How to set up your electricity when moving house

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electricity wires in a property in the UK that has been moved into

Moving house can be a stressful and a busy time, but it’s important not to forget about your electricity supply. Here’s what you need to know to ensure a smooth transition and avoid any surprises on your energy bills

What should you do with your electricity before moving house?

Before you begin taking meter readings or speaking to your energy supplier, it is important to understand what you options are. Read below on if it’s a good idea to keep the same energy supplier and when we would be a good time to contact them.

Can you keep the same energy supplier and tariff?

When you move house, you have the option to either transfer your existing electricity supplier and tariff to your new property or switch to a new provider by calling your old provider and letting them know.

Transferring your electricity to your new property

If you choose to stay with your current electrical supplier, you’ll need to contact them at least 48 hours before you move to let them know, they will then arrange for your supply to be transferred to your new address on the day of your move.

Be sure to take a final meter reading at your old property to ensure your final bill is accurate.

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It’s worth nothing that even if you keep the same supplier, your tariff may change based on the location and energy consumption of your new property.

Right now, according to ofgem, the average price of electricity is 27 pence per kWh and 53 pence per day for electricity in the average UK home.

Compare this to your current rates to check if you could save money by switching to a cheaper deal.

How to work out what electricity supplier you have

To find out who supplies your gas, you can contact the Meter Number Helpline at 0870 608 1524. Keep in mind that this call will cost you 7p per minute in addition to your phone provider’s access charge.

In addition to this, the below table give you a number on who to call that is specific to your region.

Region Contact Number
North Scotland 0345 026 2554
Central and South Scotland 0330 1010 300
North East England & Yorkshire 0800 0111 3332
North West England 0800 195 4141
London, South East England & Eastern England 0800 029 4285
Central Southern England 0345 026 2554
South West England & South Wales 0800 096 3080
East Midlands & West Midlands 0800 096 3080
Merseyside, Cheshire, North Shropshire & North Wales 0330 1010 300

How far in advance should you contact your provider?

Ideally, you should contact your electricity provider at least 2-3 weeks before your move date. This gives them plenty of time to process your request and ensures a smooth transition.

According to industry data from uswitch.com, the busiest time for energy suppliers is during the winter months with peaks of electricity usage in the summer months reaching the lowest electricity usage in the winter.

A woman who has no electricity

So, it is recommended to bear this in mind when assessing how busy an energy supplier will be and perhaps try to lock in a cheaper deal before the winter months start.

How to know if you should change energy supplier before moving

Before deciding whether to transfer your existing electricity supplier or switch to a new one, it’s a good idea to compare tariffs and prices.

The table below shows the average 2023 annual electricity costs for tow electricity suppliers in the UK. This is an example of how a change in the type of tariff can save you a fair amount of money.

Supplier Tariff Type Annual Cost
Octopus Energy Standard Variable £649.88
Click Energy 12-Month Fixed £510.72

As you can see, switching to a cheaper fixed-rate tariff could save you hundreds of pounds per year compared to a standard variable tariff.

It’s also worth considering how much electricity you use in your new home. The chart below shows the average annual electricity consumption for different property sizes:

typical electricity usage
Typical electricity usage based on the size of a house

If your new property is significantly larger or smaller than your previous one, your electricity consumption and costs may change accordingly so consider this when deciding on if you shouldswitch suppliers.

What final checks can you do before moving electricity supplier?

Before moving supplier, here are the steps on trying to find the right electricity supplier for your new home.

Have a phone call with your supplier

Before moving and when deciding whether to switch, call your current electricity supplier to inform them of your move date and new address.

They will guide you through the process of closing your account at the old property and can advise on any final meter readings and bills that need to be settled. Having an open dialogue with your supplier ensures a smooth transition and yo umay also be able to negotiate a new deal on the phone.

Compare prices using online tools

Use online comparison tools or contact suppliers directly on their websites to gather quotes for their electricity plans. Consider factors such as tariff rates, contract lengths, and any additional fees or discounts.

a woman comparing energy prices online

Don’t forget to check if there are any special deals or promotions available for new customers too as this can often make the difference between a cheaper deal.

Check for exit fees

If you were on a fixed tariff at your old property and moved out before the contract ended, you might be charged an exit fee. Check your contract terms or contact your old supplier to find out if any fees apply.

You may want to wait for your contract to come to an end before taking out a new contract if this is the case

What is the process of switching supplier once you have made a decision?

Once you have decided to switch energy supplier during the buying process of a new home, the process will typically look like this:

Step 1: Choose a deal

After comparing the available options, select the electricity plan that offers the best value for your household.

Consider your energy usage habits, budget, and preferences for fixed or variable rates. Read the terms and conditions carefully before committing to a new contract.

Once you’ve chosen a new supplier and plan, you will need to provide them with your personal details, including your name, new address, move-in date, and billing information.

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Make sure to have all the necessary documentation including the exact address of your old and new property so you’re ready to ensure a smooth sign-up process.

Step 2: Start the switching process

After entering your details, your new supplier will handle the switching process on your behalf. They will coordinate with your old supplier to transfer your supply and ensure a seamless transition.

Step 3: Provide access

The switch should happen at the latest on your move-in date, ensuring you have electricity from day one in your new home.

Ensure that your energy supplier has easy access to your meter, whether it’s located inside or outside your property. If the meter is indoors, make sure you’re available during the scheduled visit to let the technician in.

Step 4: Verify the initial reading

Once your supplier has taken the initial meter reading, they will usually provide you with a copy of the reading. Verify that the reading matches what you see on your meter to ensure accuracy. If there are any discrepancies, contact your supplier immediately to resolve the issue.

a light in the UK that has a new metre reading

Step 5: Set reminders

To ensure timely and accurate billing, set reminders for yourself to submit meter readings regularly. Most suppliers recommend submitting readings every month or every other month, depending on your billing cycle. You can usually submit readings online, through a mobile app, or by calling your supplier.

See our checklist covering the other things you may forget about the moving process

By waiting for the initial meter reading and then regularly submitting your own readings, you can help ensure that your energy bills are accurate and up to date. This will also help you avoid any unexpected surprises when it comes to your energy costs in your new home.

What could go wrong during the switching process?

During the switching process, depending on your gas and electricity supplier, you may run into the following issues.

You may need to wait for a metre reading

If you’ve recently moved into a new property, you may need to wait for your energy supplier to take a meter reading before you can start submitting your own readings but your electricity should be set up and working.

You may need to contact your supplier

Reach out to your energy supplier to inquire about when they will be taking the first meter reading at your new property. They may have a scheduled visit or can arrange for a technician to come and take the initial reading. Some energy companies can be disorganised so as a home owner it is important to stay on top of this.

What to be aware of depending on your tariff & metre

So that you’re not caught on when switching electricity suppliers, here are some things you should know about the different types of metres and electricity deals you could switch to.

If you’re charged on a fixed tariff

If you’re currently on a fixed price energy tariff, you have some level of protection against rising energy prices. Your unit rates and standing charges will remain locked in for the duration of your contract, which typically lasts between 12 to 24 months.

However, it’s important to keep track of when your fixed term is set to expire to avoid falling onto a higher priced tariff.

Once a fixed term expires, your energy bills can still fluctuate based on your consumption and many homeowners are caught out by this.

a man taking a metre reading

On average, the typical British household consists of 2.4 individuals and consumes 2,700 kWh of energy per year and you should compare this to what you’re currently paying here to find out if your deal makes sense.

Monitoring your usage and implementing energy-saving measures can help you further control your costs.

What to do if you have a smart reader

If you have a smart meter installed in your home, you have access to real-time data on your energy consumption.

This can be a valuable tool in managing your energy usage and costs, regardless of whether you’re on a fixed or variable tariff. Allowing you to be aware of what you’re using

With a smart meter, you can:

  • Track your daily energy usage through the in-home display or mobile app
  • Identify patterns and pinpoint areas where you can cut back
  • Set budgets and receive alerts when you’re approaching your limit
  • Benefit from accurate billing, as your smart meter automatically sends readings to your supplier, eliminating the need for estimated bills.

In Great Britain, at the end of Q3 2023, there were a total of 32.1 million domestic smart meters, encompassing both smart and traditional modes, across all energy providers. This figure represents 60% of all domestic meters.

What if your new property has a prepayment metre

If your new property has a prepayment meter, you’ll need to take some extra steps to ensure you’re not paying for the previous occupant’s debt and that you have a working key or card to top up the meter.

a woman taking a metre reading in the UK after a man has moved house

It is rare for properties to have a prepayment metre in 2024. However, you should contact the current supplier at your new property as soon as possible and:

  • Ask them to remove any existing debt from the meter.
  • Request a new prepayment key or card.
  • Get information on how the meter works and what to do if you experience any issues.

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