Moving to a new city, town, state/province or country means setting up utilities in another area where your current suppliers may not provide service. If this is the case, disconnecting and reconnecting utilities can take a bit of time and juggling to ensure that your lights, heat and other services are still functioning as you finish packing and are up and running for when you arrive at the new space.
Who Will be Your New Provider?Depending on where you're moving to, your current provider may not service your new neighborhood. Or you may be moving to another area of the country which may have different regulations and set-up processes for utility services. Many city and state websites will provide information for newcomers, including utility company and service provider details. To locate a state website, go to www.usa.gov and in Canada, go to www.canada.gc.ca to link directly with a provincial site.
If you live in the US, the best resource for finding local providers is with Moving.com. Just type in your new location and a list of utility companies are provided for a wide range of services, such as gas, hydro, telephone and Internet. It will also allow you to do a price comparison to find the least expensive option. Check it out and save yourself some much-needed time.
When Should I Call?To be safe, it's best to contact the new provider at least two weeks before your actual move-in date. While many utilities companies can do a three to five day turnaround, some will need at least a week to ten days. It all depends on when you move - during high peak move times, such as summer months, the wait-time for services will be longer. Similarly, some companies will require at least two weeks notice for disconnection, too. Before you call, make sure you have firm move-out and move-in dates. And remember when booking service connection and disconnection, it's important to ask what time the service will be completed. To be safe, I usually book the service for the day before our arrival, just to make sure the lights and heat are working for our move-in.
How Do I Apply for Service?Every utility company has their own policy and process. Usually, an application must be completed - many times online - and either a deposit or credit check needs to be completed if you don't have a customer service record with that particular company. Some also accept a security deposit which can be quite substantive depending on the amount of usage that your property may consume. Call the company or log onto their website for more details. Just keep in mind that many times companies will offer incentives for first-time consumers so use your negotiating skills to get a better deal or to have the security deposit waived. In a recent move, one utility company waived our security deposit of $700.00 after faxing a detailed record of our account with a previous provider.