Moving? – A Check List to Keep Your Utility Bill Low
Moving? A Check List to Keep Your Utility Bill Low
Before Your Move
Before you set up the utilities at your new home, find out whether you need electricity only or gas as well. If your new home has gas appliances such as a gas fired oven or stove or a natural gas furnace for space heating, you’ll also have to find a gas supplier. Allow at least a week for your current service provider to cancel the services at your old home and the new supplier to set up services at your new place.
Contact Your Current Provider
Once you have a move-out date, you should contact your electric and natural gas suppliers to cancel their services for the day after you move out. Keep in mind that some energy providers have minimum notification periods for service cancellations. Some contracts may also include a cancellation fee for early terminations. Many suppliers waive these fees when you’re moving out of their service area. Contact your utility service providers as soon as you have scheduled your move-out date.
Find Out More About Your New Home’s Energy Demand
To be able to estimate your monthly utility bills or to create a budget for your new home, find out about the average energy uses for the type of home you’re moving into. In New York homes for example, electricity consumption is significantly lower than the U.S. average, as many households use other fuels for space heating, water heating and cooking. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has useful statistics, which can help you estimate your energy cost.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) offers online calculators (https://www.energy.gov/) to estimate the energy consumption of your home by adding up the appliances in your home. New appliances come with an Energy Guide to help you estimate their consumption. Look out for the yellow sticker.
If you must buy new appliances such as a washer, dryer or refrigerator, choose an Energy Star rated model. They’ll save you about 15% in energy cost compared to standard models. Some utilities also offer rebates if you buy Energy Star rated appliances.
Find A Gas and Electricity Provider for Your New Home
Depending on where you're moving to, you may have to switch energy providers. If you’re moving to a new house within your city, you can usually keep your utility services. Call your electric and gas company to initiate the change of address process and schedule the switch for your moving date.
If you’re moving to a different city or even a different state, you should find out about the choices you have in that area. Many cities and states provide information for newcomers, including electric and gas supplier details.
If your current utility or retail energy provider (REP) operates in your new area, you may be able to transfer your utility services when you move. Call them to find out if they can continue to deliver energy to your new address.
If you’re moving to or within a deregulated energy market, you can choose a supplier to purchase your energy from either your local utility or from a retail energy provider. To find electricity and gas suppliers in your new area and their rates and plans available you can use one of the many comparison tools available online. They compile the best offers for electricity and natural gas rates based on the zip code you’re searching in.
Sign Up for Electricity and Gas Plans
Once you’ve found a retail energy supplier for your new home, pick a plan that works best for you. Most price comparison websites are linked directly to the offers online. Also, you can call the REP directly to set up your service. If you’re a new customer with the utility company, find out what they need from you before they can connect their services. Some companies initiate a credit check to determine whether you’ll need to pay a deposit.
After you’ve signed up for an electric plan, and a natural gas plan if needed, the retail energy provider will coordinate with the local utility on your behalf to deliver electricity or natural gas to your new home. Give your REP at least a few days’ notice to turn on electricity and natural gas services to make sure they can be switched on time.
While You're Moving
On move-out day, do a final meter reading of your electric and gas meters. If you don’t have access to your meters, have your utility service providers come out and conduct the final meter readings and ensure that the utilities are turned off. In some cases, they can read the meters remotely. This will protect you in case you receive any bills after you have moved out for utilities that you didn’t use.
The local utility will turn on the power at your new place on the connection date. A technician will take care of this and you usually don’t need to be there for this service. When you arrive at your new place, take meter readings of your electricity and natural gas meters on your move-in day. That way you can track your usage from the beginning on and make sure you only pay for what you’ve used.
After Your Move
After you’ve moved into your new house, update your address with your energy providers if you haven’t done so yet. If the utility automatically signed you for up their Standard Offer Service (SOS), find out if they have better plans available. You can still switch to a different retail energy provider if you moved to a deregulated area.
Do a quick energy audit of your new home after you get settled. Many utilities have free quick energy audits and some even give away free programmable thermostats and LED light bulbs. An energy audit will let you know where your new home needs some improvement. It helps you decide what projects you should do first by giving you estimates on the return of investment for each energy efficiency improvement.