There’s nothing like moving to a new home. Fresh surroundings, new décor, new neighbours, removalist trucks, endless cleaning, boxes upon boxes … come to think of it, moving can be kind of stressful.
And by kind of stressful, I mean really stressful. And by really stressful I mean wide awake making to-do lists at 3am but then snapping at the local lollypop lady come 8am kind-of-stressful. Ok, maybe you’ll handle it better than I did, but we can all agree that when it comes to moving there is too much to do and not much time to do it. And unfortunately that means that some things will invariably be forgotten – like sorting out energy for your new home.
Energy isn’t naturally the first thing you think about when moving home and understandably it usually isn’t given much attention, if any. But there are few things worse when moving than realising you forgot to get energy connected and that you will be stuck for a few days without lighting, hot water or heating.
Getting your energy sorted before you move could save unnecessary stress and potentially thousands of dollars in the long-term.
When moving home, just follow this step-by-step checklist to get your energy sorted:
Step 1: Tie up loose ends
Make sure you cancel your existing energy contracts before you move out. You don’t want to get charged for energy you aren’t using. It seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many people forget.
Most providers will require about three to four business days’ notice to close an account. But remember to keep gas and electricity connected until you have finished all the cleaning. Trust me, you don’t want to get stuck trying to clean your old home without hot water or electricity.
Step 2: Connect the new home
Before the big move, take the time to shop around for the best energy deal for your new home. It might sound boring, but no one said you can’t eat ice cream while you’re doing it!
Energy charges can vary from suburb to suburb and state to state and just because you had the cheapest deal in your old home, it doesn’t mean that the same provider will be the best value option for your new one.
Instead of wasting what seems like an eternity speaking to each provider and obtaining individual quotes, speak to an energy comparison expert and find the best plan. One call is always better than ten calls… unless of course you have a love for elevator hold music.
Many people don’t realise that that energy comparison services do more than just compare. Services like iSelect can sign you up to a new energy plan or provider and even arrange connection for you. If you’d prefer to manage the switch yourself, you’ll need to contact your new provider to arrange connection. They’ll normally need three to four days’ notice although many providers offer same day connection if you have left it to the last minute!
Make sure there are no access issues – such as locked gates – blocking access to your meter as this can delay the connection process. Arranging a new connection will also be much easier if you have the meter numbers for the new property handy – your real estate agent should be able to provide these to you in advance.
Step 3: The days before the move
Turn off your fridge and freezer the day before you move to allow it to defrost and wait 24 hours before you turn them back on after the move so the gas settles. And that means you have no choice but to order take-away, guilt-free!
On the day of the big move, turn off the electricity off at the main switch but don’t touch the gas. You’ll also need to turn off the hot water system. It’s also worth taking readings of your gas and electricity meters by taking a quick photo on your phone. This could come in handy if there are any disagreements over billing after you’ve moved out and also, taking photo evidence makes you feel like you’re on the set of CSI Miami.
Step 4: You’ve arrived
When you arrive at your new home, it’s a good idea to take meter readings and photos at the new property. That way you’ll be covered if the previous owners failed to close their account.
It’s also worth considering lowering the thermostat on your on your new water heater to 60-to-65 degrees rather than wasting energy heating it any higher.
If you’re moving in winter, set the heater’s thermostat to 20 degrees or less. Every extra degree increases costs by 10 per cent. In the summer, set the air-conditioning to 24 degrees or warmer for a similar result.
Once you’ve done all this; take a breath, get into your PJs, open another tub of ice cream and start making some memories in your new home.
–Laura Crowden works for leading online comparison site iSelect. When she isn’t providing advice on how to find the right energy plan or health insurance policy, Laura can be found tackling home renovations (to varying degrees of success) or eating ice cream. She loves getting a good deal, sparkly things, her cat and G&Ts.