While there is good cause to relax a little once exchange has taken place, movers can use the time before completion to plan for everyday life in a new home. When it comes to utilities – and we are including gas, electricity, water, broadband, TV packages and landline telephone services for the purpose of this blog – moving home presents an opportunity to source a new supplier or find a better deal.
Ensuring there’s heat, light & power from day 1
Don’t panic! Unless the former occupiers were in terrible debt, your new home will still be connected to the grid and gas mains using the supplier the previous occupants had a contract with. If you didn’t find out in advance who that was, you can find the incumbent gas supplier here and your electricity supplier here.
Communication/cable services will need advance planning
You may not be connected to any telephone communication/cable services when you move in, which may come as a shock to home workers, Netflix addicts and children who love to game. You can choose to transfer your existing package and suppliers to your new property, or start again from scratch – using the previous occupants’ supplier (this maybe quicker to reconnect) or by using a comparison site to find a new supplier (possibly resulting in cheaper bills).
Don’t let contracts catch you out
Be sure to talk to your current suppliers about where you are in your contract and make your decision to stick or switch based on any financial ‘early exit’ penalties you may face. You should also take into account any new, longer contract they want you to sign versus any money you might save by switching suppliers. Whichever route you choose, research and plan in advance, as it can take 1-2 weeks – or even longer - to arrange TV, landline and broadband connections.
Read meters as soon as you move in
It’s easy to let excitement and stress get the better of you on moving day but there is one job that needs performing practically as soon as you step through the door of your new home – meter readings. Establish before moving day where the meters are located and ensure you have any keys necessary to access them. Take a photo of the readings and any meter box numbers using your smartphone (don’t forget the water meter) and send them to the relevant suppliers on day one.
Beware of standard variable rates for utilities
It is industry practice to put all new energy customers on standard variable rates when they move into a new property and these are often the most expensive tariffs. There are a number of choices open to new homeowners but it’s best to take action quickly so you’re not paying over the odds for gas and electricity.
- Do nothing and stay on the current supplier’s standard variable rate
- Contact the current supplier and asked to be switched to its most affordable tariff
- Contact the supplier used in your previous property and ask for the same tariff to be carried over to the new address
- Find a completely new supplier and tariff using an online comparison site
Before you move out
As well as setting up supplies and services in your new property, it is essential to draw a line under your usage in your outgoing property. Here’s what to do before you move out:
- Tell your gas, electricity, water, broadband, TV packages and landline suppliers the date of your very last day in the property. You’ll also need to decide whether you want to close the accounts and settle up, or take the supplier with you – keeping your account open in the process.
- Take gas, electricity and water meter readings as you leave the property, filing these to your suppliers as soon as you can. This stops the usage of the property’s news owners being charged to your account and allows the utility companies to accurately calculate your final bill.
- Tell your existing suppliers where you are moving too. This way they can keep in contact if you’re taking the supplier with you, or forward on your final bill if you’re closing the accounts.
Don’t forget to also contact your local authority with regards to your council tax and change of address.
If you need any more advice about utility and communication services when moving home, please contact the Open Property Group team today.
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