Moving to a new place can be exciting: a new home to love, new shopping opportunities to furnish the house, a new neighborhood to discover. Despite all the frustration and the endless packing and unpacking, moving is a new beginning.
Before you can enjoy all that, though, you need to deal with one small issue first: how to set up the utilities in your new place. Here is a guide on how to make this as easy and straightforward as it can be.
When should I connect my utilities?
Once you have rented or bought your new place, you should start thinking about connecting the utilities you need. Moving into a house without water, electricity, or even Wi-Fi can be frustrating.
A house without water means you can’t wash your hands, clean the floors, or flush the toilet.
You will need electricity to turn on the lights, appliances, the air conditioning, etc. As for Wi-Fi, let’s be honest. For most people, no house is livable without an Internet connection.
So, you look around your new home and start making phone calls to set up all the utilities.
It’s best if you tackle the connection to utilities early on.
Utility companies often require a few days before they connect your home. Sometimes, they may need a visit to your new home to check on details or make a quick inspection. In any case, do not leave it until the day you are moving in, or you might have to spend a few days in a dark, cold, and unconnected apartment.
How long will it take to connect my utilities?
Electricity providers will usually connect your home within a couple of days.
Gas companies might need up to a week.
Internet and cable companies could need more than a week to set up your connection because they will need to send you the equipment first (router and cable box). Remember that Internet and cable companies will probably need you to be at home so that a technician can come and install your router or cable box.
As for water, you will only need a day or two before the utility is turned to your name.
Don’t forget to disconnect your utilities at your previous place
Always remember to disconnect the utilities at your previous place or you risk paying for the new tenant’s or owner’s utilities!
Ideally, you will have all utilities disconnected on the day you are moving so you do not need to spend your last night in your old place without running water—or Wi-Fi.
Which utilities do I need?
The utilities you’ll need depend on the area where you are moving.
In general, the necessary utilities to a house are water, electricity, trash collection, gas (for heating and cooking), Internet, phone and cable.
Depending on the location of your new place, you may also need a security system with an alarm. Some areas may not have all utilities. For example, some rural areas do not have cable and have to rely on satellite TV.
If you are renting, it’s good to ask your landlord about which utilities might be covered by them.
Make sure your responsibilities are clear to both of you and are stated in the lease, so there are no future misunderstandings. Before connecting, ask your landlord if they have a preferred provider for some utilities. They may give you some welcome tips and suggestions regarding providers in their area.
How do I decide on utility providers?
If you are staying in the same area as your previous place, you can keep your previous providers if you’re satisfied with their services and prices.
If you plan on changing providers, you can ask your landlord about their thoughts. You can also look online for reviews and people’s comments on utility providers and their services.
Don’t forget to compare prices to see which service suits your needs best. Sometimes, an enticing pricing package might not cover your needs, and you may end up paying more than expected.
You may also take a walk around the neighborhood and ask neighbors about their experience and their preferences. This can be a good opportunity to get to meet your neighbors.
If you want to help the environment, you may wish to get your utilities from a green energy provider [link to Switch to green energy article].
How many utilities providers are there?
In the case of gas, electricity, trash collection, and water, you may not have much choice since these are often public utilities. Areas are usually serviced by one provider for each of these utilities.
However, things are changing, and in the case of electricity and gas, more and more areas have different providers because they have deregulated electricity markets. If this is the case, you can do some research to see which plan and which provider suits you best.
If you switch to a green energy provider, the energy you consume will be filled back into the grid with clean, green energy.
In the case of cable, Internet, and phone, you will probably have many options. You just need to decide which one you need. Your Internet cost will depend on the speed you require. Your cable package will determine the price you pay to the cable company.
How do I connect utilities?
Connecting to utilities is relatively easy and straightforward. If you are keeping the same provider from your previous home, the switch will be easy as your account will be kept open. Your provider will turn off the utility from your last place and turn it on in your new one, always in your name.
If you are connecting to a new provider, you can often sign up online through the company website or by making a phone call to the provider’s office. You may be asked for details such as your name, phone number, credit card details, social security number, and other information. Once your application has been processed, the provider will send you details about your connection.
You can also drop by your provider’s offices to gather more information. This can be particularly helpful if you have questions that the company website has left unanswered. While there, you can file your application.
How much does it cost to connect a utility?
Before deciding on which provider to choose, always ask about set-up fees, transfer fees, or any other cost you will be asked to pay to either transfer utilities or connect new ones.
Some utility companies ask for a set-up fee that can be either paid upfront, before the service is connected, or in your first utility bill. You may also be asked to pay a deposit. Its amount depends on the utility service, company policy, and your creditworthiness. Sometimes, electricity deposits depend on your expected monthly bill. Electricity companies estimate your future bills based on your previous ones.
In the case of cable, you may be charged an activation fee or a cancellation fee if you are canceling your service from your previous home. Cable and Internet providers can also charge installation fees for installing a router or a cable box in your new home.
Finally, some utilities can charge you a transfer fee for transferring your utility from your old place to your new one. This can be the case with water utilities.
How will I be billed?
Utility bills come on a monthly basis or every other month. Most utility bills can be paid online. Your first utility bill will include all the relevant details.
You should also be able to pay your utility bills with automatic payments that you set up from your bank account. That way, you will not have to worry about a missed payment, and your credit score will be outstanding.