First time buyers guide to gas and electricity

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Moving house at any time of your life can be stressful, but especially if you’re buying your first home. As the date gets nearer, chances are that you’re tracking a million and one things at once to make sure everything happens in time for that all-important moving day.

However, one thing that can often be overlooked with first time home buyers is gas and electricity. When you first move into your house, you will probably already be receiving electricity and gas and you won’t give it another thought until your first bill comes through the door.

When the previous home owners move out, the energy provider to that address will automatically transfer the new owners onto a ‘standard’ tariff under a deemed contract, unless you specify otherwise. This is done to ensure a continued supply of energy to the address, but the ‘standard’ tariff is often the supplier’s most expensive rate. This means your first bill is often higher than normal because of the tariff that you’re on. Typically it can cost up to 20% more than the cheapest deal available to you.

To prevent paying more than you need to on your gas and electricity, it is essential that you follow the steps below to make sure you are on the best and most efficient tariff for your new home.

  1. Identify the supplier(s) of your new property
    Note: If you don’t know who supplier is visit our ‘Who supplies my gas and electricity’ page
  2. 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.
  3. Run a comparison to identify the best tariff for you
  4. Switch onto the best deal and start saving £££!

One potential stumbling block for “first time buyers” is gauging how much gas and electricity you’re going to use. But there is no need to worry, if you get this wrong you can adjust your payments to be more accurate once you’re set-up on the best tariff. The key for now is getting off an expensive ‘standard’ tariff and switching onto the cheapest energy deal available to you.

As a guide, these are the usage levels used across the UK energy industry:

  • 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

By: James McAllister - home energy expert
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