First time buyer gas and electricity guide

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Moving house is stressful, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. As the moving date gets closer, your to-do list will grow bigger each day as you try to make sure everything is sorted before you get the keys to your new property.

There’s one thing that’s easily overlooked among the lists and the boxes though – your new property’s gas and electricity supply. When you move into your house, you’re likely to already have an energy supplier in place, so you can be forgiven for not thinking about it too much.

But once the first bill comes through, and you realise your supplier has put you on an expensive rate, those thoughts may change. That's why we help compare gas and electricity prices for first-time buyers.

What tariff will you be on in your new house?

When the previous homeowner moves out, in order to maintain an uninterrupted energy supply to the property, the current energy supplier will automatically transfer the new occupier onto their standard tariff.

The trouble is, standard tariffs are usually the supplier’s most expensive rate, which means your initial bill can typically cost up to 20% more than the cheapest deal available. So it’s well worth comparing energy quotes to see how much you can save on your bills.

How much energy do UK households use?

  • Small House / Flat - gas usage of 8,000kWh and an electricity usage of 2,000kWh
  • Medium House - gas usage of 12,500kWh and an electricity usage of 3,100kWh
  • Large House - gas usage of 18,000kWh and an electricity usage of 4,600kWh

First time buyers’ energy check-list

Use our simple checklist to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your gas and electricity.

Find your gas and electricity meters

Gas and electricity meters are usually installed in the kitchen, the hall or an outside meter box. If you can't find yours, make sure you check all cupboards, big and small – they’ll be in there somewhere!

If your home is a new build the developers will be able to show you where your utility meters are.

If you've bought from a previous owner they, or the estate agent, should be able to give you all the information you need to locate your gas and electricity meters.

Find the trip switch

You'll need to know where the trip switch is in case the electricity cuts out. A trip in energy usually happens when there is a faulty appliance or you over-use the electricity in the home. This switch is there to keep you safe.

The trip switch is in or next to the fuse box, which should be within 3m of the electricity meter.

Find your meter number

There are two types of meter number - the Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) for electricity and the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) for gas.

The Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) is unique to your home. Also known as a ‘supply number’, it’s 21 digits long and can be found on your energy bill, but make sure you don’t get it confused with your customer reference number, which can also be found on your bill.

The Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) is unique to your gas supply and is usually between six and 10 digits long. This can also be found on your gas bill. Just as a side-point, these numbers are not printed on the meters themselves, so inspecting them won’t really help.

Switch to a better energy deal

So you don’t end up paying more than you need, the steps below will help to make sure you are on the most efficient tariff for your new home.

  • Identify the supplier(s) of your new property. Note: If you don’t know who supplier is, check out our who supplies my gas and electricity? page.
  • Take a meter reading on the day you move in – this is essential to ensure that there is no overlap with the previous tenants on your first bill.
  • Search "gas and electricity quotes for first-time buyers" to find the best tariff for you.
  • Switch onto the best deal and start saving money!

Don’t be put off switching supplier because you don’t know how much gas and electricity you’re going to use, you can compare quotes based upon an estimation of your energy use. The key is to move away from the expensive standard tariff, and once you find the right tariff, your payments will even themselves out.

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