Getting the best energy deal should be a priority no matter where you are on the property ladder, but if you’ve just moved home or are setting up gas and electric for the first time, it’s crucial to make sure you’re on top of new gas supply deals and energy plans that offer the best value for money for your new home.
In this guide you'll find answers to questions including:
Who should I notify when moving house?
How do I cancel my energy contact?
Can I take my fixed price energy plan with me when I move?
Should I take a final meter reading on the day of my move?
How do I set up gas and electricity in my new home?
How do you get gas and electricity quotes for first-time buyers?
What if I don’t get accepted for direct debit bills by my new home energy supplier?
How do I switch energy suppliers from a prepaid meter in a new home?
How do I set up gas and electricity for the first time in a new build?
How do I make an energy switch in a new build?
Moving into your new home checklist
The hard work of changing energy supplier begins long before you’ve started to pack up your belongings. First, you need to inform your gas and electricity supplier(s) that you’re moving – this will ensure your contract is cancelled when you move out, so you won’t continue to be billed for energy use in the property after you’ve gone. It also means that if someone is moving straight in after you, they’ll find it easier to set up their own gas and electricity supply as your current supplier will – at least initially – continue to supply them.
If you’re currently tied into a fixed-rate deal, then it’s likely (but not always the case) that it will come with financial penalties in the form of exit fees. These will apply if, when you move, you terminate your contract more than 49 days before the tariff is due to end. This ‘switching window’ period is in accordance with Ofgem rules, so be prepared to push back on any demands for money if you are safely within this 49-day period. Of course, in many cases you won’t be able to align your move with the end of your energy contract, so if you do cancel outside this window, be prepared to pay the exit fees – typically £25-50 per fuel (so £50-100 if you have a dual-fuel contract).
This may be possible, but it depends whether your energy supplier can supply your new address. Even if it does, you may find your specific tariff isn’t available in that region. In addition, energy prices vary depending on where you live in the UK, so if you’re moving to a completely different part of the UK, your prices may change even if you remain on the same tariff. If, however, you’re moving locally, you should find your plan is largely unaffected.
Another factor that will affect your energy costs going forward is your new home: it may be larger or smaller than your previous one (say a two-bed flat instead of a four-bed house), have a different type of heating system, or simply have more or less insulation – all of these factors will lead to you paying different amounts for your new gas and electricity supplies.
Absolutely. When you move home, your final bill won’t magically show up on your doorstep the day you move out. Assuming you’ve informed your supplier of your move, and are switching to a new supplier, you should receive a final bill after you’ve passed on your final meter reading, which should also include any additional charges such as exit fees. By taking this final meter reading on your last day in your home, you can make sure you don’t get accidentally charged for any gas or electricity used by the new occupants.
On TrustPilot, Tim Heywood provided this account of setting up gas and electricity in his new home:
"Just moved house. British Gas sent a letter saying we needed to register as they were the suppliers, but on their website they didn't recognise the address as ours. The meter wasn't working and they couldn't tell me how they would estimate the gas used. No customer service numbers to call, so while I was waiting 15 mins to be connected to a webchat, I found a much better supplier, had questions answered and used the time to improve both my bill and my customer service. Goodbye British Gas. Hello Octopus!"
Tim Heywood, TrustPilot
If you’ve ended your energy contract, when you move into your new home you’ll automatically be placed with the home’s current supplier, who will likely put you on its default variable tariff. This will be its most expensive tariff, but while it’s critical you look for the best deals using an online comparison tool, it helps to first know who the current supplier is.
For example, if the previous owners installed a smart meter with British Gas, switching energy supplier after you move in may result in the meter reverting to a standard digital meter rather than a smart one. This will only happen if the meter is a first-generation (SMETS1) model, and you should confirm that with the supplier before making any decision. If it is, and you decide you can’t wait for the software upgrade that will – in time – make the smart meter fully compatible with other suppliers, then you’ll need to find a British Gas plan to suit your needs.
Don’t worry if you can’t figure out who your new home gas and electric providers are – simply call one of the below numbers to find out:
Meter Number Helpline: 0870 608 1524
Online: input your new postcode and house number into the Find My Supplier website – if your home is on a dual-fuel tariff, this will also reveal your electricity supplier.
|Yorkshire||0845 070 7172|
|Southern England||0845 0262 554|
|South West England, South Wales, West & East Midlands||0845 6015 972|
|South East England||0845 6015 467|
|North West England||0870 7510 093|
|North Scotland||0345 026 2554|
|North East England||0845 6013 268|
|Merseyside, Cheshire, North Shropshire & North Wales||033 0101 0300|
|London||0845 601 5467|
|Eastern England||0845 6015 467|
|Central and South Scotland||0330 1010 300|
If you’re not concerned about who the previous supplier was, some suppliers will let you price up a plan as a new homeowner, this will assume you don’t know the specifics of your billing and will work on estimated costs. While this won’t return the most accurate of quotes, it will almost certainly gain you a better deal than being stuck on a deemed contract.
In theory, the steps you need to take to find first-time buyer gas and electric plans are the same as for any other property.
Moving into your first home is an exciting, but incredibly stressful time, and a lack of experience may find yourself forgetting to ask the old owners who their current energy supplier is – if that’s the case, you can follow the steps above to confirm it, or opt instead to look at estimated quotes. You won’t pay higher prices because this is your first home, but with no history of failing to pay bills combined with the fact you’re likely to have a good credit score having secured a mortgage, you should find any direct debit plan is quickly approved.
First check to see if you can secure a direct debit option by offering to pay a deposit. If you’ve previously failed to pay bills, or don’t have a strong enough credit score, then this show of faith may be enough to get your new energy supplier to accept your application.
If your application is still unsuccessful, you may be forced to accept a prepaid meter plan. The vast majority of prepaid plans are variable, and usually work out more expensive than fixed price plans, but they do have the advantage of ensuring you never spend more than you can afford as you pay for energy before using it, unlike monthly debit plans which charge you for the energy you’ve used in the preceding month.
When the time comes for you to find a new home energy supplier once you’ve improved your credit history, you’ll need to make sure you have paid off any outstanding debt before you switch, and don’t forget to request a refund of any unused credit once you have switched. If you’re moving once again, be sure to leave the top-up key or card for the new owners.
If your new home has a prepayment meter, but you’d prefer to be on a regular tariff paid by direct debit to enjoy a better range of deals, there are several ways you can go about making the switch. First, search and compare energy prices for the best quote, then contact the supplier or switching service for advice on moving from a prepaid to a regular (or smart) meter.
In some cases, the switch will require that a technician from your new energy supplier visits your home. Changing or moving electric meter boxes around your home or moving gas meter boxes from their external location might be required, so be prepared for some disruption and drilling!
Alternatively, your pre-existing meter might automatically switch to a standard meter once you change supplier. This saves you the bother of having to organise a new meter installation but means you won’t have a smart meter. If you’re keen to have one of these, you’ll need your supplier to install one, although this is also dependent on things like your home’s layout, thickness of the walls and suitable location for the new meter. If you are moving into an older home, be prepared for potential issues installing a smart meter.
You should find your gas and electricity supply has already been set up and ready to go. But don’t simply move in and wait for your first bill to arrive: you need to make sure you take a meter reading on the day you complete your purchase, so the supplier knows not to charge you for any energy that builders, estate agents and so on used prior to your move.
Although the developer has done the hard work of setting up gas and electricity in a new home for you, you’re not obliged to stick with the supplier they’ve chosen. That said, regardless of whether you plan to switch or not, it pays to know who your supplier is. If your developer has failed to provide you with this information, follow the steps above to confirm their identity.
Switching energy supplier in a new build is identical to that in an older home, but there are several additional considerations.
First, many new homes boast smart meters, which may require you to stick with the current supplier if the meter installed is an older generation (SMETS1) model and you’re unhappy with it temporarily reverting to a standard digital meter ahead of a planned future software upgrade.
Second, the fact the home is brand new means that any estimated costs are likely to be less accurate than if you were moving into an older property. As such, you should get into the habit of supplying regular monthly readings (if your home didn’t come with a smart meter to do the job for you) to ensure your bills are accurate based on your actual consumption.
As with regular energy switches, the process takes 21 days which means until then you’ll be forced to make do with the current supplier’s tariff. The fact the property is empty before your arrival may work to your advantage if you’re able to arrange the switch to complete before your moving-in date. This could be a risky move, however – as you will need to have already completed the purchase of your new property before the switch completes.
Here’s a checklist of must-dos as you prepare for moving day:
Check your current home’s energy contract to see if you’ll be liable for exit fees when you move property – you should be fine if you’re within 49 days of its end date. Contact your energy supplier for clarification if you’re not sure.
Tell your current supplier you are moving and need to cancel or move your contract.
Make sure you’ve passed on your new billing address to your supplier (even if you are changing supplier, you will still receive a final bill).
If moving your plan is an option, compare energy prices to see if this still works out as the best deal, bearing in mind that you may need to pay exit fees.
Contact the owners of your new home to confirm who the current supplier is.
If you have already completed your purchase and have the keys to the property, start your energy switch now.
Take a photo of your old home’s meters to confirm your final bill is accurate.
Take a photo of your new home’s meters to confirm your first bill at your new address is accurate. Don’t know where they are? Ask the previous owner, tenant or developer, or look under the stairs, in the kitchen or outside the property.
Top up your prepayment meter if the new address is on a pay-as-you-go tariff (but make sure any outstanding debt has been paid off by the previous owners first).
Locate the fuse box and trip switch, so you know how to restore power if it cuts out because of an electrical surge or faulty appliance. It’ll be within three metres of your electricity meter.
Find out who the current supplier is.
Make sure your new home’s energy supplier knows you are now in the property.
Find out your meter numbers – these are MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number) for electricity and MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number) for gas. The MPAN is 21 digits long and sometimes referred to as the ‘supply number’, the MPRN is between 6-10 digits long. Both can be found on your energy bill – which is why it’s important to get in touch with your new home’s energy supplier.
If you’ve not yet made an energy switch, you should do so as soon as possible to avoid paying more for your energy on a standard variable contract.
Last updated: 26 April 2021