A first time buyers guide to gas and electric utilities


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When you buy your first home, you’ll start to understand the levels of documentation involved in property transactions. Once you’ve got the keys in your hand, you’ll no doubt want to breathe a sigh of relief, but there are still a few last pieces of paperwork to arrange.

It would be easy to ignore and leave for another day, but it’s important to organise the utilities for your new home as soon as you move.

Informing the current supplier

As a first time buyer, it’s likely you’ll be moving from a rented property or the family home. If it’s the latter, you won’t need to do anything before you move. In the case of the former, contact your current supplier and:

  • Notify them of the move
  • Give them 48 hours’ notice
  • Arrange for the final bill to be sent to the new property

Also make sure to check if your current plan has an early exit fee although this may be waived in some instances. The supplier may also speak to you about setting up with them at your new address, but you don’t have to decide immediately.

On moving day:

  • Take final meter readings and inform the supplier
  • Keep records for yourself to compare against the final bill

You’ll most likely need to inform your landlord that you’re moving and confirm the meter readings with them. Once the final bill arrives settle it as soon as possible, as well as checking if you’re in credit. If you are, you’ll be due a refund which should be paid directly to your account.

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Organising utilities in the new home

Before moving day, check the existing gas and electricity providers for your new home. You should be able to get this information from the estate agent, but you can easily find out yourself. Simply call the Meter Number Helpline for gas and contact the local distribution number for the area to find out for electricity. Often it will be the same provider.

The water supplier and sewerage service provider will depend on the area you’ve moved to and isn’t something you can change.

How do I set up gas and electricity in my new home?

If you’re buying a second-hand home, for instance, the previous owners may have contacted the suppliers before they moved out. If they did, you’ll automatically be placed on the standard tariff with these providers when you first move in. As soon as you can, make sure to:

  • Take accurate meter readings
  • Contact the supplier providing the meter readings

How do I change?

As you’ll be on a standard tariff, it’s likely you won’t be getting the best possible deal. But it’s quick and easy to switch utility providers. Simply enter your address details and information on the supplier and plan into the Citizens Advice Comparison Tool for an idea of what you could be saving.

The tool will then detail the best deals as well as a rating for each of the available suppliers. It’s very simple to switch as the incoming company organises everything. They’ll get in touch once you’ve completed the switch and will require meter readings. The previous provider will contact you to settle the final bill, making it so important to keep on top of meter readings as soon as you move in.

Is it always that easy to change?

In some instances, changing energy supplier can be more difficult. You may find that your new home has a prepayment meter if it was a rental property or the previous owner had problems meeting their payments.

It’s very unlikely you’ll get the best deal with a prepayment meter, so contact the supplier as soon as possible to switch to a standard tariff with monthly or quarterly bills. You’re also under no obligation to stay with the same provider once you’ve changed from the prepayment meter.

You might be tired of the paperwork, but getting this sorted is the final push to ensure you fully settle in to your new home.