Start utility services: Step-By-Step guide for movers
Moving's a big job. Fortunately, taking care of your energy service is easy. Follow our steps for starting your energy service with your utility or energy supplier, and get back to everything else you need to do to complete your big move.
Moving to Texas or already there? A majority of Texas residents live in deregulated electric zones where the competition between +70 electric providers enables the power to choose from electricity plans that offer 100% renewable energy, rate type options, or even annual freezes on summer rates!
Starting Utility Service
In order to have electricity or gas service running in your new home, you will need to open an account with your utility in your name. Ideally, it is best to provide one month's notice when opening an account in your name, but most utilities are also able to act with shorter delays.
Whether for electricity or gas, you will likely have to provide the following information to open your new energy account:
- Your full name
- The address that you are moving to
- The date of your move
- Your date of birth
- Your contact information (phone number and/or email address)
- Your Social Security Number (SSN). If you have a drivers' license, you may be asked for the number as well
- Type of lease (if you are renting)
Will I Have to Pay a Security Deposit?Many utilities require a security deposit in order to activate an account. Whether you will have to pay one, and how much you will have to pay, will depend on your credit rating. This is why utilities require your SSN in order to start service.
Unless the previous occupant moved out a long time ago, in most cases your energy (electricity and/or natural gas) should still be connected when you move in. In this case, the account activation procedure should be quite rapid and simple.
If Service Has Been Shut Off
If electricity in your new home was disconnected when the previous occupant left, it may take longer to open your account and start electricity service. This is is because your utility company will have to send a technician out to your home to get a meter reading and/or activate service in person, and the time delay will depend on the availability of staff. Depending on the utility, you may be able to get same-day/24h service (often for an additional fee), but in most cases your wait will depend on your utility and cannot be altered.
Our TipTo avoid the possibility of going without power or gas, make sure to open your new utility account at least five to seven days before the date of your move to your new home
Choose an enegy supplier
Depending on where you live, you may have a choice of electricity or natural gas supply - or both! If you live in an area where energy has been deregulated, you have a choice between two main types of prices:
Standard rates with your local utility company
In most states (except the always independent Texas), your default option for your energy supply is to purchase it directly from your utility. This rate might be called something like the "rate to compare" or the "standard offer" and covers the cost of your utility to purchase energy supply on your behalf. In most cases, the default rate offered by utilities is a variable rate that changes on a regular basis, and usually has to follow a certain purchasing procedure that has been approved/regulated by your state's public utilities commission.
Energy rates from alternate energy suppliers
If you live in an area where energy markets are open to competition, you have the option of choosing an alternate supplier for your energy supply.
- Alternate suppliers go by many names. Depending on where you live, they might be called:
- Energy supply companies (ESCO)
- Retail energy providers (REP)
- Energy retailers
- Alternative suppliers
- Energy marketers
- Competitive/alternate retail energy providers (CREP/AREP)
- Here, to keep things simple, we've decided to call them simply "alternate suppliers"
Why choose an alternate supplier over your utility? Alternate suppliers offer you wider choice of pricing. For example, with an alternate supplier, you have the option of choosing a fixed, variable, or indexed rate. Some alternate supplers offer time of use pricing in areas where the utility does not.
Alternate suppliers also offer the possibility of supporting green energy. While the sources of power production vary by state, overall about two-thirds of electricity produced in the US comes from fossil fuels. While some utilities are investing into renewable power, only alternate suppliers are currently able to offer 100% green energy. You can help support wider use of renewable energy by choosing to purchase electricity (or even natural gas) that has either come from renewable sources, or that has been carbon compensated, from an alternate supplier.
Normally, your utility will take care of both delivery (or the costs associated with getting energy to your home and maintaining infrastructure) and supply (or the actual cost of the energy you consume and customer service). If you choose an alternate supplier, your local utility will still be in charge of delivery costs. Your new supplier, however, will take care of all charges related to supply - and this is where you can save on your energy bills.
Shopping for Energy
In general, we recommend choosing a fixed-rate with an alternate energy supplier for both electricity and gas - find out why. Make sure, however, to check out the rate offered by your utility to be sure that you're getting a good rate.
Sign-up for energy service
Once you've made your decision about your energy supply, signing up is easy! Call us at phone currently not available to start service with your chosen supplier. Our energy experts will be happy to answer any questions you have about the plan, rates available, or the company. He or she will also take your personal information required to sign up for your chosen plan. This will take only a few minutes.
What Kind of Information Do I Need to Provide?We will ask you for the following information to start service with your chosen supplier:
- Your full name and contact information (telephone number, email address)
- Your service address
- Your utility account number or Point of Delivery ID (POD ID)
- Your Social Security Number
Once you've enrolled, there's nothing left to do! Your chosen supplier will contact your utility directly to notify them that you are purchasing energy from the supplier. Your service should not be interrupted or change in quality in any way.