Moving home - and sorting out your energy needs
There's a lot to organise when you move house - finance, tax, insurance, removals. So it's easy to overlook the utilities. But if you don't sort out your gas and electricity you could end up paying for energy you don't use. You could even walk into your new home and find there is no energy supply to the property.
Your old property
Let's deal with the old property first. You should contact your gas and electricity supplier with a moving date and a forwarding address as soon as you can.
Technically, you only have to give 48 hours' notice, but the earlier you can start the process the better. Most utility firms have a department dedicated to house moves, so it shouldn't be too complicated.
The day of the move...
On the day of the move, you should read the gas and electricity meters and pass the details on to your old suppliers so they can calculate a final bill.
Make sure you keep a copy of the readings and the date, just in case there are any problems further down the line.
You should obviously settle the final bill when it arrives so there are no outstanding debts. If you are in credit with your previous supplier, the money should be refunded into your account or you should receive a cheque in the post.
Be sure to check that the payment arrives and chase it up if necessary.
As long as you notify your supplier of your move and give a final meter reading, you are no longer responsible for any energy used after you leave the property. It's therefore important to follow the correct procedure or you could end up with a big bill.
Staying with the same supplier?
If you want to stick with your current supplier when you move home, you should notify the firm in advance. But before you do that, you should first compare prices and check whether you current deal is the best tariff available at the new property.
It's easy to switch suppliers and now is as good a time as any as you are also moving house.
What about fixed-term deals?
Customers with fixed-term energy deals, such as fixed-rate tariffs, might be charged a termination fee if they switch before the fix expires. They might therefore choose to stay with their old supplier and take the fix to their new home.
Most fixes are portable, but you should confirm the terms and conditions of your deal with your utility firm. Bear in mind, too, that the price might be different if you are moving to a different region of the country.
At the new property...
When you get to your new home you should contact the property's energy supplier. Hopefully, you will already have the details from the previous owner. But don't worry if you cannot find the information. You can call the meter number helpline on 0870 608 1524 to find out who supplies the gas to your new home.
To track down the electricity supplier, contact the local electricity distribution company and ask for the meter point administration service (MPAS).
We have listed the numbers below.
Scotland North 0845 0262 554
Scotland South 0845 270 9101
North East England 0845 601 3268
North West England 0870 751 0093
Eastern England 0870 196 3082
Southern England 0845 026 2554
South West England 0845 601 5972
South East England 0845 601 5467
London 0845 601 5467
Yorkshire 0845 330 0889
Merseyside and North Wales 0845 270 9101
South Wales 0845 601 5972
West Midlands 0845 603 0618
East Midlands 0845 603 0618
Give the supplier an accurate meter reading, even if you don't move into the house immediately, as you are responsible for the energy bills as soon as you become the legal owner of the property.
So, if you buy a property but do not move in because of building work, you are still liable for the energy costs.
The energy supplier at the new property will almost certainly place you onto a so-called 'deemed contract”, which is basically the most expensive tariff. You should therefore act quickly to save yourself some money.
Call the supplier and ask to move onto a cheaper tariff. Or better still, use our comparison service to find the cheapest deal for your home.
If your new home is fitted with a pre-payment meter for gas or electricity, you will need to get your own card or key from the supplier. Don't use any card or key left by the previous occupant as any money you top it up with will be credited to their account.
Pre-payment meters are usually installed if a customer has experienced financial difficulties, such as late or non payment of utility bills. They rarely offer the best tariffs, so it's a good idea to find out if you can switch to a standard credit meter (where you settle your bill in arrears each month or quarter).
Properties without energy connections
In some cases, you might move into a property that has no gas or electricity connection. You should then contact the local gas transporter or electricity distributor. If you don't know the local operator, look on the map at www.nationalgrid.com or contact the Energy Networks Association at www.energynetworks.org.
The transporter or distributor will quote for the connection and the costs vary according to the time and scale of the work. You might be able to get some financial assistance towards the cost if you are on a low income. Contact your local Jobcentre Plus for more information. Your local transporter might also run a scheme to help with the connection costs.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with your chosen supplier to arrange a connection. But bear in mind the firm will almost certainly charge a fee for the service, on top of the connection costs.
If you are moving to or from rented accommodation, the procedure is pretty similar to that outlined above for property owners. You might, however, have to give any meter readings to your landlord as well as the utility firms.
Remember, too, that if you pay the bills directly to the energy supplier, you are entitled to switch to a better tariff if you wish - you don't need your landlord's permission unless the landlord's name is on the bills.
*51% consumers, MoneySuperMarket data, December 2014