What You Need to Start, Stop, and Transfer Utilities
If you’re anywhere close to moving, you’ll want to know how to transfer your utilities before you get to your new home. With everything else on your new home checklist, staying organized is key. We put together this handy guide to help you successfully transfer your utilities and arrive at your new home with little to no stress.
Start Early When Transferring Your Utilities
You’ve heard that the early bird gets the worm? Well, the early planner gets their utilities on time. Be sure to start the transfer process two to four weeks before your move so that you’ll have plenty of time for any in-person appointments you might need to transfer your utilities. This is even more important if you’re moving over the summer. With 62% of Americans moving home between May and September, utility companies stay busy during the summer months.
List Your Current Utilities
Before you start calling, make a list of all the utility companies you currently have accounts with. Jot down their phone numbers and your account numbers with each to make life easier when you call to transfer your utilities. They can be hard to keep track of, so here is a list of the most common services you will have to transfer:
Contact Your Property Management Company or Agent
Part of knowing how to transfer your utilities is knowing which companies will be available in your new area. Many providers only service certain towns or counties, so be sure to do some research or check with your property manager or real estate agent to find eligible providers.
If you are staying within the same zip code, you might be able to transfer your utilities with your existing providers and just change your address. If this is the case, you can usually update your address online or with a call to the utility company.
Change Your Address
Have Your Documents Ready to Transfer Your Utilities
Water and waste removal are usually provided through the city or county. If you are renting, you won’t need to worry about registering these services yourself – they will be covered by your property management company. If you own your new home, however, you will most likely have to take a trip to the town hall to set up these services. There are a few documents that you should prepare to have on hand when you go to the town hall and throughout your move:
Proof of identity - Valid driver’s license, passport, alien registration card, state-issued photo ID
Completed Service Application for your new county
Use this list as a general guideline, and be sure to check with your city/county for their specific requirements.
Call Utility Companies
This is probably the most stressful part of transferring utilities, but now that you have your list and account numbers ready to go you can tackle this step without a problem. Check each company’s website to see how to transfer your utilities online. If they don’t offer online transfers, give them a call to set up your shut-off and set-up appointments.
Be sure to leave at least two weeks (three weeks over the summer months) to schedule your appointments. Most companies require someone over the age of 18 to be home for these appointments, so make sure you plan ahead. Have your account number, your shut-off and activation dates, and your new address handy when you call. Consider disconnecting your services a day or two after you move to ensure your utilities will be fully functioning as you move out.
Take note of who you spoke to and the date you called them just in case anything goes wrong. If they cannot find a record of your call, for example, you’ll have some facts to help clear up any discrepancies.
Pay Balances and Return Equipment
Packing your electronics but unsure what to do with your router? It’s best to check with your wifi provider because many of them will want their hardware back. They usually accept this equipment through UPS or in-store drop-offs. Now is also the best time to pay off any remaining balances you have with your utility companies. Moving out without paying up could hurt your credit down the line, so make sure you've taken care of these bills first.
Schedule Final Meter Reading Before Transferring Utilities
You don’t want to get stuck paying for services that you didn’t use, so be sure to have your water and electricity meters read right before they’re shut off. This way, if there are any discrepancies over your last bill, you will have documentation confirming your shut-off date.
Confirm the Transfer of Utilities
Showing up on moving day to a dark home with no power is not fun. Call each provider a few days before your move to confirm that they have you all set up and ready to go. Be sure to have your list of names and account numbers nearby for reference, just in case.
If your move's around the corner, this guide will make switching your accounts a breeze. Now that you know how to transfer your utilities, check out our life hacks to help you save money on those energy bills.
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