Whether you own or rent, you need to work with utility companies that provide your home with water, heat and power. When you decide to move across town or across the country, you need to take steps to ensure that you have service in your new home. While there are some things you can do before your move, there are other things you can do during your move and even after you finish moving.

Transfer Service

Depending on how far away you move, you may find that you can transfer your service instead of getting new service. Many utility companies charge a deposit for establishing new service. When you move and transfer that service, you do not need to pay a new deposit. If the company has service available in your new area, you shouldn’t have any problems transferring it.

Schedule Shut Off

Before you call a utility provider and work out a time to turn on your new service, you need to know when you want service shut off at your current address. Though you might pick the same day that you plan on moving, it’s often helpful to pick the following day. This helps you handle any emergency situations that might arise and keep your from moving. Picking a later date lets you have power and other services if you need to spend an extra night in your old home.

Choose a Turn On Date

Service providers require that you pick a date when you want service turned on in your new home. This can be the same date that you plan to move in or the day before. Though some companies ask that an adult be at the home before turning on service, others can do this when no one is there. It usually depends on whether workers have access to your home and any of the lines or features they need to use.

Pay Off the Amount Due

Never even think about moving and turning on service in a new home without paying off any utility bills already in your name. Many service providers will not let you turn on power, heat or even cable and internet unless you paid off the amount due at your old residence. This shows that you are capable of paying your bills on time. If you have a balance with a provider that includes any previous months of service, the provider may not let you transfer service until you pay it off.

Call in Advance

Though some people assume that utility providers can handle last minute calls, most require that you call in advance. You need to give the provider at least 10 days notice before setting up new service. This gives the company time to do a soft credit check on your name, which determines whether you need to pay a deposit. It’s best to call at least two weeks before you want service turned on. Many top companies will now let you schedule an appointment for new service on their websites too.

Applying for Service

When you need new service, some providers will ask for your full name as well as your social security number and date of birth. The company will then do a soft credit check to determine if you have a high risk of not paying your bills. This credit check will not impact your credit score though. If the company views you as a potential risk, it will require that you pay a deposit. You’ll need to pay this deposit before you can have service turned on and before the company will process your request. This deposit is often equivalent to the average bill price associated with your new address.

Getting a Better Price

Before moving and setting up new service, you can use some tips to get a better price on the service that you need. While gas and power providers generally charge one amount for all people, you can ask about adding a co-signer to your account to bring down the cost of your deposit. Some companies will lower your deposit or drop the deposit if you can show that you had service through a different company and had an account in good standing. Cable and internet providers often offer deals for new customers that will significantly bring down your monthly bills too.

Get Back Your Deposit

As soon as a provider shuts off a utility in your old home, you can contact that company and ask about getting your deposit back. Most have some requirements that you’ll need to meet such as not having any late bills for a certain period of time and not have any disconnection notices tied to your account. Some companies will actually track your account for the first year of service and give you back your deposit in the form of a credit on your bill if you meet its requirements. If you did not receive a credit, you can call and ask about getting your deposit back in the form of a check or direct deposit.

Contact Your New City

Garbage pick up, trash removal and sewer services are all available through city departments. Before moving to a new home, you’ll need to contact the appropriate department and ask about turning on these services. You’ll have the chance to pick the number of garbage cans you need and the type that you want. Having more than one can and opting for larger cans will increase the cost. Cities can also provide you with a recycling bin too.

Check Utilities Before Moving

Many people do not think twice about moving out of a house that still has running water or power because they assume that their providers will turn off those services later. Even if you set up a turn off time and have email confirmation, you should always make sure that the utilities are off before you move or at least the day after you move. If you cannot be there, you can ask a friend to check for you. There is a risk that the provider might forget about your appointment and send you a bill for services rendered long after you moved.

Verify Service Times and Appointments

While you will have a lot on your mind during your move, you should always take the time to call each new provider and verify the service times and appointments that you made relating to your new home. This lets you know if the company has a technician coming out on the day you move in and helps you double check the services that you’ll have. Many companies have a feature that lets you request a call that tells you when the technician will arrive.

Be There

The most important thing you can do when establishing new service or transferring service is simply be there or have someone else be in that residence. Companies generally will not turn on new utilities to a home unless they can get inside and do a quick check of the existing lines and fixtures to make sure everything is up to code. A technician may need you to sign your new service contract too. Doing all of these things will help you easily set up utilities in your new place.