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Spend less money and save on energy with these easy homemover tips

Moving home is probably one of the least enjoyable tasks we can imagine. Here are some tips to help you make sure your gas and electricity switchover goes smoothly


Don't spend more on moving home than you have to!

Moving home is stressful, expensive, and possibly as much fun as visiting the dentist. And while you are putting your back out lifting sofas, probably the last thing you want to deal with is your gas and electricity. The problem is that if you don't, you may end up seriously out of pocket (and your back joints still out of socket, if you pardon the terrible pun).

So put the sofa down for a moment and read on if you want to know the answer to these questions:

- Am I liable for the gas and electricity at my old address?

- Does my new address have gas and electricity?

- What tariff is my new property on?

- When do I need to let the supplier at my new property know that I have moved in?

Here is a step-by-step checklist on how to deal with your utilities when you move home.

At your old address...

Let your old supplier know that you are moving. If you do not notify your current supplier at your old residence you will be liable for the energy used there after your departure. We strongly recommend that you at least take a meter reading and call in the notification on the next day if you do not have time to notify the supplier on the day you leave (taking a photograph of the display will save you the hassle of writing down numbers). If your old property is managed by a lettings agent or landlord, ensure that you send them the same meter reading. They may be taking a meter reading at a different date and any dispute may delay the repayment of your deposit.

Don't automatically transfer your current supply arrangement to your new property. When you notify the supplier of the previous property, be advised of the following:

- The supplier may ask you to pay any outstanding amounts in full on the phone. The amount may be significant, depending on the time of year (winter is when we use most of our energy) and when the last actual meter reading was taken. Do not let yourself be pressured into paying on the spot without having been issued a final bill! Direct Debit payers can make any full and final payment on their regular payment date. If you pay by cheque, ask that the final bill be forwarded to your new address and settle it as usual.

- If your old property is currently supplied under the terms of a Capped or Fixed rate, chances are that the supplier may try to charge you a penalty for leaving early. These penalty clauses, however, are not generally designed to apply to people who move home and the agent should be flexible enough to waive any potential penalties. To prove that you are indeed moving home, it is recommended that you provide the name of the new resident, landlord or lettings agent in charge of the property going forward.

At your new address...

Take a meter reading as soon as you move in. You will be legally liable for any consumption - so make sure you note down all the gas and electricity meter readings on the day you become the legal owner or tenant.

Find out who supplies the new property. Look for literature from the supplier in the post - if you cannot find any then call the electricity distribution company in your area (see the numbers below for help), and National Grid to find out your gas supplier. These companies can also help if your property is currently disconnected from the grid, if the property is not yet connected or if you need to report an emergency.

Electricity

AreaCompanyTelephone No
North ScotlandScottish & Southern Energy0800 048 3515
South ScotlandScottish Power Energy Networks0141 614 0145
North East EnglandNorthern Powergrid0845 0702703
North WestElectricity North West Ltd0800 048 1820
YorkshireNorthern Powergrid0845 0702703
East MidlandsWestern Power Distribution0845 724 0240
West MidlandsWestern Power Distribution0845 724 0240
Eastern EnglandUK Power Networks0845 601 4516
South WalesWestern Power Distribution0845 724 0240
Southern EnglandScottish & Southern Energy0800 048 3516
LondonUK Power Networks0845 601 4516
South East EnglandUK Power Networks0845 601 4516
South West EnglandWestern Power Distribution0845 724 0240
North Wales, Merseyside
and Cheshire
Scottish Power Energy Networks0845 270 0783

Gas

National Grid (formerly Transco): 0870 608 1524

Call in the meter reading. Once you know who supplies the property, call them up and give them your details and the meter readings. Also ask the supplier for any kiloWatt hour consumption data on the property: "How much gas/electricity has been consumed at the property in the last 12 months?". This will help you anticipate the size of the bills you can expect and it will also help you find the optimal deal for your new home - see the next point.

Find the best deal for your new home. The longer you wait, the more you will overpay because your supplier at the new property will automatically bill you on their most expensive standard tariff rates (also called a deemed tariff). How much more expensive? About 25% - which easily comes to £300 over a year for the average size property. Since you you might not see a bill for three months after you move in, you won't know how much you are overpaying until it is too late. Also take into account that the switching process takes about 4 weeks from beginning to end - so sorting this out as soon as you move in is in your interest. Luckily, there is no simpler way of comparing prices for home movers than our service. Just tick the box on TheEnergyShop.com that tells us that you are a home mover, and we'll make things incredibly easy for you.

Help - I have found that I have a prepayment meter at the new property. Prepayment meters are typically the most expensive way of getting your gas and electricity, and the choice of tariffs to choose from is still limited. Contact the current supplier for advice on having these meters replaced with standard 'credit'-type meters. There may be a charge for this.