Shutting down and re-activating your utilities when you leave seems like it shouldn’t be that complicated, but it can leave even the most organized people vexed. To ensure you don’t accidentally go without power the day before you leave or get billed for utilities you didn’t use, follow these steps for switching over utilities when you move.
Choose your activation and shut-off dates and coordinate them well in advance
Get in touch with your new utility providers well ahead of time to schedule your account activation in your new home, and be sure that you will be home when they arrive to turn everything on. If you are having internet activated there may be a lag time before service is fully up and running, so be sure to have a backup plan if you rely on internet service in your home. Try to consider all of the little details you’ll want to have in place when setting up your new home: will you need heat right away? What about garbage removal services?
Similarly, schedule your shut-off appointments with your current utility company to be done just before you leave, particularly if they need you to be at home to make the switch. The last thing you want to do is delay your departure because the utility company has yet to arrive and shut off the gas! For more specific guidance, check our blog post on how to move your utilities.
Have all of your account numbers easily accessible
It’s all too easy to pack away your paperwork and leave yourself stuck when the electrical company asks for your account number. Best case scenario? You have all of that information organized already. But if you don’t, take a little bit of time to collect all of the important account numbers, billing information, and records that you’ll need to get your utilities set up. For your new home, you will be required to provide a copy of your lease or title papers as proof of residency — so have a few copies on hand!
Pay off any overdue balances or fees
Did you pay a little late that one-time last year? Make sure you are fully paid in all late fees, bills, or other little charges so you don’t hear from your utility company months down the line. When you are in the process of making arrangements to have your accounts shut off, inquire to be sure that your account is in good standing and there won’t be any surprise fees coming later.
Provide an up-to-date forwarding address
If you know your intended permanent address, provide it to your current utility companies so they can easily forward your deposit, or your final bill, or any refunds that are due. If you don’t yet have a mailing address, provide the address of someone you can trust to receive important documents, or set up a temporary PO Box in your new hometown. Either way, don’t leave this kind of mail up to the fates of the mail system!
Be sure to do a final meter reading before you leave
We all know that electrical companies are busy, which means they may not get to your meter right at the time of switch-over unless you specifically request a reading. To ensure that your final bill doesn’t include two weeks of the new tenants’ electrical or gas use, arrange one final reading just before your departure for your new home.
Do a thorough check once your utilities have been activated
Even though you’ll be fully engrossed in unpacking, take a break to do a full walk-through and check that all of your utilities are functioning properly. If you are relocating during the summer, open all the windows and turn on the heat to be sure it works. Test out your internet and phone lines, if you have a landline. If your new home uses natural gas, walk around the entire home and smell for leaks. Now is the time to get all of your fixtures, like faucets, gas stoves, and heaters, tuned up and functioning well — before you get a water bill that reflects a leak!
Lastly: do yourself a favor and contract best moving companies to take care of the heavy lifting while you take care of the small details. They’ll ensure that your couch makes it up the stairs, while you make sure the heat works. Everyone will be happier in the end!