With so much going on when moving home, it will be down to you to transfer the utilities when buying a house and this checklist will help you.
Amongst the hectic activity such as packing up your belongings and organising the removals, you will need to transfer or organise the utilities so at least the electricity and gas will be working when you move in.
This may also be an opportunity to switch to a new utility provider so you are not paying more than is necessary on your bills.
When should I contact utilities when moving?
There are two issues over when you should contact utilities when moving and they are:
- You will need to notify your current utility supplier at least 48 hours before moving
- Tell them the address you are moving to for posting your final bill.
Your current provider will then arrange for a meter reading or ask that you take one on the day of your move. It’s a good idea to use your smartphone to take a picture as evidence as well.
This means that you won’t be paying for electricity or gas, and should there be a water meter installed then water as well, after you have left the property.
How do I transfer utilities?
You should arrange for the utilities to be working when you move in so contact your current provider – or search for a new one using a utility price comparison website – to get the cheapest deals. They will then have the bills sorted in your name from the date you move in. To transfer, you should:
- Contact the current occupant (or ask the estate agent) who currently supplies the property
- Contact the supplier
- Give them your details for a new account
- Tell them when you are moving in
- Take a meter reading
- Give the supplier the meter reading
- And that’s it!
If you are happy with your current provider, you can call and tell them you are moving and want them to continue being your provider. They will still need the meter readings from your current home and the one you move into.
Moving into a new property
It is crucial that one of the first things you do when moving into your new home is to take electricity and gas meter readings on that day.
Again, it’s a good idea to take photographs of the meter so you can prove that the figures are correct when you moved in.
This also means that you will only pay for the electricity and gas that you use and not for the previous occupants.
You’ll need to know which energy company is supplying your new home and if you don’t arrange for a new supplier to take over, then you could be moved onto a deemed contract which tends to have higher rates.
If, for some reason, the person living in your new home or the estate agent does not know who the utility suppliers are, then it’s easy enough to find who the gas provider is by visiting the Find My Supplier website.
How do I find out who supplies electricity to a new house?
Unlike the situation for finding out who supplies the gas, finding the electricity supplier is more complicated. If you can’t ask the previous owner, then you need to call one of these regional distributor contact numbers based on the geographic location of your home:
- Central and South Scotland
0330 1010 300
- North West England
0870 7510 093
- North East England
0845 6013 268
- North Scotland
0345 026 2554
- North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Shropshire
033 0101 0300
- South England
0845 0262 554
- South Wales, South West England, Midlands
0845 6015 972
- London, South East & East England
0845 6015 467
0845 070 7172
Moving into a house with a prepayment meter
There is also an issue for those who are moving into a house that has a prepayment meter because you need to arrange for a new top-up card or key to be sent to you before moving in.
You may also need to look into the reasons why a prepayment meter has been fitted and it may be because the previous occupant struggled to pay bills or they simply preferred paying with a meter.
The downside to having a prepayment meter is that the rates may be higher so you could negotiate and have a normal meter fitted and pay by direct debit. (Though you can also switch to another provider offering a better prepayment meter rate).
Essentially, the prepayment meter means you pay for a utility before using it whereas a credit meter allows you to pay for the utilities you have used.
Setting up gas and electricity in a new home
For a new-build property, you will need to speak with the developer to see if there is a supplier in place already for the water, gas, and electricity. You will need to call the suppliers to set up a new account with them.
Again, ensure you take a meter reading and photographs of the meter on the day you move in – do not presume that the developer will do this beforehand.
Forgot to take meter reading when moved in
In all the excitement of moving into a new home, you may forget to take meter readings when you move in.
Firstly, you should ask the previous occupants whether they took meter readings when they moved out – it’s normally good sense to do so. If so, they will have informed the supplier of these details.
If not, then you have to take meter readings on the day you realise and explain the situation to the supplier. The issue will be that you may end up paying a utility bill for the previous occupants (or a small proportion of it based on their previous use) because no-one bothered to check the meters and tell the energy supplier.
Remember: It’s always worth using a checklist to help you transfer the utilities when buying a house so you don’t get charged for a utility you haven’t used and you can be confident that the utilities will be in place when you unpack – that all-important cup of tea won’t be possible without electricity …
The Find My Supplier website is for sourcing the property’s current gas provider and it is easy to use. You either enter the meter point reference number or your postcode.