How To Sort Your Utility Bills When Moving Home
Before the actual moving process begins, there are usually a few affairs every mover needs to set in order, one of which is informing your energy supplier of your move. While this may seem like something you can do after you’ve moved into your new home, thanks to the help of your moving company, it’s easy to forget amidst the rest of the moving process.
It’s important to deal with your energy supplier before you move to ensure you don’t end up paying more than necessary, or even for energy you’re not using. If your new home is equipped with a prepayment meter (essentially a pay-as-you-go utility meter), you still have to inform your previous gas/electricity supplier of your move.
Before Your Move
Let’s talk about a few important factors you need to address before your move:
• You must let your utility suppliers (gas, electricity and water) know that you’re moving – it’s advised to give at least two days’ notice, so they can transfer your details over as quickly as possible.
• Record your meters on the day of your move – it’s good practice to record your meter readings so that your supplier knows what your final recording is. This may also save you money!
• Supply your forwarding address to your supplier(s) – this is so they can send you your final bill.
In some cases, you may be entitled to a refund (also known as ‘being in credit’), so be sure to follow up on this and claim your money back. You can find out more on the Citizen Advice website.
After Your Move
Once you’ve unpacked and got your life back in order, next up is sorting out the billing requirements. Be sure to:
• Get in touch with the current utility supplier at your new home to inform them that you’ve moved in. If you’re unsure of who the previous tenant was signed up with for their gas, you can call the Meter Point Administration Service on 0870 608 1524. For electricity, you can call your local electricity distribution company.
• Read your meters! Do this as soon as possible, preferably the day you move in and give the readings to your current supplier. This is to ensure you receive an accurate first bill. Many people are unaware that they become responsible for the bills on the day they take ownership of the property – even if they haven’t moved in on their moving day.
• Pay your old supplier’s final bill when you receive it. This is to ensure you’re not chased up by your old supplier.
Address ‘Deemed Contracts’ ASAP
Once you move into your new property, you’ll be placed into what’s known as a ‘deemed contract’ with the property’s current supplier. These contracts are usually the most expensive, so it’s advised you either find a better tariff with the current supplier or look elsewhere for a better deal.
Fortunately, you can change suppliers from the day you move into your new property. However, switching over does take time, usually around three weeks. This means you’ll have to pay at least one bill with your current supplier.
What to do About Prepayment Meters
If your property comes equipped with a prepayment meter, you’ll need to get in touch with your current supplier immediately. If you’re able to avoid putting money on the meter card or key, do it. This is because you may end up paying for the previous tenants’ debts if they hadn’t already settled their final bill.
However, it might be that there’s no other choice than to put money on the meter. If so, try to get hold of the current supplier and explain that you’ve just moved in and need to put some money on the meter. This will ensure that any outstanding debts left by the previous tenants are voided from your new bill. You will have to provide evidence of your moving date, however.
If you haven’t used a prepayment meter before, contact your supplier and they will talk you through the process. If the prepayment meter is faulty or causing any difficulties, again, inform the supplier.
If you Want to Replace the Prepayment Meter
If you’d like to switch to a monthly tariff, you’ll need to contact your prepayment meter supplier and arrange to have someone remove it manually. Some people prefer to pay monthly because you pay for the energy you use within the month as opposed to paying in advance. Some factors to address are:
• Prepayment meters are almost always more expensive than a monthly direct debit deal.
• Topping up the meter requires walking to your nearest shop, which can become annoying.
• If you run out of gas or electricity after shops shut, you’ll be left cold and in the dark.
Changing from a prepayment meter to a monthly tariff is very straightforward and, in most cases, you won’t have to pay or ask your landlord’s permission (if you’re renting).
Addressing your utility bills when moving home is usually a straight forward process if you plan ahead. Just remember to take final meter readings and square-up any bills as soon as you move into your new property.