Moving into a new house can be a coordination nightmare with all the different things you need to take care of simultaneously. From finding the perfect house in the perfect location, booking a removal company, packing up your things, cancelling services at your old address, setting up connections at the new address.
The last thing you want is any confusion with your energy provider but what you need to keep in mind is that moving house is a good opportunity to review your electricity and gas accounts and see if you could be getting a better deal.
And the good new is that it doesn't have to take you hours. We know that there are boxes to pack but the money you save by switching could pay for your moving company so it's worth taking 15 minutes to compare the best deals in your new suburb.
Let's start with this list of quick questions that you need to ask yourself before you move your energy account to a new address.
- Are you on an open or fixed contract?
- Are you unhappy with your energy bills?
- Do you make use of any conditional offers, for instance, pay on time discount?
- Are you eligible for a rebate scheme with your current provider?
- Do you want to change your billing cycle?
- Would you like a renewable energy plan?
- Does your current provider supply energy at your new property?
Now that you've got a basic idea of the things you need to look out for, here's a week-by-week guide on how to plan for a smooth energy transfer.
3 weeks before you move: review your current energy contract
Before you start packing away the contents of your home office, pull out a copy of your most recent energy bill or better yet, find the original energy contract.
Two things you should check are:
Open or fixed contract: First of all, check if you are on an open or fixed contract. If you are on an open contract, you should have the flexibility to make any changes to your plan or switch providers without penalty. However, if you signed up for a long term plan if you decide to switch providers you may need to pay an exit fee. If you choose to just move to a new address you won't pay the exit fee but you might have to pay for a new connection fee.
Deals and discounts: Are there any discounts attached to your current energy contract such as discounts for paying on time or via direct debit? Take stock of your billing history and see if you really made use of these 'special' offers. If not, then don't bother renewing these deals and instead look for other options that might work better for your lifestyle and energy usage patterns.
2 weeks before you move: compare the energy providers and plans in your new area
While moving an energy account is quite a simple and straightforward process, not every energy provider will offer plans in all areas.
Even if you are happy with your current energy provider, it is worthwhile comparing their service against others in your new suburb. To kick off your search, try Mozo's free energy comparison tool - just type in your new postcode and we'll show you the providers and plans available in your new area.
We will be able to give you a cost estimate for your gas and electricity based on some of your preferences and the household size.
Some of the features you can watch out for while comparing gas and electricity providers are:
Conditional discounts: Many energy providers have plans that will offer discounts if you meet certain conditions, for instance, if you pay your bill on time. It is very important when choosing a new plan that you take this into consideration because the tariff on a discounted plan may be higher than on a standard plan. So if you only pay your bill on time some of the time you might end up paying more on a discounted plan than if you had chosen the standard plan.
Renewable energy: If you're looking for a way to do your bit for the environment and support the renewable energy industry in Australia, there are a number of green energy plans that you can pick from. Most energy providers these days offer plans that let you buy some or all of your energy needs from renewable sources. You can read more about this in our renewable energy guide. Mozo's tool will enable you to compare costs for these plans and compare them to plans without renewable options.
Payment options: Whether you want to make your payments online, through direct debit, phone banking or in person, check if your provider gives you the flexibility to choose how to pay your bills.
Billing cycles: Most energy providers bill in quarterly cycles which for some people makes household budgeting hard. There is an option to split the cost so that you get monthly or fortnightly bills. This is called bill smoothing.
Contract length: If you are a renter or a deal hound it makes sense for you to be on a plan that gives you the flexibility to make changes without incurring an extra fee. Even though some long term plans may offer an attractive discount, make sure you check the cost of any exit fees if you want to switch.
Rebates: If you have registered for a concession scheme with your current energy provider, you would need to arrange for it to be transferred to your new plan.
1 week before you move: set up your new energy account
Once you've compared the latest energy deals on Mozo, you'll be ready to set up your new energy service. Keep in mind that most energy companies need 3-5 business days notice and easy access to your new energy meter in order to set up your new service on time.
When you are moving home, most energy providers usually charge connection fees for setting up the account and service to your home. The cost for this is usually added to your first bill.
Staying with same energy provider: If you've decided to stick with your existing energy provider you will be able to arrange the disconnection and reconnection over the phone. You'll need to supply them with:
- your account number
- current address
- new address
- date you want the electricity and/or gas services to start and stop
Switching to a new energy provider: If you're moving to a new energy provider you'll need to set up an account and also arrange disconnection for your old account. You'll need to provide:
Set up new energy account:
- personal details and ID such as driver's license, passport number
- connection address, sometimes you might need to provide the NMI (National Meter Identifier) which will be on the electricity meter or gas meter. Usually required if there is more than one property at the address.
- bank details, if you are going to set up direct debit
- date you want the electricity and/or gas services to start
Close your old energy account
- your account number
- date of your final meter reading
- address to send your final bill to
The week after you move: ways to save on your energy bill
Once you've moved into your new home there are a number of things you can do (in addition to switching to a more cost effective plan) that can help you to reduce the cost of your energy bill. Some of the simple ideas include:
- change light globes: your new home may be using old globes that aren't energy efficient so swap them for ones that are.
- turn appliances off: having the TV on standby might be an energy efficient option for you but it's not for your power bill. Switching appliances off will save you money or opt for a master and slave powerboard that reduces energy by switching off all connected appliances as once.
- de-lint the dryer: by cleaning out your lint collector every month you will help the air circulate through your clothes better, meaning that your dryer can get through a load using less energy.
- buy rugs: to add an extra layer of insulation in the winter months, decorate your home flooring with some beautiful rugs.
For more money-savings ideas, head to the Mozo Energy Savings Tips hub.