How to Transfer Utilities When Moving: the Main Steps
Table of Contents
- 1. Why is it Important to Transfer Utilities When Moving?
- 2. The Main Steps Involved in Transferring Utilities
- 3. Frequently Asked Questions
There is a lot that goes into making a house move successful. Utility transfer is often not on top of the moving list that understandably prioritizes things like house hunting, choosing a good moving company, finding packing materials, and packing up the house.
That’s not to mean it’s not important. Transfer of utilities doesn’t have to be the first thing you tackle on your task list when moving. You just need to make sure you don’t forget to take care of it because no one wants to get into their new crib only to find essential services like electricity, water, or gas are not working.
Before we get into the process of how to transfer utilities, it’s worth pointing out that transferring utilities is not just a preserve of people buying a home. In most instances, it’s a responsibility that falls on renters as well, although the list of utilities you are responsible for is something you need to confirm with your new landlord first.
While many landlords usually cover the cost of basic utilities like water and sewerage, sometimes you’ll be the one to set up these services through the county or city. Don’t worry, you don’t need to pay the utility providers a visit in person: transferring utilities is something that can be conveniently done over the phone or online.
Why is it Important to Transfer Utilities When Moving?
The importance of transferring utilities when moving cannot be overlooked. Everything we do in our homes literally depends on these services: water, electricity, gas, sewerage, Internet, cable/satellite; the works.
As such, you don’t want to get to your new residence only to find out you cannot enjoy a hot bath, whip up a decent meal, or simply put your feet up and unwind with your favorite TV show.
The process of relocating is involving enough as it is; you can do without the additional headache or inconvenience of spending your first day or week in a new house without these essential services.
There is no shortage of things to do after moving – and even the actual setup of some of the utilities will happen post-move. But you don’t want to wait until you move into the new house to initiate the utility transfer process.
The Main Steps Involved in Transferring Utilities.
Now you know the importance of switching utilities when moving, but what exactly is involved in the actual transfer of utilities process?
If it’s your first time transferring utilities when moving or you found it a painful process when you last tried it, this guide is for you. Below, we break down the utility transfer process step-by-step so you know exactly how to approach it next time without having to stress about it.
It’s pretty straightforward really…
1. Plan Ahead of Time.
As with most things moving, utilities transfer when moving starts with a good plan in place.
Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to kick-start the utility transfer process: that will not only leave you stressed out, but it would be a bummer if you have to wait for days after moving in or pay extra for new services to be installed or turned on.
We recommend getting in touch with the respective service providers at least two weeks ahead of moving day to inform them of your upcoming move.
We want to believe you have already settled on a moving date. With that locked in, go ahead and furnish your provider(s) with both the move-out and move-in dates. As well, ask them to switch off utilities at your current place a day after moving out, and also to turn on utilities at your new house or apartment a day before your move-in date.
2. Research Your Service Providers.
If you are relocating within the same city or state, this step in the transfer of utilities process will probably not be necessary as you’ll likely be retaining your current providers – unless you have alternatives and feel the need for transferring utilities to a new supplier.
If you are moving to a different city out of state or a different part of the country, however, chances are you’ll be required to transfer utilities to a new company – unless you find the same provider in the new city, considering some names tend to be ubiquitous in many cities across the country.
Take some time before your move to look up the options available to you. You can start with local government or respective city websites, although realtors are also a good source of this type of info; local experts are too.
3. Make a List of All Your Utilities.
When transferring utilities during a move, you don’t want to overlook any. You also want to ensure the process is fast and simple as you don’t want to spend more time in utility transfer than you need to.
Thus, before you start reaching out to the providers to initiate the process, write down all your current providers, complete with their phone numbers and the respective account number you hold with each of them – gas account, water bill transfer account, electricity account, and so on.
4. Clear All Pending Arrears.
Before transferring utility service, make sure you do not have any pending bills. If you’re not sure if or how much you owe the provider, confirm this when you contact them.
You certainly don’t want any old bills coming back to haunt you later, something that could even deal a blow on your credit score. Or get in the way of a good sale if you are a homeowner looking to sell.
While you are at it, check with the Internet service provider if you need to return their hardware. Some do need it back and will usually allow for mail-ins or in-store drop-offs and may even provide packaging for subscribers to use.
There is nothing like starting off in a new place without the baggage of the past bogging you down.
5. Note Down Your Meter Readings Before Leaving.
This is more of a precautionary measure when transferring utilities to avoid any mix-ups or nasty surprises down the line.
Many people do not remember to do this, but confirming the final meter readings on your utilities when moving can strengthen your case in the future should any discrepancies or misunderstandings regarding any of your last bills arise.
So, before you move out, have the utility company agents come over for a final reading of your electricity, gas, and water meters. As long as you have the official readings, there can be no confusion as to whether or not you owe the utilities provider.
For this reason, you should keep the reports under lock and key for the time being (at least for 6 months). It’s for your own good.
6. Check if and Which Utility Costs Are Catered For By HOA.
Are you moving to an area with a homeowners association (HOA)? If so, keep in mind when transferring utilities that part of the HOA fees you fork out may be channeled towards payment of basic utilities which usually include water, gas, sewerage, and waste disposal.
Some community associations also cover additional costs such as HVAC fees in shared buildings such as high-rise apartments, and other HOAs go further to pay for cable and Internet services for the whole community in partnership with the respective service vendors.
While HOA fees may seem unreasonable at times, the silver lining is that this option might be easier and more convenient for you, particularly if the fees cater to a range of services and amenities. Not only does the responsibility of paying for a select list of services rest on someone else, but it also means fewer bills to monitor on your part each month.
7. Update Your Address.
Something else you should remember when doing utilities transfer when moving is to furnish the different utility providers with your new address. This ensures you don’t run the risk of having any future bills or mails sent to your old residence.
In addition to the utility providers, also make sure to update your address details with USPS when transferring utilities and get the “Change address” checkbox ticked once and for all. This can be done through the USPS website where you should be prompted to specify the date you wish to have all new mail begin forwarding to your new address.
8. Confirm the Transfer of Utilities.
After you transfer utilities when moving, don’t leave things to chance by waiting until after relocating to find out if everything is fine.
You can preempt any potential inconveniences by simply confirming with each provider if the utility transfer has been effected a few days before moving out – whether that be transferring electricity bill, transferring water bill, gas, and what-not.
While you’re at it, cross-check the switch-off and start date with each provider just so you are on the same page. The contact and billing information as well in case an agent got it wrong.
9. Perform an Energy Audit of Your New Home.
Lastly, when transferring utilities or switching residences, it’s always advisable to have an audit of the energy consumption in the new house to ensure everything is up to snuff. If you’ve dealt with a faulty HVAC system or poor ductwork or insulation before, you will know these can be bottomless money pits that cost a fortune to maintain.
The purpose of an energy audit is to identify any potential issues that might be plaguing these systems and arrest the problems early before they wipe your bank account squeaky clean, especially at a time when energy bills are at the highest level we’ve seen in almost two decades.
Thus, find a qualified technician to conduct a thorough energy audit of your new house so that you know whether to improve the ductwork, insulation, or furnace. While this might add to the overall cost of moving out of state (or moving in general), it can save you thousands in the long-term.
The process of transferring utilities is one of those unenjoyable tasks you will have to do when moving house.
The good thing is that the utility transfer process is not as complicated as it may seem as most of the work is done on the provider’s end. All that is largely required on your part for transfer of utilities is proof of identity, proof of residence at your new place, and a service application form from your county or city; along with your move-out and move-in dates of course.
Transferring utilities may not be fun, but it’s one of those little details that allow for a seamless and stress-free transition from your current place to your new pad.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does It Cost to Transfer Utilities?
The cost of switching utilities when moving is not fixed per se. It will differ from one utility company and service provider to the next. The best way to find out the cost of transferring utilities is to reach out directly to the respective provider and enquire about the charges. This also ensures you get the most up-to-date information.
Keep in mind, though, that some suppliers may levy an extra fee for plugging the service back on if it was completely disconnected.
When to Disconnect Utilities When Moving?
The best time to disconnect utilities when moving is to have them turned off a day after your move-out date and have them turned on at the new residence a day before you move in.
However, always give the utilities companies a notice of utility transfer at least two weeks before your move-out date (or even a month provided the decision to move has been cemented). Then confirm the transfer and account details a few days before moving day.
How Long Does It Take To Transfer Utilities?
Transferring utilities doesn’t take a long time. Most utility companies can effect the changes within a 48-hour period.
However, the problem with leaving it late is that sometimes it can take longer to get the systems up and running in the new address, considering it could take days for the transfer paperwork to go through.
This is why you should always initiate the transfer process weeks in advance, particularly in peak moving season (between May and September) when even getting through to the service providers on phone can work as their lines are perpetually off the hook.
What to do with gas and electricity when moving house?
When moving house, you need to get in touch with the gas and electricity suppliers informing them that you are moving out of your current residence.
Utility providers need a few days’ notice (usually 48 hours) but unless you’re moving at such short notice, it would be in your best interest to serve them the notice at least two weeks before your move-out date.
You will then be sent the final meter readings which you need to clear. The gas and electricity will be switched off on the dates you have specified, so make sure to double-check the expected switch-off/turn-on dates just to be sure you and the respective providers are reading from the same hymn sheet.