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A guide to connecting utilities when moving house

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Working with electricity and gas providers for a smooth transition

When you purchase property, you need to arrange for the connection of all utility services such as electricity, gas, telephone, and internet. Working with an energy provider and other essential utilities providers in the early stages of home buying can help you settle in faster. the faster you tick off these steps, the more you can focus on other important aspects of your transition.

As part of the conveyancing process, your conveyancer will notify the council, water authority and owners’ corporation of the change of ownership. This is part of the core service of a conveyancer, being directly related to the settlement of the property and transfer of title. You need to work with a licensed conveyancer to make sure this is taken care of – something we always recommend.

At Complete Conveyancing Solutions our attention to detail is second to none. When it comes to the connection of essential utilities, our team will guide you through the steps that you need to completed before settlement.  With this peace of mind, you can get on with life knowing that your home is ready for you. To get started, book a free consultation with us today.

 

Step 1: Cancel your existing connections

If you’re moving house, one of the first steps you need to undertake is cancelling your existing electricity connection. Your energy provider can disconnect your electricity the day after you move out of your home so you don’t have to keep paying for power you don’t use.

If your gas account is tied up with your electricity, then this will also be disconnected on the same date. If you have a separate gas account with a different provider, then you’ll need to get in touch with your gas provider to have the account suspended when you move.

At the very least, you need to alert your current energy provider that you are making a move. They’ll give you options for connecting electricity and gas at your new home. If you’re moving out of a rental property, this is especially critical. If you forget to disconnect, then the next set of tenants will be enjoying the energy you pay for, for free.

 

Step 2: Deciding on your needs

Before you connect electricity, gas, or internet, you need to decide on what you’ll need for now and into the future after moving house. Here are some questions to consider before beginning your research into utility companies.

  • What kind of power supply do I need?
    • If you run a business or have a hobby that requires third-phase electricity, you’ll need to factor this into your decision.
  • Will solar panels cut down on my energy costs?
    • You can potentially save thousands on your energy bills over time by installing solar panels as a home buyer.
  • Does my new property have clear and safe access to your energy meter?
    • Quick and easy gas connections and electricity connections rely on access to meters around the property.
  • Am I moving to a cold climate where my gas consumption will likely be higher?
    • The price of gas is higher at the moment, so it may cost more to heat your home in winter.
  • Do I need to make an urgent connection that may cost slightly more?
    • Your move-in date can affect how much your energy service providers charge for a setup.
  • Will I need to pay exit fees once I wrap up my current connection?
    • An energy retailer may charge an early termination fee if you are contractually bound to pay for your power in quarterly packages.

There are many other questions that are commonly asked about this process. We’ve covered them below in our section on frequently asked questions.

gas connection

Step 3: Choosing between electricity and gas plans

One of the best ways to save money at your new address is to shop around for a new electricity supply. It’s no secret that Australia is in the midst of a domestic energy crisis, and prices for natural gas and power are both high. It’s up to you as a consumer to make an informed choice about who gives you power.

If you have the ability to choose between utility companies, you should do some thorough research. Choosing between the best gas and electricity providers for your region can help keep your total yearly energy bill low. The costs saved on your energy account can go towards things for your new house, or paying off your mortgage faster.

Moving interstate

It’s important to understand that energy rules differ between Australia’s states and territories. These differences largely come across in the amount of regulation in the region’s energy sector.

For example, in most Australian states (NSW, ACT, VIC, SA, and South East QLD), the energy sector is deregulated, meaning that you can choose your energy provider. The state government has opened these states up to competition, meaning that you might be able to find cheaper prices.

In regional QLD and WA, the energy sector is regulated by the state government, which locks prices and prevents choice between providers. While regulation keeps prices from being gouged by energy companies in times of scarcity, it limits your options when choosing between providers.

Some regions – like Tasmania and the NT – have limited access to energy providers. So while there is a free retail market, you are effectively bound by few choices.

Choosing the right energy distributor can seem daunting and difficult, especially if you live in a state with dozens of options. But once you have the electricity connected and your lights turn on for the first time, you’ll be glad you did your due diligence.

 

Choosing between internet plans

Like energy plans, internet plans can be expensive. They are no less important for the high quality of life we have come to appreciate in Australia. Fortunately, most homes in Australia can now access the National Broadband Network (NBN), which is currently the country’s best resource for high-speed internet.

Having access to the internet can ensure that you can:

  • Effectively work from home when you want
  • Access streaming platforms, including Netflix and Spotify
  • Stay in touch with family and friends
  • Keep your home safe with remote-monitored cloud security


It’s best to go with an internet provider that meets your needs. There are dozens of retailers on the market, making it extremely competitive. While you might not need the fastest speeds available in the country, you might prefer to go with a provider that is reliable, with large download limits. It’s all about your personal preference.

To get started, you’ll need a phone line for ADSL internet, or a connection to the NBN via an NBN box. If you’re not sure if your new home has either one installed, contact the agent or owner, depending on what stage of negotiations you are in. They’ll be able to tell you how NBN-ready the home is.

internet connection


Other utility services you may be considering

Aside from energy and internet – the utilities that power our lives – you may need to consider a number of other utilities before you can turn the key at your new home. These will depend on your home, your lifestyle, and your vision for the future.

Water

Water connections are managed by the relevant water retailer in your area. Depending on where you live, this may be a private company or utility service partially owned by the government. Nevertheless, before you move in, we will arrange a meter read on your behalf and transfer ownership into your name.

Applications for water transfers can take up to 28 days, so be sure to get out in front of this one before you are left high and dry. Fortunately, your conveyancer can take care of this for you as part of their pre-settlement tasks. Read on toward the end of the article to learn more about how this works.

Telephone

Telephone services are still an important utility for many people, as phone lines carry ADSL internet to our homes. You’ll want to ensure that the telephone connections are working in your home so that you can receive ADSL from your service provider. Fortunately, if you’re looking for an NBN connection, you don’t need an active phone line.

If you’re running a home business, or want to stay in touch with family and friends via landline, you’ll also need a telephone connection. Contact your preferred phone provider to set up a landline connection.

Streaming services

Streaming services aren’t a utility in the traditional sense, but still should be included in your utility budget for the month. From high-quality audio to television and cinema, streaming is just as important as the internet. They also rely on a strong internet connection, which certainly should be a consideration for new homeowners.

Now that we’ve covered off some of the main utilities and how to go about connecting them, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions we field from clients regarding utilities.

 

Frequently asked questions about connecting utilities

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get about connecting utilities at new homes. If you don’t find your question answered, get in touch with our team. They’ll be able to help you find the answer you’re looking for.

How long does it take to connect electricity and gas?

Connecting electricity should only take one business day for most providers. Some smaller providers may make up to two business days.

Gas can take a couple of business days, depending on the location. Both utilities can usually only be connected on business days.

Urgent connections for utilities can be costly, so it’s to contact your preferred provider as soon as possible.

Does it cost extra to connect energy to my new home?

Depending on your provider, you may have to pay a connection fee to establish your new utilities. Make sure you check with your prospective new energy provider to see how much this fee might be.

What if I’m building a new home?

New homes need to be connected to the grid, so you’ll need to contact your local energy provider that manages all the physical energy utilities (light poles, transformers, etc.) in your area. This step should be taken care of by your builder during the build phase. Extending the grid to cover your home may come with additional costs and a waiting period of a few business days.

 

Why you should engage a conveyancer when connecting your utilities

Conveyancers are an essential part of the property buying process. They work with buyers and sellers by drafting contracts and representing their interests in negotiations. But did you know that a licensed conveyancer can also help you get your utilities connected?

Firstly, conveyancers need to ensure that all charges against the land are paid in full before the title changes hands. This means that, regardless of whether the conveyancers are acting for the buyer or seller, they must ensure that full payment for all accounts regarding the land has been completed.

The core service that a conveyancer offers is that of attending to all the paperwork involved with a property transaction. In terms of assisting with utilities, this means three main things:

  • Alerting the local council of the change of ownership
  • Notifying your water authority of your new residency
  • Advising your owner’s corporation or body corporate of your purchase

However, you will need to organise your own gas, electricity, internet, and other utilities to be connected yourself. Think of it this way – if it’s something you would need to connect as a renter, it’s something you need to connect without the help of a conveyancer.

Before you get started on your property buying journey, get in touch with Complete Conveyancing Solutions. Our team can help you through every phase of the process, from your first search right through to settlement, including the transfer of utilities into your name. Book a free consultation with us today to get started.

Maria Tomlinson holds an unrestricted conveyancing licence together with Professional Indemnity Insurance against civil liability. Maria Tomlinson commenced her career in Conveyancing in 2001. She furthered her studying by completing her Diploma in Conveyancing in 2017 which has led her to hold an unrestricted Conveyancing License and successfully open her conveyancing firm, Complete Conveyancing Solutions.

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