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Managing your energy when moving house

By Maxwell Cooper

Energy is one of the last things you want to think about when you're moving home. We've written this guide to make life easier. A few simple steps and you'll be sorted in no time.

A person is packing up their home, piling their belongings into boxes, while distracting their cat with their keys.

Moving house in a nutshell

What to do with your energy when moving out

1. At least 48 hours before you move – contact your supplier to tell them you're moving and give them your new address.

2. On the day you move out – take your final meter readings and give them to your supplier. Keep a note of the readings and the date, just in case there's a question about your final bill.

3. Don't cancel your Direct Debit just yet – if you pay by Direct Debit don't cancel it straight away. Your supplier will need it to take your final payment, or refund any credit left in your account.

What to do with your energy when moving in

1. Let your new property's supplier know you've moved in – if you're not sure who they are, you can look up your energy supplier online.

2. Read the meters on the day you move in – give the readings to your new supplier.

3. Check you'll get the best deal for your energy – before you commit to the supplier at your new home, check they'll give you the best value for money. Now is a good time to shop around.

Moving home with a credit meter

A 'credit meter' means that you pay for your energy monthly by Direct Debit, or when you get a bill.

1. Contact your supplier at least 48 hours before you move out

2. Give them your final meter readings and your moving out date

3. You'll get a final bill within 6 weeks

4. Don't cancel your Direct Debit

Your energy supplier will use your final meter reading to close your account and send an accurate final bill to your new address. If you don't send a final meter reading, your supplier will use an estimate to calculate your final bill instead.

Most energy suppliers will let you send your final readings using your online energy account. But you can also call your supplier and give them this information over the phone.

You'll be sent a final bill within 6 weeks of your account being closed. Don't cancel your Direct Debit during this time as it makes it easier for your supplier to refund any credit left on your account, or take a final payment.

Do I need to pay exit fees when I move home?

Bulb doesn't charge exit fees when you close your account, but some suppliers do. This usually happens when you're on a fixed-term, fixed-rate contract. If your contract is fixed and you need to move, ask if you can take your account to your new property to see out the end of the contract and avoid the fee. If you're switching to Bulb from a supplier that does charge you for leaving, Bulb will refund your exit fees.

Someone waving goodbye to an IHD

Should I take my In-Home Display (IHD) with me when I move out?

No. If your property has a smart meter, you may also have an IHD - a small screen that shows your usage. This is linked to your smart meter and won't work if you take it elsewhere. If your new home has a smart meter, you should have an IHD waiting for you when you move in.

How do I set up gas and electricity in my new home?

  • Get in touch with the supplier at your new property within 48 hours of moving in

  • Give your new supplier your details and a meter reading

  • Your supplier will use an estimated reading to open your account if you can't give them a reading

  • If you're renting and your gas and electricity are included in the rent, your landlord will look after the energy for you.

A woman sitting down, cross-legged, on her laptop.

Usually, when you move into a new home, it will already be supplied with energy. The supplier should send a letter to introduce themselves, but if you haven't received a letter, you can easily find out who supplies your home.

Once you know your supplier's details, get in touch and let them know your:

  • home address

  • email address

  • opening meter readings

  • bank details

If Bulb is supplying your new home, you can get in touch quickly online. Other suppliers offer similar services, or you can give them a call. Once you've set up an account and you're paying for the energy you're using, you can decide if you want to switch supplier.

Moving home with a top-up (prepayment) meter

A 'top-up' or 'prepayment' meter means that you pay for your energy as you go. You usually top up the credit on your meter with a key, a card or online.

How do I cancel my prepay gas and electricity when I'm moving out?

  • Let your supplier know up to 48 hours before you move out

  • Any credit left on the meter will be refunded

  • Don’t leave your key or card in the meter

A cheery man topping up his meter with his electricity key.

If you have a top-up meter, get in touch with your energy supplier before you move out. If there's any credit left on the meter they can refund it to your bank account. They can also set up a repayment plan if there's any unpaid debt.

Don't leave your electricity key or gas card in the meter. This will drain the meter's battery. Instead, leave it with the landlord, or next to the meter ready for the next tenant.

How do I set up my energy if I'm moving into a home with a top-up meter?

  • Get in touch with your new supplier to set up your account

  • Use your emergency credit if you haven’t got a key or card

If you're moving into a home with a top-up meter, you should get in touch with the energy supplier for the property to let them know you've moved in. They'll probably send a letter to introduce themselves, but if they haven't you can find out who supplies your home.

A gas card and electricity key with an energy statement

Once you've let your supplier know you've moved into the property, they'll send you a new top-up key for your electricity meter, and a new card if you have a top-up gas meter. If you don't have a key or card, you can request an urgent delivery by ringing your supplier.

Can I change from a top-up meter to a credit meter?

Yes. If you've just moved into a property with a top-up meter, you can exchange it for a credit meter.

Some suppliers do this for free, others charge a small fee. It's worth checking with your supplier how much this will cost before booking an engineer.

What should I do if there's debt on my meter?

  • The daily standing charge can build up debt on your meter

  • Sometimes debt on the meter can be the previous tenant's

  • Contact your supplier to find out how to clear the debt

You should contact the supplier of the property if there's debt on the meter when you move in. They'll let you know whether it's yours or the previous tenant's. If it's not yours, your supplier will wipe it from your meter, and if it is, they can set you up on a repayment plan so you can pay this off in a time frame that suits you.

“Every meter has a daily standing charge that needs to be paid, even when you're not using energy.”

If the debt is yours but you've only just moved in, it could be due to the standing charge on the meter. This is a daily fee that covers the cost of keeping your property connected to the network. You need to pay this even when you're not using energy.

How do I find out who supplies my home?

Electricity

Find out who supplies your electricity by calling your network operator. Make sure to have your meter serial number handy.

Gas

Find My Supplier can tell you who supplies your home with gas.

When should I contact my supplier?

You'll begin paying for your energy as soon as you take over responsibility for the property. That's the date your tenancy starts if you're renting or the completion date if you're buying. You should get in touch with your supplier 48 hours before you become responsible for your new home. If you leave it too long, you could build up debt on your energy account.

What if I've moved in and can't read my meter?

If you're unable to give a meter reading, your supplier will use an estimated reading to set up your account so you can start paying for your energy. If you don't agree with this estimated reading, you can provide your own reading at a later date.

You can find out more about estimated readings and how to read your meter.

What if I need help reading my meter?

If there are issues that mean you can't read your meter, your supplier can arrange for someone to come round and read it for you.

If you can't read your meter because you have mobility issues, you can receive free support services from your supplier (also known as the Priority Services Register). Get in touch with your supplier to find out more about the services they offer.

Switching your energy supplier in your new home

  • You can switch energy supplier as soon as you become responsible for the property

  • You’ll need to get in touch with your current supplier first

  • A switch usually takes 21 days

A smartphone showing a page titled "Get in touch" with the options to call or email.

Can I take my supplier with me when I move?

Yes, but your new property will already have an energy supplier. You'll be able to start your switch to your preferred supplier once you get the keys to your new home.

Contact the supplier of your new property to let them know you're switching away. They'll ask for payment details to cover the cost of the energy you've used so far. A switch usually takes 21 days, and your new supplier will be in touch when the switch has gone through. You won't lose power during the switching process.

“Get in touch with your new home's supplier before you switch away. Otherwise they could stop your switch.”

If you don't get in touch with your current supplier they may stop your switch going through. This could be because you haven't paid for the energy you've used, or they may think you've switched accidentally.

Can I move house if I'm still in a fixed term energy contract?

Yes. Being in the middle of a fixed term contract shouldn't stop you from moving house. However, your supplier may ask you to take them with you to your new home to complete the rest of the term. You don't have to take your fixed term contract to your new property if you don't want to. But some suppliers may charge you an 'exit fee' for cancelling the contract.

If your supplier charges you for leaving and you decide to switch your new home to Bulb, we'll cover up to £120 of your exit fees (£60 for electricity and £60 for gas).

When will I receive my final bill?

If you switch supplier once you've moved in, your new home's supplier will bill you for the energy you used up until the switch date. You'll receive a final bill within 6 weeks of closing your account.

Do I have to stay with my new home's energy supplier?

No, if you pay for your energy, you can decide who you want to supply it, but if your landlord looks after your energy bills you may have to ask them first. If you choose to remain with your new home's supplier, you should take a look at their tariffs, or plans. If they have multiple tariffs and you don't choose one yourself, you might not be getting a good deal.

Can I change my energy supplier if I'm renting?

Yes, if you pay the bills. The only time you may not be able to change supplier is if your landlord looks after and pays for the energy. If you're unsure who pays for the property's energy, check with your landlord before switching.

Why am I paying for energy when I'm not using any?

If you don't move in straight away, and the property isn't using any energy, you'll still need to pay for the standing charge, which is a daily fee that covers the cost of keeping the property connected to the network.

If the property is unoccupied for a long time, you should still contact the energy supplier to make sure you're paying for the standing charge.

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