As a first-time buyer, you’ll have plenty on your plate as you move into your new property. One thing you may not prioritize is your home’s utilities. It can seem trivial in comparison to the million other things you have to do to finalize the sale and then lug all your belongings down to your new abode.
However, a little bit of time invested can go a long way to save you the headache of rushing to sort out your utilities, especially to prevent yourself from getting a nasty shock when your first bill hits your mat and it’s way more than it should be. As always, you should compare gas and electricity prices online to be sure you’re getting the best deal, but what else will you need to consider?
What are utilities?
Utility bills cover the cost of running your house and can include:
- TV Licence
- Digital TV
- Council Tax
This list is not exhaustive though, you may have other running costs for your home depending on your situation and needs.
Electricity and Gas
There are many gas and electricity suppliers you’ll have to compare in order to find the best energy deals.
If your house has a separate gas connection, you’ll be able to save a fair amount of money by combining all your energy bills under one dual tariff bill with a single supplier – so be sure to check.
What to check when you first move in
- Find your gas and electricity meters. These are usually a box hidden away somewhere. Make sure to check all cupboards if you cannot find them. You can ask the previous owner or estate agent if you can’t find them, or the developers of the property if your home is a new build.
- Find the trip switch. If the electricity cuts out due to a faulty appliance or overuse of electricity then you’ll need this switch to get everything back up and running again. It should be in a fuse box near to the electricity meter
- Find your meter numbers. You’ll need two numbers MPAN (for electricity) and MPRN (for gas). The MPAN is also known as the ‘supply number’ and is 21 digits long. It can be found on your energy bill. Your MPRN is 6-10 digits long and can be found on your gas bill. Neither number can be found on your meter so don’t bother looking there
Water bills are quick and easy to sort out because there’s only one supplier in each area. You’ll usually be required to pay monthly, every 6 months, or annually.
If you watch live TV on any device or if you watch TV online (e.g. iPlayer), then you’ll need a TV license. Everything can be sorted out quickly online and non-paper licenses are now being issued to the one you pay, there’s nothing else to worry about.
If you’re an internet or your job depends on an internet connection, then you’ll want to handle this as soon as you move into your new house as it can take a few days or weeks to get installed and set-up, and in that time you’ll be without an internet connection at all.
If you can’t make do with the standard TV channels and need more options to keep you entertained on your evenings in, then you’ll need to get a digital TV package sorted. There are only a handful of suppliers in the sector, so take a moment to compare all their packages and see what suits you best.
It’s also worth noting that some suppliers will do better deals if you lump in your broadband and even mobile phone bill with your TV package, so work out if that would work better for you. But beware of promotional pricing that only lasts a few months, and be sure to check the early-exit fees in case you want to change providers.
Council tax covers the cost of collecting your bins and maintaining other various aspects of the area around your home, like sewerage etc. You can pay these bills easily online or over the phone, so just like with the TV licence, get it done quickly so you don’t have to think about it.