The energy switchers' guide to moving house

Last updated: 10 September 2020

In this guide, you’ll learn the following:

  • Why would I want to switch supplier when moving home?

  • How do I prepare for the move?

  • What do I need to do on moving day?

  • What do I do after we’ve moved?

  • How do I switch energy supplier after moving?

  • Moving house: frequently asked questions

Why would I want to switch supplier when moving home?

It doesn’t matter if you’re only just starting to consider moving, or have just moved into your new home, there’s no time like the present to switch energy suppliers. Get yourself some moving home quotes and you’ll discover that gas and electricity plans for movers provide some of the best deals in the market, with suppliers offering the most enticing tariffs to new customers. 

Because plans vary by region, it’s worth taking the time to compare suppliers to be sure you’re not paying too much in your new home. So, if you’re moving into a new house, your gas and electricity supplier should be high on your to-do list.  

How do I prepare for the move? Who is my DNO?

There’s no need to wait until moving day to sort out your new home’s gas and electricity supply – indeed, the earlier you start, the smoother the switchover will be on the day you move in. First, take a close look at your current plan and supplier. If you’re on a fixed-term plan with more than 49 days left on it, you might be charged an early exit fee if you switch. Most suppliers should allow you to take your current tariff with you – look for advice online at your supplier’s web page, such as the British Gas Moving Home guide.

In most cases, you should notify your current supplier of your impending move at least 48 hours in advance. Provide your new address so that they can send your final bill along after you’ve moved.  

The next step is to find out who currently supplies electricity and gas in the new property. You should be able to find this information out from your estate agent, the current tenants, or homeowners. The key thing is the current supplier – the DNO (Distribution Network Operator) is responsible for the distribution of energy to your home, but you buy your electricity from another company, so the DNO isn’t important in this case. 

What do I need to do on moving day?

With all the excitement of moving day, it’s easy to forget something minor like taking a meter reading, but this is incredibly important. Write down or submit your meter readings to the supplier along with the date and time of the reading before you vacate your old property. This will help you avoid any discrepancies with your final bill when it’s sent to you later. Do the same at the other end when you arrive at your new property and keep this handy. 

If you haven’t already done so, it’s helpful to let people moving into your old home – whether homeowner or tenant – who the current supplier is at your property. Leave a note or any relevant paperwork to help them make their own switch. 

What do I do after I've moved?

At this point, you should have already informed your old supplier, forwarded your new billing address, and taken meter readings. The next step is to contact the supplier who currently supplies your property to give them your details, as you’re now responsible for energy usage from the moment you take over the new property. In most cases, you’ll automatically be put on the new supplier’s standard plan, which is usually one of the most expensive tariffs. That means there’s no better time to switch than right after moving – see below.

Finally, look for an official letter from the former supplier for your old home in the post. This should include a final bill for energy from your former residence, which you can settle to formally close the account. Don’t forget to compare your final meter readings to the bill to avoid errors.   

If you couldn’t find out who supplies energy to your new home, check out our guide to tracking down the supplier using an online search (for gas) or phone call.  

How do I switch energy supplier?

Once the dust settles on your move, you’ll have all the information you need to find the best energy deal, namely your new postcode, supplier, and plan name. You can now enter these details into an energy comparison website to view a list of tariffs and plans available in your region

The best deals are reserved for new customers, so you should see plenty of plans on offer. Narrow these down by price as well as considering the following factors:

  • Customer satisfaction

Compare ratings and reviews from current customers. Is the supplier easy to contact? Do they follow up with queries in a timely manner? How reliable are they? The last thing you want is any added hassle after you’ve moved home. 

  • Eco-friendliness

If reducing your carbon footprint is a top priority, look for green-friendly plans that use renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. You’ll be surprised how cost-effective even 100% renewable electricity plans can be.

  • Fixed-term vs variable rates

Look at whether the plan offers a fixed-term per-unit (kWh) tariff that stays the same every month for the duration of the plan. For those who prefer the cheapest price, these often provide great value for money and eliminate any uncertainty. However, variable plans provide extra flexibility in not tying you to a contract or expensive exit fees. 

  • Extra fees

Read the fine print to find out if you’ll be charged cancellation fees, connectivity fees, or anything else on top of the standard rate. Many fixed-term plans come with these penalties, but not all do.

After you’ve weighed all these options, the next step is to select the one you want and provide your new address. You’ll receive a welcome pack and letter from your energy supplier with all the terms and conditions of your new plan. Bear in mind that it can take up to 21 days for your new plan to officially kick in. You won’t experience any disruption to your gas and electricity service, but you’ll need to pay the existing supplier for energy used between moving in and switching to your new plan. You’ll have a 14-day cooling-off period to change your mind without any consequences if you happen to find a better deal.  

Setting up gas and electricity in a new home: frequently asked questions

What if there’s a prepayment meter?

It’s relatively common to move into a new property to find there’s only a prepayment meter. This type of meter means you must pay for your gas and electricity up-front with a key, token, or smartcard. Although there are some benefits to paying in advance, prepayment meters usually cost more due to higher rates and fewer plans to choose from. 

Fortunately, it’s simple to switch your prepayment meter to a standard credit meter. Contact your supplier of choice and request a change – they’ll ask to run a credit check and require proof of address, but none of the big six suppliers charge a fee for this. Be sure to take a meter reading before you contact your supplier, so that you’re not held responsible for outstanding debts from the previous resident.  

What if I'm a tenant?

If you’re renting your new home, one of the first things to look at before signing your new tenancy agreement is who takes responsibility for energy bills. The account may be in the landlord’s name, or it could be your responsibility. You’ll only be able to compare and switch energy suppliers if you’re the one directly paying energy bills, but it’s always a good idea to inform your landlord first. As a tenant, you can only be charged for the electricity and gas that you consume, so you shouldn’t be held responsible for communal lighting or heating repairs. As always, read the fine print before signing any rental paperwork. 

What if the new house isn’t connected to the mains?

Some newer properties won’t yet be connected to the gas and electricity network. This is something you’ll want to sort out before moving day, to avoid any unpleasant surprises like lack of power upon arrival. Visit www.nationalgrid.com to request a connection from a distribution network operator or gas transporter. Another option is to request the connection directly through your choice of energy supplier. 

What if there is an existing Economy 7 meter?

When moving into a new house, gas and electricity patterns are something to think about. If your daily routine means that you spend less energy overnight, an Economy 7 or Economy 10 meter might be a good fit. This type of electricity meter works with a multi-tier rate system, charging less for overnight use and more for daytime use. If you move into a house with an Economy 7 meter but don’t think it’s right for you, you’ll want to switch to a standard meter straight away to avoid getting overcharged. Contact your supplier to do so. 

I’m a first-time buyer – what should I budget for in my utility bills?

If you’re a first-time buyer, you’ll need to worry about everything from saving a deposit to sorting out a mortgage. Understandably when moving into your first home, utility bills won’t be at the top of your list of priorities, so you might not be sure what to expect. Average household bills in the UK currently run at about £49 per month for electricity and £48 per month for gas, so be sure to work this into your budget when you’re looking at properties. Prices will vary widely depending on the region, size of the property, and number of occupants, as well as the home’s energy rating. 

Setting up gas and electricity in a new home is a simple process, particularly if you use online comparison sites to view your options and make the switch. Whether you’re renting or buying, a bit of forward planning goes a long way to ease the stress of moving day.

Read more:

Child adjusts electricity meter

The ultimate guide to electricity meters and meter readings

Saveonenergy explains how to read your electricity meter and make sure you don't pay more than you need to for your energy.

Read more
Big energy lightbulbs

Who are the big six energy suppliers?

Find out more about the UK's big six energy suppliers. Who are they and how they effect the market. Could you save by switching to a big six supplier?

Read more
Woman using a tablet to switch gas and electricity

How to switch your energy supplier

Saveonenergy can guide you through the process of switching energy supplier. Learn how to compare energy deals, and reduce your bills by choosing a provider that suits your needs.

Read more
Ben GallizziEnergy Expert - Oct 23rd 2019