What space do you land on if you roll a double 6 on your first turn in a game of Monopoly? Since you’ve read the title, you can probably guess that it’s the Electric Company – otherwise it’d be a really strange way to start this guide.
The Electric Company is the first of the Monopoly utilities you can get to during a game, and it’s one that is hotly debated by people who take the game seriously. After all, it’s one of the cheapest properties in the game and the amount of rent you get is never sky-high.
So how does the space work, and is it worth adding the property during your collection when you next play? In this guide, I’ll give you all the info you need to make up your own mind.
What is the Electric Company in Monopoly?
The Electric Company is one of two utilities in Monopoly. It’s a property that players can buy and charge rent for, but it works differently from typical properties with a standard rent. Instead, rent is based on the dice roll that caused players to land on the space.
There are two utility properties in Monopoly, with the second being the Water Works. Both have the same value and earn the same rent.
Neither generates a large amount of money for the owner but they can still be useful throughout the game, even when much larger amounts of rent are being passed back and forth.
The property is located on the second side of the board, just two spaces after the Jail space.
This means it actually has a lower percentage chance of being landed on, since the most-visited space in the game tends to be Jail. There are so many ways to end up in the Jail corner, including landing on Just Visiting, landing on Go To Jail, rolling three doubles and getting a Chance or Community Chest card that sends you there.
It doesn’t mean you’ll never land on it, just that there’s a marginally lower chance of landing on the Electric Company than there is of landing on Water Works.
Probability of landing on Electric Company = 2.604%
Probability of landing on Water Works = 2.807%
How does the Electric Company work in Monopoly?
The Electric Company works differently to most other properties on the Monopoly board. Instead of a flat rent, it changes depending on the dice roll of the player that landed on the space, so rent changes every time someone lands on it.
The only other property on the board to work in the same way is the Water Works. Every other property has a flat rent that is charged to every player, which only increases in set amounts when a color set is complete or houses are built on it.
You can’t build on the Electric Company. The only way to increase the rent you collect for the property is to own the Water Works as well. Owning both utilities changes the amount of rent you charge each time.
Beyond that, the Electric Company is similar to other properties. You can mortgage it, if you need funds to pay rent, and unmortgage it whenever you want by paying the half-rent plus 10% fee.
You can also trade the Electric Company with other players.
It’s worth noting that the utilities are considered a color set, not just in Monopoly but in other related games too, such as Monopoly Bid or Monopoly Deal. This makes them popular in those games, where the aim is to complete color sets quickly, since only two properties are needed.
What does it mean if you land on Electric Company in Monopoly?
If you land on Electric Company and it is not owned, you must either buy it or auction it with the other players – just like any other property. If you land on it and it is owned by another player, you must pay rent based on the dice roll you just made to land on it.
The Electric Company works just like other properties when it comes to most game rules, it’s only in the calculation of the rent where things are different.
How much is rent for the Electric Company in Monopoly?
Rent for the Electric Company is calculated based on the dice roll of the player landing on the space. If the owner of the Electric Company owns just that utility, the dice roll is multiplied by 4. If the owner has both utilities, the dice roll is multiplied by 10.
To make that make sense, let’s use some real examples.
The maximum you can roll in a game of Monopoly at any one time is 12, when you get a double 6. If you were to start on Go and you rolled a 12, you would land on the Electric Company.
If the owner has Electric Company but NOT Water Works, the multiplier is 4.
So 12 x 4 = $48 owed in rent.
But if the owner has both utilities, the multiplier is 10.
12 x 10 = $120 owed in rent.
Of course, that means the amount of rent depends entirely on the roll.
Say the player started on Jail/Just Visiting and rolled a two – snake eyes.
If they did that and the owner of Electric Company didn’t own Water Works, the rent would be tiny – 2 x 4 = $8 owed in rent.
If the owner of the property had both utilities, that multiplier becomes 10.
2 x 10 = $20 owed in rent.
Can you put houses on Electric Company in Monopoly?
You can’t build houses or hotels on Electric Company or on Water Works. Once you own a utility, the only way to increase the amount of rent you collect for it is to make sure you own the other utility, so that the multiplier becomes 10.
This also means that the maximum rent you can ever collect for the Electric Company is $120, which falls some way behind the other properties when they have hotels.
Is Electric Company good in Monopoly?
So we know now that Electric Company is only ever going to earn you a maximum of $120 per turn. Does that mean it’s not worth your investment?
Actually, I think that you should buy it. There’s no guaranteed right answer, but I think that it makes sense to grab at least one of the utilities as soon as possible, ideally both.
Here’s my work….
The Electric Company is one of the cheapest properties in the game at just $150. So you won’t actually take too long to earn it back.
The average dice roll in a game of Monopoly is 7 – that’s the score you are most likely to get when rolling two dice.
So let’s use that average to assume that every time someone lands on your Electric Company space, they are going to owe you $28 (7 x 4).
To earn back the cost of the Electric Company, you therefore only need someone to land on it 6 times, which would earn you $168. You’d actually get an $18 profit just from that.
And it gets even better if you own both utilities. The total cost to buy both is $300 but on average, you’ll earn $70 every time someone lands on one of them.
That means that within 5 turns of someone landing on either utility, you’ll have made back your money and earned a $50 profit. And then every time after that someone lands on the space, you’re just making profit.
That’s what we call return on investment. It makes sense to buy the utilities because you’re more likely to earn more than the cost of them back.
And when you compare them against other properties, you’ll see that they all need players to land on them more to get that return.
A breakeven point of 5 or 6 landings is great compared to the properties listed in this table:
|Property||Standalone cost||Standalone rent||No. of visits to break even||Cost of the set||Rent when set owned||No. of visits to break even|
|St Charles Place||140||10||14||440||20||22|
|St. James Place||180||14||13||560||28||20|
|New York Avenue||200||16||13||560||32||18|
|North Carolina Avenue||300||26||12||920||52||18|
Of course, most of these properties can be built on, so you can earn much larger sums later in the game. But it shows you that only the railroads are actually faster at getting you a return of what you’ve spent, and that’s only if you own all 4.
For most other properties, you’re looking at players landing on them at least 12 times, maybe as many as 30!
Don’t forget this is based on the average earnings of $70. It could be slower, if players always land on your utilities with low rolls, but it could be faster too.
In fact, it’s one of the fastest and cheapest ways to generate a potential $120 of rent in the game. You could earn that in a single rent claim!
Here’s what you need to do to earn $120 from the other property sets…
|Color Set||How to earn $120 in rent||Minimum cost to achieve|
|Brown||4 houses on Mediterranean Avenue, 3 houses on Baltic Avenue||$420 (3 houses on each with player landing on Baltic Avenue)|
|Light Blue||3 houses on all properties||$620|
|Purple||2 houses on all properties||$1040|
|Orange||2 houses on all properties||$1160|
|Red||2 houses on all properties||$1580|
|Yellow||1 house on Marvin Gardens, 2 houses on all other properties||$1250 (1 house on each with player landing on Marvin Gardens)|
|Green||1 house on all properties||$1520|
|Dark Blue||1 house on both properties||$1150|
|Railroads||Own all railroads||$800|
Earlier in the game, the utilities are definitely more useful for generating money, when the smaller amounts matter.
But later in the game, if you have properties with houses or hotels, you’ll be earning a lot more when someone lands on them. Does that render the Electric Company useless in the later stages?
It doesn’t – because when Monopoly games get into their final turns, the amount of rent owed for landing on a colored property is often huge. So every space you own becomes essentially another Free Parking.
And the Electric Company is, therefore, one of the cheapest bonus Free Parking spaces you can get.
It won’t be the same every game, but I think it makes complete sense to buy the Electric Company if you get the chance.
It doesn’t cost a lot, and you can quite easily make the money back – which immediately renders it useful.
After all, would you rather have that $150 in cash, or the $150 + more that the property earns you in rent? Especially as, if you don’t buy it, you might end up paying $150 or more in rent when landing on the space yourself!
Even if you only buy it to give yourself another space in the end game where you aren’t paying rent, it’s probably worth it.
And now that you understand how it works, and why it’s valuable, hopefully, you can use that to your advantage in your next game.