Have you just moved to your new London flat? Do you need to pick a utility company and set up a contract? Or do you have the feeling you are spending too much money on your bill? Wondering if there may be more competitive contracts with other companies? Are you looking for the best deal? Or do you want to change your current supplier?
Here is everything you have to know about setting up utility contracts, changing gas and electricity suppliers and finding out if your current bundle is the best you can get.
1. Setting up Utilities for your new Place
If you are moving to a previously rented/owned flat, utilities are usually already established. All you need to do is set up a new account and notify the provider of your moving-in date. After you do this, they’ll be able to calculate the correct amount for your first bill.
How do you set up a new account?
If you are changing home address from somewhere else in the UK, you may already have an account. In this case, you’ll just have to change the address details. You can do this by contacting your provider by phone on their website.
If this is your first place in the UK you’ll have to set up a new account. With some companies, you can do this over the phone or online. With others, you’ll have to go to the office and fill in an application form. Just contact your supplier and they’ll be able to give you instructions.
In both cases, you should give your gas and electricity suppliers 48-hours’ notice before you move in. Once you have moved, contact them again to tell them you have.
At this point, you’ll probably have to provide them with the property’s meter reading.
Not sure which is your supplier? Don’t know your meter reading?
You can check them both with Ecoes by typing in your postcode and house number.
Worried about the payments?
You can pay your bills in many different ways: by direct debit, at the post office, cheque by mail and even at the bank.
2.Changing Utility Company
Living in London is expensive, so you’ll probably want to avoid spending money where it’s not necessary, especially in winter. An easy way to save some money is making sure you have the best offer on your gas and electricity bills.
Changing supplier may look like a complicated process. But in fact, it’s not difficult at all. The easiest way to check out the best deals is online. There is a wide range of websites where you can compare different rates and find out if you have the most economical.
However, there are a few things you need to pay attention to before thinking to change your supplier:
- First of all, check if your current company will charge you penalty fees for ending your contract before the agreed term. It’s quite common for utility companies to apply such clauses, especially with fixed-rate contracts.
In any case, all suppliers must allow you to change within the last 49 days of your fixed-term tariff.
- Another tip: as we saw, many websites are providing comparative services. Before you pick the one you want to use, make sure it’s Ofgem approved. The Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) is the UK regulatory authority for gas and electricity.
Once you've found a reliable website, all you need to do is choose the best option for you. To do this, you need to calculate your estimated consumption. If you have your current bills with you (i.e. from last months) you can use those as a basis. If you don’t have them, don’t worry. You can calculate your estimated consumption based on your habits.
At this point, most websites give you a list of different offers to choose from. Some others, though, are very straightforward and immediately tell you what the best option is. It may seem complicated, but the whole process takes as little as 10 minutes.
What happens next?
Once you choose your new company, you just need to give them your full address and bank details. They will take care of the rest. Your new supplier will contact your current one and they will settle for the switch.
This part of the process takes up to 17 days. The two companies will decide on a date when the change will become active. They will let you know when that date is, and there will be no interruption of your energy supply.
You will receive a letter with all the details and a welcome pack at home. You won’t be charged a double bill. Just remember to switch off the direct debit from your old company.
What if you change your mind?
In case you change your mind, there is a cooling-off period of 14 days, starting from the moment you confirm the change. Just contact the new supplier and let them know you have changed your mind. They should be able to stop the process.
How often can you change utility company?
You should be able to change your company every 28 days. Once again, just make sure you won’t incur penalty fees.
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