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How to set up utility bills before moving to a new country

Moving to a new country can be quite a stressful process, but one area that doesn’t need to be complex is setting up your utility bills.

Our helpful guide outlines what you need to know about moving and setting up your utility bills.

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    Checklist for setting up utility bills before moving

    If you are moving home, finding a new place to live will likely be the biggest item on your moving checklist.

    However, it’s equally as important to find your utility providers and calculate your bills in advance of your move.

    Depending on where you live, utility bills can be expensive, and setting them up can be another complex step in the moving process.

    Fortunately, there are many ways to make the process easier, including utility switching companies.

    Below is a checklist of what you should consider when setting up utility bills before moving:

    1. Find out exactly what utilities you’re responsible for under the terms of your lease
    2. Identify the utilities your new home will need (e.g., gas, electric, water, rubbish, internet provider, television provider, security providers, phone providers, etc.)
    3. Shop around for the best price on each utility service OR
    4. Find a complete utility set-up service to arrange all the above services, and additional services including mobile phone service, insurance, cleaning providers, council tax, etc.)
    5. Cancel your existing services in your home country
    6. Set up a bank account in your new country to pay for your bills
    7. Arrange for your new contracts to start by the date you move to your new home
    8. When you move in, take a photo of your meters for your own records and email it to yourself
    9. Monitor your usage and spend to decide whether you need to adjust your plans

    As a highly regarded immigration law firm, IAS is committed to supporting all its clients. We specialise in UK immigration law and help our clients achieve their goals of coming to work in the UK or joining a loved one.

    From time to time, we partner with carefully chosen selected businesses offering the best value service to clients moving to the UK.

    How soon before moving should I set up utilities?

    The minimum amount of time you should have before setting up utilities in your new home is typically 48 hours contractually, but to ensure no break in supply, you should arrange to set them up approximately three weeks in advance.

    However, it is strongly advised to set them up as soon as you have signed the lease or mortgage for your new home.

    Once you have secured the lease, you can begin the process of arranging utility providers.

    Depending on where you are located, the utility providers you can choose may be influenced by these factors:

    • City, regional, or national laws
    • Apartment building rules
    • Property management regulations

    As a general guide, below is an approximate timeline of setting up utility providers:

    1. Three months before you move: Contact your bank to explain that you are moving abroad and they may be able to advise on opening a new account in the other country
    2. Four weeks before you move: Let your local council know that you are leaving and make sure you have paid all your expenses in full
    3. Four weeks before you move: Contact your existing utility suppliers to let them know the date on which you will be terminating your contracts. Provide them with a forwarding address for you
    4. Three weeks before you move: You should have all your utility contracts in your new home arrange by now
    5. Day of the move: You should take a photo or keep a record of the meters of your utilities (e.g., water, electricity, gas) if you are renting your new home

    How do you set up bills when you move?

    To set up your bills when you move, you should do the following:

    1. Speak to the landlord/ former owner to find out the existing utility supply companies
    2. Look up energy suppliers and utility companies offering the best deals
    3. Save money by using switch energy suppliers
    4. Contact the utility company online or via phone to set up a direct debit to pay your energy bills
    5. Provide them with the details on your meter (take a meter reading)
    6. Make sure you have a local bank account to manage your monthly bills
    7. Monitor your energy efficiency for the first few months to find out if you should change energy supplier to get a better energy deal

    Although it sounds complicated, it’s easier than you might think to set up your own utility bills. There are a couple of things to consider, including the following:

    • Are you renting or do you own your new home?
    • Do you have an official document stating that you will be resident in your new home (e.g., lease/ title)?
    • Do you have a UK bank account to pay for your utilities?
    • Do you have a UK contact address to set up your bills?
    • Do you have a phone number and email address for your provider to contact you?
    • Are you able to access the meter readings for your utilities in your new home?

    Once you are clear on the above points, you can then move on to setting up your bills.

    Alternatively, if you need support in setting up your bills, it makes sense to work with a trusted utility set-up company like Please Connect Me.

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      What utilities do I need to set up when I buy a house?

      The most common utilities you need to set up when buying a house include the following:

      • Water
      • Energy (heating and electricity)
      • Broadband
      • Council Tax

      However, there are also additional utilities/ services which will typically be paid by direct debit and/or will be charged monthly to your account. These include:

      • Insurance (home, contents, car, pet, life)
      • Television (online subscriptions, cable channels, licence)
      • Internet (WIFI, broadband)
      • Phone (landline)
      • Phone (mobile, contracts)
      • Bins
      • Cleaning services
      • Property maintenance fees
      • Security services (CCTV)
      • Electric car charging port service

      Buying a home can be one of the biggest purchases many of us ever make. However, it’s important to remember that you will also need to set up your utilities when you buy a new home.

      This shouldn’t be overlooked when making a decision about where to buy a home as utility prices can vary significantly depending on where you buy and the type of property.

      How to find gas and electric deals for a new home

      Because of the structure of the UK’s utilities market, it can be difficult to quickly set up your utility providers.

      Although the majority of homes in the UK will already be connected to an existing utility supplier, this does not mean that you will be getting a better energy deal.

      This is why many people choose to work with trusted utility set up provider to take care of all the complexities.

      Some of the best-known energy switching services include:

      However, these services will typically not be all inclusive of all your utility suppliers, and don’t specialise in customers who are moving to the UK for the first time.

      If you are searching for a utility concierge service to manage your bills when you move to a new country, Please Connect Me offer a wide range of (free) services to establish your energy, broadband, council tax, water, TV, mobile, insurance, and cleaning contracts.

      Here’s how the process works:

      1. Submit your application to Please Connect Me including when and where you’re moving
      2. They will check the available utility providers in your new property
      3. They provide you with a list of the best and most cost-effective plans for you to choose
      4. Your utilities will be connected by a friendly agent setting up all your contracts
      5. They will remain available to manage any issues that arise with your new suppliers

      Moving home is made easier when working with the five-star-rated Please Connect Me.

      Moving abroad checklist

      When moving to a new country, here is a checklist of the top eleven things you must arrange in advance of your move:

      1. Obtain permission to move to a new country: Speak to an immigration advisor about UK Visas available to you and your family members, or identify if you have a claim to British citizenship
      2. Gather the documents you need to move: Passport, visa or immigration documents, birth, marriage, divorce, adoption certificates (as relevant), driver’s licence, health records, education and training records, tax documents, etc.
      3. Make travel arrangements: You may need to hire a professional moving service to move your belongings to your new home
      4. Ensure you are medically fit to travel: Many countries require proof of vaccination for communicable diseases, including tuberculosis and COVID-19
      5. Arrange your tax affairs: You should inform your country’s revenue service that you will be moving abroad and ensure to pay any outstanding taxes
      6. Find a home to buy or rent: Consider factors such as location, schools, neighbourhoods, facilities, pet-friendliness, affordability, etc.
      7. Set up your utilities and essential services: It’s important to schedule the closure of your existing accounts in your current country of residence as well as setting up new ones
      8. Prepare your items for moving: If you have a moving service, ensure that your items are packed by that date. Keep your essential documents with you when travelling
      9. Consider using concierge services: If possible, you can use an excellent luxury concierge service to assist with your move (we recommend James Freeman Concierge Services)
      10. Make arrangements with your new council: You may be required to register at your new local council, pay taxes, or be enrolled on an electoral register
      11. Pack a moving-day bag with essentials: This bag should contain all essential documents and items you need when you move in on your first day

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                When renting a house in the UK, you should first choose the company with the best plan for your needs and budget. Next, you should contact the company to start your service.

                The company will outline everything you need to know and request specific information to get your service started.

                Typically, you will set up a monthly direct debit to pay your energy bill, although some companies offer prepayment option via a prepayment meter.

                There are many companies offering good deals available for people who move their utility suppliers.

                Search online for “best utility deals” and look for trusted price comparison websites. The best utility deals will be those that provide you with an energy supply that’s right for your needs.

                There are some points you should consider when moving house. First, be sure to get a final meter reading and give this to your current gas or electricity supply company.

                As well as this, it is recommended to give them a forwarding address for you so they can send you a final bill. This will ensure that you are not overcharged for your utilities.

                Second, it is advisable to keep copies of your energy bill for your own records.

                Third, if you plan on moving again, make sure that you don’t get a long contract with an electricity supplier if it means you can’t switch easily.

                Prepayment energy supply and/ or electricity supply is a common feature in houses in the UK. Some individuals prefer the freedom of paying on a pay-as-you-go system instead of a set monthly payment.

                To get started, follow these steps:

                1. Check that your new home is eligible for a prepayment system or has a standard credit meter
                2. Contact an electricity supplier and provide the date of your move and your new address
                3. Provide them with the serial number of your meter (where possible)
                4. Give the company a list of the people living at your address and any other information they have requested
                5. Provide your company with your final meter reading in your old home