Moving House: Changing Utilities

tap in sky Changing Your Utilities

We all love our home comforts, brought to us by a raft of utility and service providers. But there are so many of them, it's easy to overlook at least one when you move house. So, follow our checklist when you move, and changing your utilities will be a breeze.

By Justine Roffey

mobile phones Changing Your Utilities

Whatever happens to house prices there will always be thousands of us on the move at any one time. And, whether we've moved house before or are first time buyers, it helps to have a checklist.

Failing to let everyone know you're moving house won't just cost you time and be inconvenient, it will also cost you money. This is especially true of services such as gas, electricity and the telephone, as it costs a good bit more to disconnect and then reconnect them, than to simply transfer your account. There are specialist websites, such as www.iammoving.com, that allow you to compile a database of your providers to ensure no-one slips through the net. Read on for more unmissable tips.

Communications

This includes your home phone, mobile phone, Internet Service Provider and Broadband supplier. Call your supplier to advise them of your new details - you may be able to transfer your old number or set up a redirection service to your new number. Find out if there is a line you can take over at your new home: if not, a BT reconnection charge of around £125 will apply. Allow at least a fortnight before the date you want your old number deactivated and five working days for the new one.

Contacts
BT (www.bt.com/movinghome)
AOL (www.aolbroadband.co.uk)
Virgin (www.virginmedia.com)
Tiscali (www.tiscali.co.uk)

Council Tax

Homes in the UK are allocated to one of eight Council Tax valuation bands, with the bill based upon the assumption of two adults living there. Visit your local authority website and fill out an online form to notify them of your changing circumstances. Remember you'll also need to contact your new local authority if you are moving out of the area.

Contacts
Citizens Advice Bureau (www.adviceguide.org.uk)
Council Tax (www.voa.gov.uk/council_tax)
Local councils index (www.direct.gov.uk/directory)

Electricity

Your current electricity supplier will need at least two days' notice of your move, but let them know sooner if possible. Arrange for the meter to be read, if they require this, or make a note of the reading yourself and keep it in a safe place in case of disputes. Upon arrival at your new home, read the meters. If you find there is no electricity, go through the obvious checks:

  • Are there lightbulbs in the sockets?
  • Are the fuses and trip switches okay?

If you have been disconnected, call you local electricity distributor (number in the phone book) to send an engineer.

Contacts
Energywatch (www.energywatch.org.uk)
National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (www.niceic.org.uk)
National Grid (www.nationalgrid.com/uk/)
The Electricity Guide (www.electricity-guide.org.uk)

Gas

Most gas suppliers need a minimum of two days' notice, but the longer you can give them the better. If you are on a special tariff you should be able to take this rate with you. Read the meters when you leave and let the supplier know. You should receive your final bill for this address within 14 days.

Find out who supplies the gas at your new address. If it's not the same as your old supplier, you'll need to notify them that you have moved in. When you arrive at your new home, you may find there is no gas supply. First check that the meter isn't switched off, then call British Gas to send an engineer to reconnect the supply (there may be a charge for reconnection). Take readings as soon as you arrive.

Contacts
Briitsh Gas (www.britishgas.co.uk)
Energywatch (www.energywatch.org.uk)
The Gas Guide (www.gas-guide.org.uk)
National Grid (www.nationalgrid.com/uk)

Insurance

Buildings insurance (covering the fabric of the structure) and contents (protecting all your belongings) are the two main insurances you need to ensure are in place as soon as you take possession of your new home. Buildings usually forms part of the mortgage arrangement. Contact your provider at least 10 days before the move, and don't forget other insurances such as car, pet and travel.

Pin down the insurance situation with your removals firm - they should cover your belongings when they are in their possession, but may not cover boxes you have packed yourself. Remember to check that your belongings are insured if you are using a storage facility. If you decide to transport especially valuable items yourself, check your contents insurance covers it - most home policies don't.

Contacts

I Am Moving (www.iammoving.com).

Post

Try as you might, there are bound to be some organisations that you don't notify in time. Setting up a redirection saves you missing any important post and protects you against identity fraud, should any of your correspondence containing personal information fall in to the wrong hands. At around £37 for a year you'll ensure you catch any mail that only arrives annually.

Contacts

Royal Mail Redirection (www.royalmail.com).

Television

As well as notifying TV licensing, remember to inform your cable or satellite TV firm, and arrange for the service to be transferred. You may also want to check the availability of digital TV in your new area - enter your postcode on the Digital UK website.

Contacts

TV Licensing (www.tvlicensing.co.uk)
Digital UK (www.digitaluk.co.uk)

tap Changing Your Utilities

Water

You water supplier needs 48 hours' notice of your imminent move, but again give them more notice if possible. Read the meters when you leave and when you arrive in your new home, and keep the numbers in a safe place. While you are in contact with the water authority, ask for information about getting a meter installed at your new home as it could save you over £200 a year.

Contacts

Water Guide UK (www.water-guide.org.uk/move-house.html)
Water UK (www.water.org.uk)

Reduce Your Utility Bills

As you are already digging out bills and contacting your various providers, take the opportunity to scout around and see if you can get your services elsewhere cheaper, or from a green supplier.

Contacts

uSwitch (www.uswitch.com)
confused.com (www.confused.com)
Switch with Which? (www.switchwithwhich.co.uk)
Money Saving Expert (www.moneysavingexpert.com)
Energy Helpline (www.energyhelpline.com)

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