How to open and close your energy bills when moving home
Whether you have energy bills in credit or debit, we’ll help you move house simply. When you’re moving house, electricity/gas bills are always at the back of your mind, but where do you start when it’s time to sort them out? This guide will help you deal with it in a matter of minutes. We promise it will be more pain-free than packing!
Before you move
In this section, we’ll guide you through the crucial steps you need to take before you leave your current property. These apply whether or not you are considering changing energy supplier.
1) Let your energy supplier know that you’re moving
Contact your energy supplier two weeks before your move-in date for a smooth move (48 hours’ notice is the absolute minimum they require). It is also advisable at this point to inform them of your soon-to-be new address (or forwarding address) so that they can send you your final bill through the post.
2) Read your meters on moving day
It is essential that you take a meter reading on your last day, so you don’t get charged for energy consumed after you move. Once you take the reading, make sure that you send it to your energy supplier. Keep a copy for yourself too in case you need to dispute it in the future.
A photo of the meter reading would be ideal. It’s advisable to also include a newspaper with that day’s date in the photo. Once you leave your old property, chances are you won’t be able to get back in!
If you are not confident in reading your own gas meter, it may be possible to arrange a reading by one of the supplier’s professionals. You would need to arrange this in advance.
When taking a meter reading for the energy companies, make sure you also note the meter number. The meter numbers are different to the meter reading (energy consumption).
For your gas, it is the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN). The MPRN is a 21-digit number and is unique to your home. You can find this 21-digit number on your energy bill.
For your electric, it is the Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN). The MPAN is unique to your electricity supply and is usually 6-10 digits long. This can also be found on your bill.
If you’re renting, you might like to let the landlord know who your current energy supplier is. This is just a courtesy and could save the new tenant both time and energy (no pun intended!). The supplier will most probably send a letter to ‘the occupier’ once you have forewarned them that you are leaving.
Don't ForgetKeep a copy of your final meter reading so that you can check for any discrepancies against your final bill.
After moving in
In this section, we’ll walk you through the key steps to take, once you’ve moved into your new home. By the way, congratulations on the big move and we hope everything goes/went as smoothly as switching energy supplier.
1) Contact the current supplier and read the meter
When you move into your new property you are required to contact the current energy supplier in order to let them know that you have moved in. This allows them to distinguish between the previous tenant’s departure and your arrival when preparing the bill.
Be aware that many properties will not have their gas and electric contracted with the same company. It is your obligation to contact all suppliers, so make sure you have this covered.
It is important that you read the meters in your new home in order to prevent any billing overlap. You should provide the meter reading when you call to inform the supplier that you have moved in.
If you have not switched your previous account to your new home, the current supplier can put you on to a standard tariff, which can be 20% more than what you would normally pay. Don’t get caught out! Find out who the supplier is immediately and get your account set up to a new tariff or switch.
Don’t know who the current supplier is in your new home? Find out in minutes.
Remember...You are responsible for your bills from the day that you take ownership of your new property, not the day you decide to move in.
2) Decide whether you should switch provider
It’s not you, it’s them! Is it time to say goodbye to your current energy supplier?
When you move house you do not have to keep the same supplier that you had in your previous property, even if you were on a fixed rate contract that is still running. However, if you are on a fixed rate, then you may have to pay an exit fee for prematurely terminating the contract.
The details of your exit fee can usually be found on your energy bill, although if this is not the case, you will need to contact your supplier directly in order to clarify their exit procedure. In a few cases, it is cheaper to keep your remaining fixed rate tariff and supplier until you are able to exit without a fee.
You can usually take it with you to your new home. Likewise, if you are on a fixed tariff that you are happy with, you can usually choose to keep it.
The price should be the same as when it was locked. However, if you move to a different region of the country, your energy bill will change to reflect the fixed price in that region. As a result, you should expect to see a slight change in price.
You can only change suppliers once you become responsible for your new property. Did you know, when you have agreed a tariff with a new supplier it takes less than 21 days to switch? You have the first 14 days statutory cooling off period, should you change your mind.
So, you want to switch energy providers?
That’s great news. There are so many great deals on the market that you’re practically guaranteed to get a better rate just by switching provider! Your energy quality won’t change at all and there will be no gap in supply either.
Also, if you decide to switch, you don’t need to inform your existing energy supplier, so no guilty break-up feeling there. Once you bring your new energy supplier on board, they will advise your existing provider of your decision.
3) Pay your final bill from your previous property
You should receive your final bill relating to your previous property within six weeks of closing your account. You should follow the directions on the final bill and pay it (if the payment doesn’t come out of your account automatically).
You may find that you have an energy bill in credit! This means the supplier owes you a refund.
This can happen for a number of reasons. Your monthly tariff is only an estimate based on what your supplier thinks you will use over a whole year. If you’ve used less energy than the forecasted amount, you have an energy bill in credit.
Credit (or debit) can build up when you don’t take regular meter readings and pass these on to your supplier. They have no way of knowing how much energy you are actually consuming. Either way, being in credit is obviously the favourable option and you can treat yourself to something nice for your new home. After all this moving though, you may just want a nice dinner out!
Does your new property have a prepayment meter?
If your new property has a prepayment meter, you should contact your supplier immediately. The last thing you want is to be paying off any debts that may have been left by the previous occupant.
It’s easy enough to establish this with a prepaid meter. You can find the debt screen by pressing the recharge button a few times to scroll through the screens. If there is debt, you should avoid using - or topping up - the meter until you have spoken to your supplier.
Whilst speaking with them, you should ask them to:
- Remove any debt from the meter left by the previous occupant.
- Replace your top-up card/key with a new one, so that you can add credit to the meter.
- Send you any information you might need regarding your meter, including what to do if you encounter an issue.
Want to change from a prepayment meter to a credit meter?
You will most likely benefit from changing your prepayment meter over to a credit meter. This means you will pay for your energy after you use it, rather than pay-as-you-go. You can pay via direct debit or make monthly installments by other means, depending on the supplier.
According to the Citizens Advice Bureaux, ‘the cheapest prepayment meter deal costs you an average of £235 a year more than the cheapest direct debit deal’.
If you want to swap out your prepayment meter for a credit meter, you need to contact the supplier you wish to use going forward. Often, they will replace it for free, but you can confirm with them on the phone. If you are renting, there is no need to get your landlord’s permission to switch.
Most companies will require that you undergo a credit check. If you pass, your energy supplier will change your prepayment meter for a new credit meter.
Depending on the supplier, you could be charged a small fee for costs incurred running the credit check procedure or towards installation costs. Don’t let these initial costs hold you back. The savings you will make over the course of the year (and beyond), will easily make up for it.