Moving to a new city, town, state, or country means setting up utilities in another area where your current suppliers may not provide service. If this is the case, setting up utilities can take a bit of time and juggling to ensure that your lights, heat, and other services are still functioning while you're packing up your old home and are running when you arrive and settle into your new space.
Who Will Be Your New Provider?
Depending on where you're moving to, your current provider may not service your new neighborhood. You may even be moving to another area of the country that has different regulations and set-up processes for utility services. Many city and state websites will provide information, including utility company and service provider details, for newcomers.
The best thing to do is to search on the Internet utilities in your new city. Most cities provide local services, such as garbage pickup, sewer, water services, and recycling as well. Electricity or hydro and gas options are usually supplied at the state level, so it's best to check with your state's website for more information. 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.
Timeline for Set-up
To be safe, it's best to contact the new provider at least two weeks before your actual move-in date. While many utility companies can do a three- to five-day turnaround, some will need at least a week to 10 days in order to get things set up. It all depends on when you move—during peak moving season, 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. Remember, when booking service connection and disconnection, it's important to ask what time the service will be completed. To be safe, book the service for the day before your arrival, just to make sure the lights and heat are working for your move-in.
Applying for Service
Every utility company has its own policy and process when it comes to signing up for new services. If you're moving to a new state or to another country, such as from Canada to the U.S., you might have to provide a deposit for most of your services, because the companies can't always guarantee a solid credit check. While this may require that you pay a higher fee up front, you'll receive your deposit back once the company knows you'll pay your bills.
For those of you who are moving across the country or to a new city, the usual steps in setting up utilities include the completion of an application (usually online), plus a credit check. Again, if you don't have a good credit rating or are just moving into your first home and haven't had services before, the company will probably ask for a deposit. Remember that the security deposit can be, in some cases, quite substantive depending on the amount of usage that your property may consume. Call the company or log onto the website for more details.
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. Ask the provider what you can do to lower your bills and whether they provide any support for first-time homeowners.
Once you've had your utilities set up, remember to keep track of your billing dates and payment options, so you're not left in the dark.