Switching Energy Providers After Moving House
When you move into a new property, you’ll automatically be placed onto a ‘deemed contract’ with the current supplier of the home. Not only will the supplier have been chosen by the previous owner or occupant of the property, to meet their fuel and financial needs—and possibly chosen many years ago—but you’ll also be placed onto an expensive standard tariff. You’ll generally want to switch to a new supplier and new tariff, ideally a cheaper fixed-rate one, when you move in. Additionally, you might want to use a renewable supplier that reflects your personal commitment to protecting the environment, or one with which you’ve had a good experience in the past.
If you were on a fixed-term energy tariff at your old address, you might face an exit fee for breaking the contract early and it might be cheaper to simply transfer your contract to your new property. However, this may not always be possible, or economical: not every energy supplier operates in every region and their prices may be steeper in your new area. Do the maths before importing an old contract to a new address.
Customer complacency is the biggest reason a large number of Britons pay over the odds for energy. According to Ofgem, 54% of us are on default tariffs, including pricy standard variable tariffs (SVTs), often because we’ve stuck with the same supplier and not re-negotiated our tariff for years after our fixed-rate contract has expired. 61% of us have never switched supplier or switched only once, although Ofgem found that changing from a SVT to the cheapest fixed-rate trip on the market could save households £320 a year.
It pays to switch and moving home is a great time to do so. Follow these steps for a pain-free switching process after you move, so you can start earning savings on your energy bill before you even unpack those boxes.
1. Contact the Current Supplier of the Property
When you move into a property, the lights should switch on and the sockets should be pumping electricity. This is all from the previous energy supplier of the property, the one that’s placed you on the deemed contract, and you’ll need to contact them to move forward. You may not know who the energy supplier of the property is, however. To find out the electricity supplier of a home, contact the local electricity distribution company and ask for the meter point administration service (MPAS). To find out the gas supplier, call the meter number helpline on 0870 608 1524.
2. Give That Supplier Energy Readings
Take meter readings the day you move in and provide your energy suppliers with these. Taking prompt readings will help the supplier work out an accurate bill for you and ensure you’re not charged for the previous occupants’ energy use.
3. If the New Property Has a Pre-Payment Meter
It’s even more important to contact the current supplier promptly if you move into a home with a pre-payment meter. Do so before you use a key or card or put any money into the meter, otherwise you may be paying for the debts of the previous occupants of the home. If you have put money into the meter—say, if you’re unable to contact the supplier immediately and need to keep the lights on—notify the supplier. If you’re able to prove the day you moved in, they can refund you for those charges.
When you contact the supplier ask that they send you a new pre-payment key or card to use on the meter and that they remove any existing debt from the meter.
You’ll probably want to consider switching from a pre-payment meter to a normal one that allows you to pay for energy use in advance. Energy purchased via a pre-payment deal is always more expensive than one paid for via direct debit on a contact. Additionally, a pre-payment meter involves the hassle of running to the shop to top up the key or card and you risk running out of electricity and gas if you don’t keep on top of how much you’ve used.
You can ask your energy supplier to switch your pre-payment meter to a normal meter at any time as long as you’re not in debt to them, usually for no cost. If your supplier attempts to charge you for replacing the meter, seek out a supplier that won’t.
4. Switch Supplier
You can only switch suppliers the day you move into the property and not before. Start the process sooner rather than later to avoid paying for more than the minimum number of days with the old supplier.
The best way to find a cheap gas and electricity tariffs is to a use an energy comparison engine to compare the most quotes as quickly as possible. You’ll need to supply the postcode of your new address and how much energy you expect to use, in kilowatt hours. Because you won’t have previous bills for this address to draw this information from, you can use a calculator that will give you an estimate based on the property size and type.
You won’t need to inform the existing energy supplier that you’re switching. The new supplier will take care of that. However, once you’ve arranged a new energy supply, you’ll need to take meter readings on the handover date and provide them to both the old and new suppliers.
5. Pay Final Bill from Old Supplier
Because it takes 21 days for the energy switching process to be complete, you’ll receive one final bill from the old supplier that you’ll need to pay.