There’s no denying it – moving house is a stressful business. And one thing that tends to be thrown to the bottom of the to-do list is sorting out your electricity provider because, let’s face it, it’s not the most exciting job in the world. But if you take your time sussing out suppliers, you might avoid getting stuck with an expensive tariff.
We’ve outlined how to go about switching energy suppliers when moving home – including when you should switch, whether renters need to look into switching, and how to deal with prepayment meters.
If you’re ready to switch suppliers straight away, there are various energy switching sites to help you with your decision. Switchd can do almost all of the legwork for you – all you need to do is fill in a quick form. It helps to have one of your own energy bills handy, but even this isn’t essential, as the company can use a bit of common sense to estimate what you’re paying currently.
What’s on this page?
Should I change my energy supplier when I move house?
Some people prefer the convenience of sticking with the energy provider that comes with the house, while others prefer to dig around and find the best offer available.
For renters looking to switch energy suppliers whilst moving house, keep in mind that you won’t always be in control of whether you can switch energy suppliers. Some rental properties are tied to a specific provider, and others may have prepayment meters installed. It’s worth having a discussion with your landlord if you feel like you can get a better, greener, or cheaper tariff elsewhere.
If you are able to make the switch, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best tariff for you and your family. Chances are your household’s energy usage will be different from that of the previous residents, so the existing provider or tariff may not be the best for you.
Plus, unless specifically stated by a landlord or building owner, tenants are under no obligation to stick with the existing providers – so take your time to suss out the best option for you.
Can you switch energy providers before you move in?
Yes – and you’ll be pleased to know it’s not complicated to set up.
You’ll need to start off by notifying your current energy supplier at least 48 hours before your move. All you have to do is tell your energy supplier the date of your move and your new address, so it can send you a final bill. Your provider will then either organise a meter reading or ask you to take one on the day of your move.
If you have to take the meter reading yourself, make sure to take it on your last day in the property to avoid being overcharged by your energy company.
If you’re unsure of how to take an electric and gas meter reading, simply follow these three steps:
- Jot down the first five numbers on each meter from left to right
- Ignore any numbers in red or surrounded by red colouring
- If one of the dials falls between two numbers, then take the lower number
How do I find the best energy supplier when I move in?
1. Compare gas and electricity prices to find the best deal
Take your time to shop around for the best deal for your home. There are various ways you can do this, but price comparison websites tend to be the most popular way of looking. The following chart outlines other ways you can compare energy providers:
Data from Which?
2. Consider exit fees
You’ll want to check if your existing tariff has an exit fee. Once you figure this out, you can then consider whether it’ll be better to stick with the house’s tariff, or switch after paying the exit fee
3. Compare different types of tariffs
You can opt for different tariffs from an array of providers – with some benefitting you more, depending on your living situation. If you’re renting, for example, a fixed tariff might not be so convenient for you – it will, however, save you money in the long run.
Data from Which?
*Bulb only has one tariff, which is fixed.
4. Switch to a renewable energy provider
In the past couple of years, there has been an explosion of new green energy deals. Some of these deals are among the cheapest on the market, while others can be quite pricey – so make sure to do your research
5. Look into smart meter tariffs
Some companies offer deals that use smart meter readings to offer tariffs tailored to different lifestyles. Smart meters track the amount of gas and electricity you use, send this to your energy company automatically, and show you how much it’s costing you.
What if your new home has a prepayment meter?
It shouldn’t be an issue if your new home has a prepayment meter – unless there’s an existing debt with the current supplier.
If your new home has a prepayment meter, contact the energy supplier to check whether there is an existing debt – and, in the meantime, try not to use a key or card or put any money on the meter. If you need to put money on the meter before you contact the current supplier, tell them this when you get in touch. They will pay you back for any extra charges you’ve paid, as long as you can prove when you moved in.
You might be able to replace the prepay meter with a regular meter, which will typically work out quite a bit cheaper. It all depends on how flexible your landlord or building owner is.
By replacing your prepayment meter, you’re likely to save money, reduce the added effort of going to the shops to top up your meter, and remove the risk of running out of gas or electricity if you don’t top up regularly.
What if I’m moving into rented accommodation?
Unless bills are included as part of your tenancy agreement, you’ll need to set up gas and electricity in your new home. Ask the current tenants, letting agency, or landlord which company currently supplies energy to the property, then contact the supplier to have the account put into your name from the date your tenancy starts.
As the new tenant, you have every right to switch suppliers if you find a better deal – you might just want to run it by your landlord or letting agency beforehand, just to be on the safe side.
What’s the verdict?
Hopefully, this article has cleared up any energy-switching woes lingering on your mind. Now you just need to make the move and switch!
There are various energy switching sites to help you with your decision. Switchd can do almost all of the legwork for you – all you need to do is fill in a quick form. It helps to have one of your own energy bills handy, but even this isn’t essential, as the company can use a bit of common sense to estimate what you’re paying currently.