Buying a new home is an exciting time in your life, and an important part of homeownership is setting up utilities. It’s inconvenient to start moving in without working lights or outlets; so setting up electricity is usually a priority.
If you’re unfamiliar with the electric utility setup process, this guide will help you check off all the right steps. By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll have an energy plan picked out and will soon have electricity flowing to your new home.
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1. Check if you’re in a regulated or deregulated energy market
A regulated versus deregulated energy market will have a big impact on your energy options. If you live in a regulated market, then there is likely one energy company with a monopoly on the energy grid. Your choice of energy company will be drastically limited, or you may only have one provider that will supply energy.
A deregulated market, on the other hand, has a lot more variety when it comes to energy providers and plans. In a deregulated market, electricity generators sell electricity to retail providers who then sell the energy to consumers. If you live in a deregulated market, then the next step is really important for you.
2. Compare energy rates & plans
Reach out to the various electricity providers in your area for price quotes and energy plan options. This is also a good time to do a little research on the different types of energy plans. As you do, you’ll be able to to pick the best option for you if you have a clear understanding of:
- The difference between a variable vs fixed-rate energy plan
- The pros and cons of long-term versus short-term electricity contracts
- What prepaid electricity is and how it can save you up to 20% off your bill
Compare energy rates, as well as the term (length) of different energy plans to determine which option seems like the best fit. As you’re reviewing energy plans, make sure you also look for any hidden fees or other associated costs for the plan. Hidden fees can result in higher rates than you anticipated; so, make sure you fully understand the energy plan before making a decision.
3. Set up electricity with your chosen provider
After you’ve finished comparing rates and energy plans, set up your account with the new provider. You’ll want to get this done about two weeks before your move-in date. The two weeks will ensure your energy provider has enough time to process your information and get your utility set up by your move-in date.
4. Set the service start date
When you’re done creating your energy account, make sure you specify your electricity start date. It’s suggested you start your electricity service the day before you officially move into your new place. This way you can make sure it’ll be on the day you start unpacking.
5. Confirm the energy is working
When you get to your new place the first thing you should do is check to make sure the power is on. If it’s not on as scheduled, then give your energy provider a call to check when it will be coming on. It may just be a couple more hours before it’s working or there may have been an oversight in the schedule. Either way, the earlier you call to check in, the better.
How to Set Up Electricity: More Tips
While you’re in the process of setting up electricity at your new home, here are some more helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Do a little research before you sign up for any new energy plan: A little research and attention to detail go a long way when setting up your energy service. By carefully reviewing provider and plan options, you can select the best electricity plan for your family. You may even be able to save money on energy bills in the process.
- Cancel electricity service at your previous residence: You don’t want to pay two energy bills at the same time, so don’t forget to set a shut-off date for your other energy provider.
- Be prepared for a few extra energy costs the first month of switching service: Speaking of energy bills, your first month in your new place will likely have a few associated energy fees. For example, you should expect a final bill from your previous energy company. The bill should be prorated based on your shut-off date, so double-check the final bill to make sure everything is accurate.
- Keep an eye out for set-up fees and/or transfer fees: Some energy companies also charge a transfer or setup fee for your new service. The fee will make your overall energy bill a bit higher than expected for the first month, so be aware of this extra payment.
- Always be checking your bills for accuracy: This is especially important during your first few months of service to ensure the rates, energy plan, and other details of your account are correct. It’s much easier to get these issues corrected during the initial months of services, as opposed to waiting six or months down the line.
Overall, as long as you follow the five steps above, your new home should have electricity as soon as you move in.