Power and Water and TV, Oh My!
Don’t forget – just like your boxes and furniture, you have to bring your services to your new home as well! Forgetting to transfer or cancel and set up power, water and other services could leave you with stress on your moving day, or worse, expensive past-due bills. It only takes a few phone calls and a little bit of organization to quickly and efficiently handle the transfer of utilities.
You’ll want to begin arranging for the cancellation and reconnection or transferal of utilities about two weeks in advance of your moving day. This gives you enough lead-time to schedule any in-person appointments that may be necessary. Start by making a checklist of the services that will need taking care of. Some common ones you may have to cancel or transfer include:
- Home Security
- Waste Removal
Prepared with your list of utilities to move, your next step should be to check on options in your new home. If you’re moving into an apartment or condo complex, the leasing office should be able to provide you with a list of which utilities service the buildings. If your new home is a single family home, the previous owners, your new neighbors, or even your real estate agent may be able to give you advice.
One factor to remember: Some states have deregulated electricity and natural gas services. This means you may have a choice of multiple providers and service plans – some with significant monetary or environmental savings. Be sure to look into this before you sign up.
If you are only moving a short distance, it is likely you will be able to keep some of the same service providers. This makes things especially simple, as you will only need to transfer the utility to a new address – you will be able to keep the same account and should not have to pay any cancellation or start-up fees.
You will need to have your account information on hand when contacting utility companies, so gather your account number, password, and other personal information (home address, social security number) before you begin making calls.
You’ll want to ask each provider a few key questions:
- What are the charges for canceling or starting service?
- Will someone need to be present at the home when utilities are switched off or on?
- If you paid a deposit when starting service, how do you get that money back?
- How should you deal with leftover equipment? (cable box, Internet modem)
Also, be sure to give your new address for any final bills or notices, and while you’re in the process of transferring utilities, complete the necessary change of address forms with the postal service in case anything does get sent to your old home. You don’t want to miss out on important statements and subsequently be charged late fees.
Tips to save money and avoid stress
The process of switching your utilities to a new home isn’t complicated, but there are actually some ways to make it go even more smoothly – and save yourself some money in the process.
Here are our top tips:
- Arrange a final reading of the gas, electric and water meters to get the most accurate usage date for your last bill. Keep a copy of this reading and compare to your final bill. When you receive the final invoice from the utility, check to be sure it reflects both the final reading and your actual move-out date, to ensure you weren’t overcharged for any days of service post-move.
- If moving into an apartment, check if any of your utilities are provided or pre-established by the building; services such as trash collection and water sometimes are included in the cost of rent or homeowners association fee. Not doing so could mean setting up certain services unnecessarily, or even double paying.
- Moving is a good time to do a “gut-check” on the utilities you currently pay for. Is there anything you can cut out of your monthly expenses by opting out of a utility completely or settling for a lower package? For example, do you still need a home phone? Is cable television really the right option? Moving is the perfect time to reevaluate your needs, and perhaps choose not to install a cable package at your new place.
- Moving is also an ideal time to ask a utilities provider for a discount! Does the preferred provider in certain condo communities offer a deal for new residents? Are there any specials for new customers? Will they waive certain fees if you sign up for auto-bill-pay or paperless billing? Many providers have these offers available, but they are not always advertised.
- Save yourself a headache on moving day by timing your utility cancellations and start-ups just right. Essentials, like power and water, should be kept on at your old place until after the moving van pulls away, and pre-established at your new place by the time you arrive. No one wants to be finishing up packing in the dark, or unpacking with no air conditioning! The non-essentials, including television service, can wait a day or two for installation. No matter how much you love your TV, we recommend you don’t schedule installation on the day of your move-in – it would be such a hassle to be stuck waiting for and working around a service provider when you’re also managing a moving truck.
- Lastly, this tip won’t save you money, but if less moving stress is what you’re after, there may be concierge-style moving help in your area that deal with utility switches and other services for you. Some movers now offer this service, either for a fee or as a free incentive to their customers.
Frequently asked questions for utilities
Can I keep my same utilities and other services?
Maybe. It depends on whether you’re still in the same service area for your services. If you’re buying a house, your real estate agent can tell you the providers in your area. If you’re renting, your landlord can tell you. It’s just one of those things to do before moving, so be sure to put checking on utilities on your moving to do list.
Will I have to pay a deposit?
If you’re keeping your same providers, probably not. If you’re signing up for new service, you might – depending on your credit and other factors.
When should the timing be for moving utilities?
When moving to a new city or just across town, you should allow a small overlap. You don’t want to move out or move in without electricity or water. Internet and TV service is a luxury, and you might not be able to get either done beforehand if you’re moving a longer distance.
My real estate agent says energy at my new home is deregulated. What does that mean?
In parts of some states, electricity and/or natural gas service is deregulated, meaning you have your choice of energy providers. This allows you to shop for the energy deal you want in those areas.
Anything else I should do?
Double check to make sure your old utility has your new address, especially when moving to a new city. You don’t want that last bill to be hanging around ruining your credit because it didn’t get to you. And you might even be due a refund of your deposit.