Summer is generally the most popular time to move house. It’s a pricey process, with fees for estate agents, conveyancing and removals adding up to thousands of pounds. But you can keep your energy costs down.
The latest Which? research reveals that the priciest standard gas and electricity tariff from a Big Six supplier (Npower) could cost you £313 per year on average more than the cheapest deal on the market.
If you take no action when you move into your new home, chances are you’ll automatically be put onto a standard tariff, such as Npower’s. Five of the Big Six energy firms (excluding British Gas) raised the prices of their standard tariffs this spring, so being on one of them is bad news for your budget.
Plus, you could be missing out on savings if your new home could be more energy efficient. We’ve worked out that you can save up to £545 a year by installing energy-saving measures, such as insulation.
Keep reading to find out how you can cut your energy costs when you move home.
Use our independent switching site, Which? Switch, to find the cheapest gas and electricity deal for your new home. You can also switch over the phone by calling us on 0800 410 1149 or 01259 220235.
Save money on energy in your new home
Most energy firms will automatically put you on their standard tariff when you first move in. Standard tariffs are generally companies’ priciest deals.
Asking your supplier to put you on its cheapest deal can save you almost £250 per year (if you’re with Npower). But you’ll save more by switching to a firm offering one of the cheapest deals on the market.
The graph below shows how much more you’ll pay if you’re on one of the Big Six energy firms’ standard tariffs, compared with their cheapest deals. Only British Gas has a standard tariff that costs the same as its cheapest deal. But this doesn’t mean British Gas is cheap – the second tab shows how much more you’ll pay on a Big Six standard tariff compared with the cheapest deal on the market.
Use Which? Switch to compare gas and electricity deals for your new home. You won’t know how much gas and electricity you will use (annual consumption figures, in kWh), so put in as many details as you can about your property to get your quote as accurate as possible.
Look for tariffs with no exit fee if you want the flexibility to switch supplier or tariff again in a few months’ time when you will know how much energy you’re using. You don’t have to tell your home’s current energy supplier that you’re switching; your new supplier will do this.
Use your EPC to cut energy costs
Check the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your new home; this will recommend ways to make it more energy efficient. The more energy efficient your home is, the lower your bills should be. Common recommendations include:
- Replacing light bulbs with cost-effective LEDs – save up to £180 a year
- Installing, or topping-up, existing insulation – save up to £315
- Draught-proofing – save up to £50
An EPC gives the indicative costs of making these changes in your home, and estimates how much you should save as a result over three years.
Before you move home: tell your gas and electricity supplier
At least 48 hours before you move – and ideally longer – tell your energy firm (or firms, if you have separate suppliers for gas and electricity) the date of your move. Give it your new address to send you a final bill. Your energy company should send you a final statement to settle your account once you have moved.
Take a meter reading on your last day in the property to make sure you’re only charged for the energy you’ve used. Send it to your supplier and keep a record for yourself. A photograph with a time-stamp is the best proof.
If you were renting your home, confirm your meter readings with your landlord, too.
Most energy companies will let you notify them online that you’re moving and some offer dedicated support, which is particularly useful if you want to stay with the same supplier.
Eon recently launched virtual adviser ‘Sam’, a chatbot which it says makes it ‘simple and convenient’ to share key information about your move.
To help the new occupants, let them know which energy supplier you have been using. Also tell your landlord or estate agent.
When you move-in: energy checklist
Take gas and electricity meter readings as soon as you get access to your new home. This ensures you only pay for the energy you use, and not the previous occupant’s usage. Send these to the energy company supplying the property as soon as possible.
If you don’t know the energy supplier for your new home:
- Gas: phone the meter number helpline on 0870 608 1524
- Electricity: contact the local electricity network operator, and ask for the meter point administration service (MPAS). Find your operator on the Energy Networks Association website.
Contact the existing energy supplier for the property and give your details, date you moved in and meter readings. They will set up an account for you.
(Pricing data supplied by Energylinx. It’s based on a dual-fuel medium user [3,100kWh electricity and 12,500kWh gas per year], paying by monthly direct debit and choosing paperless billing. Only GB-wide deals are included. Prices are averaged across UK regions and correct on 30 May 2017.)