine modules. Make sure to place turbines as close to each other as possible in high wind areas because if spread out the wind farm can take a lot of your precious land.

You can also make use of slopes where you won’t normally be able to build other building which will be a really efficient use of space. The obvious disadvantage is the low production rate so as the game progresses you will have to explore other alternatives.

In order to optimize the power plant and access the modules, you need to complete the Vertical Turbine research through a university.

Modules:

Wind Power Sign:

  • Cost: 200
  • Operational Cost: None
  • Maximum Modules: 1

The wind power sign has no actual functionality, it is just a decoration that comes as a bonus with the power plant.

Service Road:

  • Cost: None
  • Operational Cost: None

The service road can be extended as you see fit as they are free and there are no strict limits. Service roads can be user to extend workers’ access to additional turbines.

Small horizontal turbine:

  • Cost: 5,000
  • Operational Cost: 40/hour
  • Production Rate: 3 MW in 10 mph wind
  • Pollution Rate: None
  • Maximum Modules: 24

Requires connection with a service road. Provides a small amount of power.

Large horizontal turbine:

  • Cost: 10,000
  • Operational Cost: 60/hour
  • Production Rate: 5.1 MW in 10 mph wind
  • Pollution Rate: None
  • Maximum Modules: 20

Must be connected to a service road. Provides moderate power.

Vertical turbine:

  • Cost: 20,000
  • Operational Cost: 170/hour
  • Production Rate: 15 MW in 10 mph wind
  • Pollution Rate: None
  • Maximum Modules: None

Prerequisites:

  • University in the vicinity.
  • University with School of Engineering in the vicinity.
  • Complete research at a university in the vicinity.
  • Connection to service road

Produces a huge amount of electricity to compensate for all the additional requirements. Also, they look really cool.

Coal Power Plant:

  • Cost: 17,000
  • Operational Cost: 450/hour
  • Production Rate: 75 MW
  • Coal Burn Rate: 4.32 tons/day
  • Pollution Rate: High

The coal power plant gives a lot of electricity for the relatively cheap price. It can power big cities for a small price but of course it comes with its own drawbacks. The pollution produced by the power plant is one of the highest amongst the games various infrastructures.

You can add costly modules to counteract this. However, you still need to take precautions and place the power plant away from residences and populated areas.

Make sure the wind direction isn’t blowing all the pollution towards your city. Another drawback is that the source of the power isn’t renewable and will cost you a lot. Importing coal which will be the default option is relatively expensive so try to find a local coal mine and connect the power plant to it.

Modules:

Coal Power Plant Sign:

  • Cost: 200
  • Operational Cost: None
  • Maximum Modules: 1
  • Offers no actual functionality. Just a decoration.

Dirty Coal Generator:

  • Cost: 5,000
  • Operational Cost: 425/hour
  • Production Rate: 75 MW
  • Coal Burn Rate: 4.32 tons/day
  • Pollution Rate: High
  • Maximum Modules: 3

Cheap in production. Requires a moderate amount of coal to operate. High pollution.

Advanced Coal Generator:

  • Cost: 15,000
  • Operational Cost: 375/hour
  • Production Rate: 75 MW
  • Coal Burn Rate: 8.64 tons/day
  • Pollution Rate: Medium
  • Maximum Modules: 3

Costs more and requires more coal, however, it has lower operational cost and produces less pollution.

Clean Coal Generator:

  • Cost: 20,000
  • Operational Cost: 600/hour
  • Production Rate: 75 MW
  • Coal Burn Rate: 5.76 tons/day
  • Air Pollution: Low
  • Maximum Modules: 1

Prerequisites:

  • University in vicinity
  • University with School of Engineering in vicinity
  • Complete research in a university in the vicinity

This is as clean as coal power production gets. High operational cost but low pollution. Also, you can build only one.

Oil Power Plant:

  • Cost: 27,500
  • Operational Cost: 856/hour
  • Production Rate: 150 MW
  • Oil Burn Rate: 864K BPD
  • Pollution Rate: High

The Oil Power Plant is very similar to the coal power plant but comes with a bigger price tag and produces more electricity to compensate for it. In the default state, it produces twice the amount of energy produced by the coal power plant.

Produces high pollution so like in the case of the coal power plant, make sure to place it in an appropriate place. You can get modules to limit the pollution. It is one of the most cost-efficient power solutions especially if you connect it to a local oil well which minimizes operation cost.

Modules:

Oil Power Plant Sign:

  • Cost: 200
  • Operational Cost: None
  • Maximum Modules: 1
  • No actual functionality. Just a decoration.

Conventional Oil Generator:

  • Cost: 7,500
  • Operational Cost: 756/hour
  • Production Rate: 150 MW
  • Oil Burn Rate: 360K BPD
  • Pollution Rate: High
  • Maximum Modules: 4

A conventional oil generator, produces a lot of electricity and pollution.

Combustion Turbine Generator:

  • Cost: 20,000
  • Operational Cost: 1,185/hour
  • Production Rate: 150 MW
  • Oil Burn Rate: 120K BPD
  • Pollution Rate: Medium
  • Maximum Modules: 3

Higher operational and building cost but consumes less oil and produces less pollution.

Clean Oil Generator:

  • Cost: 27,000
  • Operational Cost: 1,295/hour
  • Production Rate: 150 MW
  • Oil Burn Rate: 240K BPD
  • Polluting Rate: Low
  • Maximum Modules: 3

Prerequisites:

  • University in the vicinity
  • University with School of Engineering in the vicinity
  • Complete research at a university in the vicinity

Highest building and operation cost but consumes moderate amount of oil and produce only a little pollution.

Solar Power Plant:

  • Cost: 33,000
  • Operational Cost: 145/hour
  • Production Rate: 4 MW during peak hours
  • Pollution Rate: None

The solar power plant like the wind power plant is suited to smaller cities because of its low production rate.

It produces no pollution and eats up a lot of space like the wind power plant but unlike the wind power plant it has a high initial cost. Also the electricity is only produced during the peak hours of 5 AM to 8 PM; hope it’s not a cloudy day.

You can extend the power plant with modules researched at a university.

Modules:

Solar Power Sign:

  • Cost: 200
  • Operational Cost: None
  • Maximum Modules: 1
  • No actual functionality, just a decoration.

Fixed Solar Array:

  • Cost: 16,000
  • Operational Cost: 105/hour
  • Production Rate: 4 MW during peak hours
  • Pollution Rate: None
  • Maximum Modules: 16

The cheap bread and better of every solar power plant. Take up a large space considering you need a lot of them to produce a decent amount of electricity.

Concentrated Solar Array:

  • Cost: 40,000
  • Operational Cost: 320/hour
  • Production Rate: 12.51 MW during peak hours
  • Pollution Rate: None
  • Maximum Modules: 16

Prerequisites:

  • University in vicinity
  • University with School of Science in the vicinity
  • Complete research at a university in the vicinity

Take a little space but provide a decent amount of energy. Expensive but take up less space than the basic panel, produce more electricity and are more efficient.

Nuclear Power Plant:

  • Cost: 145.000
  • Operational Cost: 1,300/hour
  • Production Rate: 300 MW
  • Pollution Rate: None

The nuclear power plant is the dream solution for all your energy problems. However, the plant requires a lot of continuous attention and resources to work efficiently. It is really expensive but produces the appropriate amount of energy and of course, no pollution.

There are a whole lot of requirements for the plant, however, you need educated workers, large amounts of water and a large flow of income to keep up with the operation costs. You will need to build a water pumping station to keep up with the demand. Borrowing from other cities can prove costly and unreliable.

You also need a lot of universities and colleges to provide an educated work force for the plant. Don’t rush for the plant once you have the money, make sure your city is ready for a nuclear power plant.

Beware, if you cause a meltdown say goodbye to the countless hours you poured into making your city. Click on the plant to see if it is safe for operation.

Modules:

Nuclear Power Plant Sign:

  • Cost: 200
  • Operational Cost: None
  • Maximum Modules: 1

No actual functionality, just a decoration and bragging rights.

Gen 1 Thermal Reactor:

  • Cost: 45,000
  • Operational Cost: 1,200/hour
  • Production Rate: 300 MW
  • Pollution Rate: None
  • Maximum Modules: 3

A standard reactor; gives jobs to many, consumes a lot of water and produces clean, respectable amount of electricity.

Gen 2 Thermal Reactor:

  • Cost: 75,000
  • Operational Cost: 2,300/hour
  • Production Rate: 400 MW
  • Pollution Rate: None
  • Maximum Modules: 3

A more advanced reactor, requires more water and skilled workers but gives more energy to compensate for it.

Fast Neutron Reactor:

  • Cost: 130,000
  • Operational Cost: 3,200/hour
  • Production Rate: 600 MW
  • Pollution Rate: None

Prerequisites:

  • University in the vicinity
  • University with School of Science in the vicinity
  • Complete research at a university in the region

The best nuclear reactor money can buy. Uses a large amount of water, gives jobs to countless and produces the highest electricity of all power plant structures.

Power Utilities Tips

  • If not getting enough power, RCI building will be abandoned.
  • Power Plants can import resources directly from the global market unless you provide local sources.
  • Always try to provide resources locally as it is much cheaper.
  • You can sell excess power and neighboring cities will buy more and more power depending on how much the demand grows.

Water

Water is essential for not only the residents of your city but also the functioning of various building. You can access the water table underground by finding aquifers with the help of the information in the water menu, and building a water tower or pumping station on top of the aquifer.

To get a clue on the supply and demand, check out the info tab of the water menu. Make sure you always have enough water, if you don’t, build another water tower or pumping station. You can also see the flow of water on the map in the menu. If you have a surplus, you can even sell the water to other cities.

A problem that may arise is that of water contamination. Make sure your water supply infrastructure is far away from ground pollution sources such as garbage dumps and sewage outflow pipes. You will also be able to build the water filtration module to make sure the water is clean. Once the germ spreads it could result in an epidemic.

Water Tower:

  • Cost: 3,500
  • Operational Cost: 100/hour
  • Average Water Pump Rate: 6 Kgal/hour

The water tower is the bread and butter of your city’s water supply. Cheap and easy to build, the tower can even be placed on uneven areas where nothing else can be built. When placing the tower, look for suitable aquifers underground, remember, the darker the blue, the more water available to use.

A thorough coverage of water towers can easily keep your city supplied but make sure not to place them near sources of ground pollution.

Water pumping Station:

  • Cost: 24,000
  • Operational Cost: 400/hour
  • Average Water Pump Rate: 80 Kgal/hour

Prerequisites:

  • Town Hall in the vicinity
  • Town Hall upgraded to city hall in the vicinity
  • Department of Utilities in the vicinity

As your city expands, you will eventually need to build a water pumping station. Unlike the water tower, you aren’t supposed to build a network of stations, rather it is a singular high source of water that you can build near any large area of your city.

You don’t even have to worry about contamination, given that you install the water filtration module. Make sure to replace the basic water pump in the vicinity if you choose to do so.

Modules:

Basic Water Pump:

  • Cost: 30,00
  • Operational Cost: 200/hour
  • Average Water Pump Rate: 80 Kgal/hour
  • Maximum Modules: 6

If you need to extract more water, you can always install an additional water pump.

Filtration Pump:

  • Cost: 60,000
  • Operational Cost: 400/hour
  • Average Water Pump Rate: 80 Kgal/hour
  • Maximum Modules: 6 (including the one that comes with the base)

The filtration pump quite simply filters the water so your sims don’t get sick.

Water Utilities Tips

  • If not given enough water, RCI building will be abandoned.
  • The Dark Blue areas provide the most water.
  • Rain replenishes the water table.
  • You can sell excess water.
  • As the demand increases cities will buy more water from you.

Sewage

Sewage is an obvious problem for your city. Once your residents get access to water, they start producing raw sewage. The raw sewage needs to be dealt with or otherwise, it will cause ground pollution which will in turn cause sickness amongst the population.

You can keep an eye on the flow of sewage from the sewage menu and can also see the sewage treatment gauge from the info tab. There are two ways to deal with sewage, you can build a sewage outflow pipe which can eject sewage to an unused area or you can properly dispose of the sewage by treating it in the sewage treatment plant.

Once you build a treatment plant, make sure 100% of the sewage is treated, otherwise, the excess sewage will cause ground pollution. If all of the sewage is not being treated, you have to build more infrastructure to deal with the excess sewage.

Keep checking back after extensive building that your city is equipped to deal with the sewage. You can also pay neighboring cities to provide their treatment facilities.

Sewage Outflow Pipe:

  • Cost: 3,500
  • Operational Cost: 100/hour
  • Maximum Sewage Flow Rate: 11.7 Kgal/hour
  • Maximum Ground Pollution Rate: 120,000 ppm/hour

This facility will still produce ground pollution but allows you to direct it away from residencies and other populated areas. The ground pollution spreads in a limited radius around the facility so you can safely place your buildings beyond reach. Remember that the water table can still be contaminated and the germs can spread through the water. This is your only option until you build the Department of Utilities.

Sewage Treatment Plant:

  • Cost: 64,000
  • operational Cost: 400/hour
  • Maximum Sewage Treatment Rate: 700Kgal/hour
  • Maximum Sewage Flow Rate: 300 Kgal/hour
  • Ground Pollution Output: None

Prerequisites:

  • Town Hall in the vicinity
  • Town Hall upgraded to City Hall in the vicinity
  • Department of Utilities in the vicinity

The plant provides the proper way to dispose of the waste. Make sure no sewage is left untreated and our sims will live a happy and healthy life free of germs. You can add additional modules if the sewage is going untreated.

Modules:

Sewage Treatment Tank:

  • Cost: 40,000
  • Operational Cost: 200/hour
  • Maximum Sewage Treatment Rate: 700 Kgal/hour
  • Maximum Modules: 7 (including the one that comes with the base)
  • Increases your sewage treatment plant’s capacity so that you are getting the most out of one plant.

Sewage Utilities Tips

  • Sewage Outflow Pipes don’t treat the sewage but collect it.
  • Uncollected sewage will cause ground pollution throughout the area.
  • You can get your sewage treated by other cities. You can sell you treatment services to other cities.

Waste Disposal

Sewage is not the only waste being produced by your city every day; there is also garbage. Garbage, much like sewage, accumulates over time and causes ground pollution. If not dealt with, germs can spread through the population. Therefore, it is necessary to build a garbage dump when you are starting out. Later on, you can consider recycling and a proper garbage collection network.

You can use the info tab of the waste disposal menu to check how you’re doing. If your garbage disposal team has collected all the garbage cans then you have nothing to fear. If not, you can build more waste disposal services. You can also build individual modules such as the recycling truck garage to make sure your coverage is optimum.

In the waste disposal menu you can also see the map which shows the garbage collection trucks driving around your city. They are marked by blue and a garbage truck is distinguished from the recycling truck by the icon that appears on the top of the trucks. The trucks start their round at 6 AM and make their way through the city. You can also check to see that the garbage trucks aren’t causing traffic problems as that is a possibility.

Garbage Dump:

  • Cost: 9,000
  • Operational Cost: 300/hour
  • Waste Capacity: 40 tons
  • Ground Pollution Output: 7,000 ppm/hour

The garbage dump is, unfortunately, the only way to dispose of garbage unless you make use of another city’s garbage disposal. The garbage dump obviously produces ground pollution, much like the sewage outflow pipe, in fact, it might be a good idea to have both your outflow pipe and garbage dump in the same area, away from your city’s population.

The stock garbage dump sends out only one truck which makes a round of the city, dropping by each house to collect the garbage. Once the garbage production exceeds that which one truck can handle, you will need additional modules.

Modules:

Service Road:

  • Cost: Free
  • Operational Cost: None

The service road can be used to extend your garbage dump. It can be used for garbage trucks to access additional garbage zones if you have built any.

Garbage Truck Garage:

  • Cost: 5,000
  • Operational Cost: 100/hour
  • Vehicle Capacity: 1.5 tons
  • Maximum Modules: 8 (including the one that comes with the base)

A garage for another garbage truck to extend your coverage and collect garbage faster. If you aren’t collecting all the garbage cans, you might need another garage.

Dump Zones:

  • Cost: Free
  • Operational Cost: None
  • Waste Capacity: 40 tons
  • Ground Pollution Output: 3,500 ppm/hour
  • Maximum Modules: 8 (including the one that comes with the base)

If your first garbage dump is full and can’t handle more garbage coming in, you should build another dump zone to increase your capacity. Make sure to connect it to a service road.

Garbage Incinerator:

  • Cost: 25,000
  • Operational Cost: 300/hour
  • Garbage Burn Rate: 6 tons/hour
  • Air Pollution Rate: High
  • Maximum Modules: 4

The garbage incinerator quite obviously incinerates your garbage. If you don’t want any more garbage piling up in dumps, you might want to consider an incinerator. It turns ground pollution into air pollution so make sure that the wind doesn’t blow the fumes over your city.

Recycling Center:

  • Cost: 111,000
  • Operational Cost: 700/hour
  • Waste Capacity: 20 tons

Prerequisites:

  • Town Hall in the vicinity
  • Town Hall upgraded to City Hall in the vicinity
  • Department of Utilities in the vicinity.

An intelligent way to reduce the amount of garbage your city produces. You can’t recycle everything so you will still need garbage dumps to get rid of that which you cannot. Like the Garbage Dump, the Recycling Center also dispatches a single truck to stop by each household to collect recyclable waste product.

There is also a single truck to deliver the recycled materials to businesses, Great Works sites, Trade Depots and Trade Ports.

The recycled materials can be used by local industries or sold off. The Recycling Center comes with only one plastic reclamation line. If you want to recycle other materials, you will need to build more lines. Similarly, you can build more garages to dispatch more trucks.

Modules:

Alloy Reclamation Line:

  • Cost: 25,000
  • Operational Cost: 400/hour
  • Garbage Burn Rate: 0.1 tons/hour
  • Maximum Modules: 4
  • Gives you the ability to recycle alloys.

Metal Reclamation Line:

  • Cost: 25,000
  • Operational Cost: 400/hour
  • Garbage Burn Rate: 0.1 tons/hour
  • Maximum Modules: 4

Allows you to recycle metal in the recycle center.

Plastic Reclamation Line:

  • Cost: 25,000
  • Operational Cost: 400/hour
  • Garbage Burn Rate: 0.1 tons/hour
  • Maximum Modules: 4 (including the one that comes with the base)

Additional plastic reclamation line to recycle more plastic.

Recycling Collection Truck Garage:

  • Cost: 3,000
  • Operational Cost: 100/hour
  • Vehicle Capacity: 4.5 tons
  • Maximum Modules: 8 (including the one that comes with the base)

Garage to add another recycling truck to collect recyclable garbage and increase your coverage.

Reclamation Delivery Truck Garage:

  • Cost: 3,000
  • Operational Cost: 100/hour
  • Vehicle Capacity: 1 ton
  • Maximum Modules: 4 (including the one that comes with the base)

Gives you another truck to distribute the recycled material to businesses that need them.

Waste Disposal Tips

  • You can sell your garbage disposal services to other neighboring cities.
  • The amount of recyclable garbage is proportional to how educated your sims are. Educated sims can recycle up to 100% of their garbage while uneducated sims recycle only 25%.
  • As the education increases and your recycling centers become more efficient, you might want to cut down on investing in the garbage dump to save unnecessary costs.
  • You cannot sell recycled materials directly from the Recycling Center. It must be taken to trade outlets by the delivery truck.
  • Homeless people are attracted to building with garbage and this in turn makes them less effective.
  • The Recycling Center cannot replace the Garbage Dump.

How to Manage Power, Water Sewage and Waste Disposal

Providing all the utilities to your sims is vital to keep them happy and make your city effective. If you are lacking in some area, the sims will protest outside the city hall. Be sure to check your sims from time to time to see if you are forgetting something.

Utility Buildings reduce land value and produce pollution. It is best to keep your commercial and residential areas away from them. Industries aren’t as affected by the pollution and low land value so they can still be placed nearby. However, the best practice is to keep these facilities on the edges of your city.

The garbage and recycling trucks aren’t actually paid for by cities, rather you can volunteer to send your trucks to help others out. Your trucks receive a small bonus for each collected garbage but it doesn’t cost the other city any money.

Be sure to keep checking back on the coverage of utilities and their effectiveness as your city grows. Remember to make use of better facilities as your sims become more educated and do research as required.