Moving home – dealing with your energy supply

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

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’re on a fixed tariff

You might be charged to break your contract early. This is known as an ‘exit fee’. Check your contract or contact your supplier to find out how much the exit fee will be. If you break your contract, you’ll automatically go onto a standard variable tariff in your new home.

If you want to stay on your current tariff when you move home, contact your supplier. They might let you keep the same contract and tariff at your new home without charging you a fee.

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 smart meter should work 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

You should contact the current supplier at your new home to tell them you’ve moved in. You’ll automatically be put onto a ‘deemed contract’ with your supplier - this will be for their ‘default’ or ‘standard variable’ tariff. Check who your supplier is if you’re not sure.

Read your meters on the day you move in and give the readings to the current supplier. This will help them give you an accurate first bill. Check how to read your meters if you’re not sure.

You’ll need to pay your final bill to your old supplier. They’ll send it to you within 6 weeks. If they don’t send your final bill in time, they might owe you compensation.

If you have money left on your account with your old supplier, they’ll refund you. They must refund you within 10 working days of sending you the final bill. If they don’t refund you in time, they might owe you compensation.

Check if your old supplier owes you money.

If your new home doesn’t have a gas or electricity supply, you can find out how to get your home connected to a gas or electricity supply.

Switching to a new supplier

There aren't many tariff deals at the moment because of problems with the cost of energy. You probably won’t be able to save money by switching.

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills you might be able to get help. Check if you can get benefits or grants to help pay your energy bills.

If you want to switch supplier or tariff, you’ll need to wait until the day you become responsible for the property. Switching won’t happen straight away so you’ll have to pay at least one bill with the current supplier. 

Your new supplier should switch you within 5 working days.

You can find out more about:

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 might benefit from replacing the prepayment meter with a smart meter in credit mode. This will let you pay for your energy after you use it and you won't have to top up when you run out of credit.

You’ll probably need to pass a credit check before you can switch to paying by credit. If you don’t pass, you can ask to pay a security deposit instead, but your supplier doesn’t have to agree.

If you’ve already got a smart meter, your supplier can change it to run in credit mode remotely. This means they don’t need to come to your home. 

When you switch to credit mode, you can choose to pay by standard credit or Direct Debit. Standard credit means you pay for your energy after you use it. Your bill can go up and down depending on how much energy you use. This means it’s often more expensive in winter. Direct Debit means you’ll pay your bill automatically and the bill is usually the same amount every month.

If you rent your home and want to switch to paying by credit, you don’t need your landlord’s permission. However you might need to get your meter or smart meter mode changed back at the end of your tenancy.

Check if you can switch from prepayment to paying by credit.

Find your nearest place to top up

You can top up at a Post Office or Payzone, or any shop with a PayPoint logo.

Find a Post Office or Payzone near you on the Payzone website.

Find a PayPoint near you on the PayPoint website.

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.

You can check if your meter can work in smart mode after switching.

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.

Further help

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone, online chat or by email.

You can also read our guidance on saving money on your energy bills.

If you’re struggling with living costs

If you’re struggling with money, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Check what to do if you need help with living costs.

If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, you can get help. Find out more about getting help with your bills.

You can also get help with debts.

If you're struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank.

Help us improve our website

Take 3 minutes to tell us if you found what you needed on our website. Your feedback will help us give millions of people the information they need.