Moving home – dealing with your energy supply
If you’re moving or have just moved to a new home, make sure you contact your energy supplier. There are some steps you should take to make sure you don’t end up paying too much for your gas and electricity, or paying for energy you didn’t use.
There are extra things to do if your new home has a prepayment meter. You have a prepayment meter if your meter needs to have money put on it before you have any gas or electricity.
Before you move
Before you move home you should:
- let your electricity and gas supplier know that you're moving - you should give at least 48 hours’ notice
- read your meters on the day you move out and give the readings to your supplier - keep a note of the readings and the dates you took them, in case you don't agree with your final bill
- give your supplier a forwarding address so they can send you the final bill - you’ll have 28 days to pay
If your final bill says you're actually owed money (known as 'being in credit'), you should claim the money back.
If you need to leave the contract
If you’re on a fixed-term tariff, you might be charged to break the contract early (this is known as an ‘exit fee’). You can find the exit fee on your energy bill. It may be cheaper to try to keep your existing supplier and move your tariff to the new property, but this isn’t always possible - check with your supplier.
If you have a smart meter
It’s worth checking your smart meter’s working in ‘smart mode’ before you move. Smart mode means your meter sends automatic readings to your supplier.
You can check if your meter’s working in smart mode using our tool.
If it’s not working in smart mode, you’ll need to take a final reading from your smart meter and give this to your supplier. Find out how to read your meter.
After you move
When you’ve moved into your new home, you should:
- contact the current supplier at your new property to tell them you've moved in - you can find out who to contact if you’re not sure who your supplier is or if your property doesn’t have a gas or electricity connection.
- read the meters on the day you move in and give the readings to the current supplier, to make sure you get an accurate first bill - you’re responsible for the bills on the day you take ownership or responsibility for the property, even if you don’t move in on that day
- pay your old supplier’s final bill when you get it
You’ll automatically be put onto a ‘deemed contract’ with the current supplier of the property. This will normally be one of the most expensive tariffs, so you should look for a better deal with the current supplier or a new one as soon as you move in.
You can only change suppliers from the day you become responsible for the property. Switching will normally take about 21 days, so you’ll have to pay at least one bill with the current supplier.
Once you know your new supplier, ask to be put on their priority services register if you're over state pension age or disabled, or have a long-term illness. This gets you extra support, such as free gas safety checks.
If your new property has a prepayment meter
Contact the current supplier straight away if your new home has a prepayment meter. Try not to use a key or card, or put any money on the meter, until you’ve done this. Otherwise you risk paying extra for debts owed by the people who lived there before you.
If you do need to put money on the meter before you contact the current supplier, tell them this when you get in touch. They will pay you back for any extra charges you’ve paid, as long as you can prove when you moved in.
Ask the supplier to:
take any debt off the meter so you don’t end up paying extra
give you a new prepayment key or card so you can put money on the meter
send you information about how the meter works and what to do if you have any problems
Once you start using your prepayment meter, tell your supplier about any difficulties it causes, for example if you can't easily top it up. They might be able to make it easier for you to use, or remove it entirely.
Think about replacing the prepayment meter
You’re likely to benefit from replacing the prepayment meter with a normal meter that lets you pay for energy after you use it rather than in advance. This is because:
you pay more - even the cheapest prepayment meter deal costs you more than the cheapest direct debit deal
you have the added effort of going to the shops to top up your meter
you risk running out of gas or electricity if you don’t top up regularly
Read about how to change to a normal meter. You won’t usually need to pay for this, and you don’t need your landlord’s permission. Your energy supplier can’t make you keep the prepayment meter if you don’t owe them money.
Find your nearest place to top up
You can top up at a post office, or any shop with a PayPoint or Payzone logo. Find your nearest online:
If your new property has a smart meter
If your new property has a smart meter, it’s worth checking that it’s working in ‘smart mode.’
Smart mode means your meter automatically sends readings to your supplier.
Check if your meter can work in smart mode after switching using our tool.
If it’s not working in smart mode, you’ll need to take regular meter readings yourself and send them to your supplier. Find out how to read your meter.
If you need more help, you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Advice Direct Scotland's energy advice service.
Advice Direct Scotland energy advice
Freephone: 0808 196 8660
You can also read our guidance on saving money on your energy bills.