Can I keep my energy plan when I move house?

Is it worth my while to try and keep my energy plan when I move?

Moving home can be a stressful and time-consuming experience but organising your energy doesn’t have to be. When you’re moving house, gas and electricity may not be first thing on your mind, but making it a priority can save you money in the long run. Find out about setting up gas and electricity in a new home and whether you can move your current energy plan to your new house.

How to keep your energy plan when you move

When moving house, your energy supplier often changes as well. However, it is possible to keep your current plan when setting up gas and electricity in a new home. Firstly, you need to ensure your name is on the energy bill at your new home, if you are renting and the bill is under your landlord’s name you will not be able to authorise a switch of location. Then, all you need to do is contact your energy provider, usually by phone, and let them know at least 48 hours before your move-in date. If your plan is available at your new address, they should be able to transfer your current energy plan across. 

Steps to switch your current energy plan to a new home

If keeping your current energy plan is the best option for you, it’s relatively easy to switch it over to your new address.

  1. First, you need to make sure you know who your current energy supplier is. If you’re unsure, you can check one of your recent bills, call the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524 or head to the Find My Supplier website. 

  2. It’s also important to find out which company is currently supplying energy to your new house. You can follow the steps above, or if you’re renting, you should be able to ask your landlord who the energy supplier is. If your bills are included in your rent, things can get a little tricky as the landlord’s name will most likely be on the bill. If this is the case, you can still run a comparison and present your findings to your landlord if there’s a better offer out there.

  3. Then, simply contact your energy supplier and request to transfer your plan over to your new address.

Comparing your current plan to other energy plans

If you can’t retain your plan, you may find the energy supplier at your new home automatically places you on a standard tariff which is generally more expensive than any of their fixed tariffs. 

Moving to a new house is a great opportunity to check out what plans are available on the market right now and make sure you’re getting the best deal. You can do this by running an online energy comparison using your new home’s address and viewing the cheapest deals available. You can view all your options and make sure you’re getting the most value for your money.

Your new address might even be eligible for cheaper plans than your current address, which is why it’s always a good idea to compare energy prices when you move. With the variety of different plans available, you can view all the new tariffs and pick the one that suits your lifestyle the most.

As well as comparing plans to set up gas and electricity when moving house, it’s a good opportunity to look into your other household bills and utilities. A price comparison tool can help you compare plans on broadband as well as home insurance, allowing you to potentially get faster and cheaper internet in your new home, as well as save money on insurance.

Will changing energy plans cost me money?

Depending on your current tariff, you can switch energy plans without paying any extra fees. 

A variable energy tariff is when your energy prices can rise and fall throughout the duration of your plan, usually depending on the cost price of energy. Your supplier should always notify you in advance of any price changes though, and the benefit of a variable tariff is that you can switch suppliers without incurring any exit fees.

A fixed rate plan means you sign on to one energy plan for a certain amount of time, usually a year or two. Recently, however, short-term fixed rate plans of only a few months have become increasingly popular. Throughout the duration of your contract, the price of your electricity won’t change from the price that you were originally quoted. This means that if the cost of electricity goes up, your rate will stay the same, although it does also mean if they go down, you won’t benefit from the savings. As electricity rates tend to increase more than they decrease it’s usually a good option if you’re happy with the initial sign-on price. If you wish to leave your fixed rate electricity plan before the time of your contract is up, you will have to pay a fee.

What if I’m moving into a house with a prepayment meter?

If you find out you’re moving into a house with a prepayment meter, it’s still possible to switch to a regular meter and find the best plan for you. Any plans from your previous home won’t be able to be transferred.

Prepayment meters can be common in rental properties, although some people who are looking to limit their monthly energy usage opt to have them in their homes. A prepayment meter uses a smartcard, token or key that can be topped up at a corner shop, online, by text or via an app, then inserted into the meter. This allows you to pay for the energy before you use it, and not go over your budget for the month.

Although they’re great for budgeting, prepayment meters don’t have particularly competitive rates, and there aren’t many energy plans to choose from. If you decide you want a prepayment meter taken out and swapped to a standard meter, you may face an additional cost of having it replaced. However, if your energy provider is one of the big six, you might be able to get the meter switched for free, in the case of smart meters, there is no extra cost.

If you’re renting the property, always make sure to check with your landlord before switching out a prepayment meter for a standard meter – even if it is approved, you may need to switch back when you move out.

Is changing energy plans when I move to a new house safe?

If you cannot keep your energy plan when you move, then an energy switch will be needed. There is more than one reason to regularly check and compare your energy plan to ones offered by other companies. It is even encouraged by Ofgem, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. 

The energy industry doesn’t tend to reward its customers for being loyal. By changing suppliers when you find one that is offering a better deal, it encourages the big companies to keep their offers low and competitive. This, in turn, will help them keep current customers, like yourself, and attract new ones.

If you do make the switch, you won’t see any disruption to your energy supply when you change plans. You won’t even need any extra work done in your house or installations, all it takes is a few minutes either using a comparison service or contacting a supplier direct.

How to run an energy comparison

You can get quotes from energy suppliers by approaching them directly - some will require you to do this before supplying quotes - but most will submit estimated quotes to energy comparison services online. However, energy comparison helplines also allow you to switch over the phone. You won’t need to fill in any paperwork or call your current supplier, just give your written or spoken permission for the change to happen.

You’ll have to answer a few questions to ensure your quoted price is accurate, but if you’re unsure, an estimate can be made based on the size of your property. 

You’ll be presented with a selection of plans available in your new area that offer competitive rates and other attractive features. Browse through the options and choose the plan you want to change to. Switching online or by phone takes just a few minutes. Next, your new supplier will contact your old supplier and organise the switch for you, the switch will be completed within 21 days.

So, while setting up gas and electricity in a new home may seem like a daunting task, it’s relatively straightforward. By opting to change instead of keeping your current plan, you may also land a better deal overall, especially as energy prices vary from location to location. 

Ben GallizziEnergy Expert - Oct 31st 2019