Moving homes can be exciting and it’s easy to forget about your energy supply. Learn more about what to do when you decide to move, what happens if you’re in a contract, and the different types of meters you may encounter in your new home.
What to do When You Move Out of Your Home
When moving home, you should generally start with the following steps:
- Contact your energy supplier before you move home to give them the date that you will be moving and check whether you will be charged an exit fee if you have a fixed-term contract, you can avoid paying the exit fee if you switch your new home to them.
- Take meter readings as you leave the home and give them to your energy supplier through the method your energy supplier requests. Some will need you to call them, others you can complete an online form, or submit the readings through your online account.
- Give your energy supplier your new address so that they can send your final energy bill to you.
- You should also leave or give the new occupier or landlord your final meter readings and who the supplier/s are.
If your final bill says that you are in credit, then you will need to contact the energy supplier to claim back the money on your account as they do not necessarily pay the money back automatically.
What to Do When You Move into a New Home
When you move into a new property the energy supply will already be set up with one or two energy suppliers depending on whether gas and electricity are supplied by the same company. When you move in you will become responsible for any energy consumed.
When an energy account is closed a new account is set up for that address on a standard tariff which is an expensive tariff that if you do not switch from it could cost you up to £300 extra per year on average.
So, when you move into a new home you should:
- Contact the current energy supplier and give them your details to set up the account fully as well as the opening meter readings and the date you moved in. You should also decide whether to stay with that energy supplier or switch to another supplier.
- If you switch suppliers, you should still contact the current supplier so that they can bill you for the energy you use up until the switch takes place.
- If you do not switch energy suppliers, you should make sure that the energy supplier puts you on the best tariff available.
How Do You Find Out Who the Energy Supplier is?
If you do not know who your energy supplier/s are, and you do not have any letters addressed to the homeowner from an energy supplier, then you can contact the following providers to find out:
- Gas supplier – contact the Meter Point Administration Service on 0800 608 1524.
- Electricity supplier – you can contact your regional distribution network operator to find out who your supplier is, or if you do not know who your distribution network operator is you can search by postcode on the Energy Networks Association
What Happens If You Are in a Contract?
If you are on a fixed-term contract you might have to pay an exit fee when you move home. Not all energy suppliers charge exit fees and some waiver this fee if you move home. If you are going to be charged an exit fee it might pay to stay with your energy supplier from your previous property and switch your new property to them.
Switching Energy Suppliers in Your New Home
Although moving home is often very stressful and busy time it is important to ensure that you get the best energy deal for you and your home. The tariff that your home currently has is likely to be a standard tariff with high charges.
The easiest way to compare energy suppliers is by using a price comparison site to see which energy supplier/s can offer you the best tariff. As you have no energy usage information for your new home you will need to use either the price comparison tools estimates or use the energy usage from your previous home.
Either way, you should expect that your actual energy usage is likely to vary from this and you should submit regular meter readings, check your bills, and ask your energy supplier to review your direct debit payment amounts if needed. You should expect to build up credit during the summer which will be used up over the winter.
It is worth knowing that you may get a cheaper tariff if you are able to:
- pay by direct debit
- manage your account online rather than receiving paper bills, and submit your own meter readings
- get both gas and electricity from the same supplier on a dual fuel tariff
Power Compare has a price comparison tool that is powered by the Ofgem accredited uSwitch service. We also have a useful guide that can help support you through the switching process if you need help.
Note that switching suppliers can take up to 21 days and you will be responsible for paying for the energy used with the existing supplier.
If Your New Home Has a Prepayment Meter
A prepayment meter is a meter that allows you to pre-purchase electricity or gas on a credit top-up basis, like a pay-as-you-go mobile, you must purchase credit before you can use the energy. Some energy suppliers now refer to prepayment meters as pay-as-you-go or PAYG meters. To learn more about prepayment meters read our guide on them.
Most prepayment meters operate with a prepayment key or card which can only be used with the meter. If there is not a prepayment key or card when you move into the property you should contact the energy supplier to get a replacement. There should be £5 emergency credit on the prepayment meter that should allow you time to receive a replacement key or card and top up the meter.
If the prepayment meter is a smart meter you will need to contact the energy supplier to set up your prepayment account.
You may also want to consider having the prepayment meter exchanged for a credit meter as the energy charges are likely to be less and be more convenient. You will need to discuss this with your energy supplier, but they should not prevent you from switching the meter unless you have a poor credit rating.
If Your New Home Has an Economy 7 or 10 Meter
Economy 7 or Economy 10 refers to types of meters and tariffs, which are sometimes known as heatwise meters or time-of-use tariffs. These Economy tariffs offer customers two price rates on their electricity at set times of the day. Generally, the electricity prices are higher during the day and cheaper during the night than single rate tariffs. If you want to learn more about Economy meters read our guide.
You should consider whether the Economy meter tariffs actual suit you and your home as many homes are on Economy tariffs and they do not offer them value for money. If you do not have storage heaters, then you should investigate changing the meter and the tariff from an Economy one. Our guide on Economy meters has more information on this.
If Your New Home Has a Smart Meter/s
The meter installed in your new home may be a smart meter as these are currently been rolled out to all homes in the UK by 2020. These meters offer many benefits as they send meter readings automatically to your energy supplier and they allow you to track your energy use more effectively.
As part of the smart meter package, you will have an in-home display device which enables you to see how much energy you are using in pounds and pence.
If your new home does not have a smart meter you will be able to get one installed in the future. You should contact your energy supplier to find out when they are installing smart meters in your area and to be put on their waiting list.
If you want to learn more about smart meters, how they work, their benefits, and switching suppliers when you have one then read our guide to smart meters.