Moving house and changing utility bills go hand-in-hand, but sometimes, the stress of having to do everything at once is too much. Not to mention if you’re a new homeowner or renter, but it’s okay to not know where to start.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about utilities and give you a little moving advice along the way. Let’s start with all the utilities you need to be aware of:
List of Utilities
- Broadband (WiFi and landline)
- Electricity and gas
- Postal (changing address)
- Rubbish, recycling and glass
- Security system
- Television (remember to pay your TV licence)
- Water and sewer
How to Cancel Utility Bills When Moving House
Knowing how to cancel utility bills when moving house is a skill you likely won’t use. Why? Cancelling your utility bills is uncommon if you’re moving house. Instead, it would be easier to switch them, whether that’s telling your providers your new address or finding an alternative provider.
Consider why you absolutely need to cut ties. Are you moving to student accommodation where bills are included or travelling overseas? If you cancel them before you switch, you’ll likely find yourself without utilities for several weeks until you’re set up with a new provider.
However, you may still need to tell your provider:
- Your new address
- Why you’re cancelling
- If you’re switching to a different provider
The process is easier if you’re renting as the reason is generally because you’re moving out and the next tenant will take on the utilities, so there’ll be less pushback from the provider.
How to Change Utility Bills When Moving House
While you may not need to cancel your utilities, knowing how to change utility bills when moving house is a skill everyone should have. Before you set up and start paying, you need to have your new address and priorities sorted first.
For example, if you want high-speed broadband, you may need to switch to a more expensive provider. But does this mean your energy and heat source will suffer if you switch to a cheaper electricity and gas provider?
Moreso, broadband, despite including a landline, is cheaper than purchasing WiFi itself, but a 24-month contract is also cheaper than a 12-month one. You’ll likely not have broadband for the first week after moving, so you may even need to buy a dongle unless you have unlimited mobile data and hotspot access.
Here’s your ultimate guide to setting up your utilities:
Locate Electricity, Gas and Water Meters
There are a multitude of meters you can have in your new home, and their appearance will vary depending on location and the supplier. Your electricity meter (left) can be found in either a basement or storage cupboard, and your water meter (right) can be found outside near a street water grate (it will have the supplier’s name on it – but don’t check this one), or in your cupboard near your boiler or sink (you can check this one).
However, you shouldn’t need to locate your water meter, and we’ll tell you why in the next point.
Take Meter Readings
Taking a meter reading is not as difficult as it sounds. Just pull out a sticky note or your phone’s notepad and write down the numbers displayed. Keep them close because you’ll need them when switching to a new provider. You won’t need the ones in the red border, but the provider should make this clear when submitting the reading anyway.
If you can’t locate your meters or are unsure how to take the readings, you can contact your previous provider for the readings instead. While there are many gas providers to choose from, each region has just one water supplier. Contact them so they can take your meter reading as sometimes your water meter can be tricky to find or even reach, and keep a look out for mail addressed to ‘the occupier’ or your name as they’ll likely be related to your utilities.
However, you may not need them if you have a smart reader (check if it works first). These handy devices are usually located in your kitchen, but you have to request it directly from your supplier. You’ll see how much you’ve spent on electricity and gas as the month progresses, and it will send any meter readings directly to your providers, leaving you with one less task.
Find Your Suppliers
If you are renting, your housing agent should know who your suppliers are. If the previous tenant switched without telling them, it’s still their responsibility to find out who you’re with. You may find mail addressed to the old tenant from the providers; send this to your agent as it’s illegal to open someone else’s mail as per the Postal Services Act 2000.
Here are some nifty sites that help you find your suppliers:
Ofgem provides a complaint service if you’re having issues with a particular supplier, and you can also find out what to do in a power outage or gas leak.
Compare and Switch Providers
Now that you’ve found your suppliers, are you happy with your tariff or do you wish to switch? Uswitch offers a comparison service for broadband and TV, SIM deals, phones, and general utilities, such as energy types and suppliers. Take into account price, tariff length, speed, and coverage before choosing. Once you’ve found the best option for you, it’s time to switch.
Contact Your Providers
At least 48 hours before you move in, you should tell your providers your new address and that you’re switching. They’ll need your forwarding address for the final bill, otherwise, the new owner or tenant will have to pay. You’ll also need to take your meter readings and provide them to the suppliers unless you have a smart reader.
You can find your supplier’s contact details online. If you’re switching, you’ll need to provide your:
- Full name
- New address
- Moving date
- Email address
- Phone number
- Bank details
- Meter readings
If your supplier goes bust, wait until your account is moved to a new supplier. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying more and losing money you’re owed.
Choose a Tariff
If you’re sticking with your supplier, you’ll already be set up on a tariff. Either way, you’ll have the luxury of choosing what tariff works best for you. Find the difference between a unit price versus standard tariff and what the price caps are. Each tariff is different, just as each supplier and person is, so be sure to research first and be aware of cancellation fees.
How to Pay Your Utility Bills
There are a number of ways to pay your utility bills, and you should receive your first one within the first couple of months after moving. You’ll either receive your bill by email or post, and while we recommend saving paper and opting for online bills, the choice is ultimately yours. Here’s how you can pay your bills:
- Direct debit (set this up online at the beginning of your contract)
- Phone call
- Post (though this method is less common and not preferred by suppliers)
- Directly online
You can choose to receive your bill and pay monthly, quarterly, biyearly, yearly, or whenever your bill is ready. Choosing ‘whenever your bill is ready’ ensures you pay exactly what you owe, but there’s no particular date for when this is ready. On the other hand, choosing to pay a particular amount each month may mean you owe more later.
Congratulations! You have now set up your utilities and are ready to take on any challenge… That being said, we know you’ll end up not using your electricity on the first night and opt for a takeaway, but there’s no shame in that!
We hope this guide has helped you to understand moving house and utility bills isn’t too hard after all. Now that you understand utilities, do you need moving advice?
At Bassy’s Removals, we offer a five-star delivery service for all your moving needs, be it a flat to a country home, or an office to a warehouse. There’s no need to be worried about moving antiques as our friendly removals team will ensure your belongings are respected while moving them into your new place.
Now you know how to change bills when moving house, contact us today to start your moving journey with our qualified and experienced team.