How to Look Up the Utilities on a Property Before Moving In

What Utilities Does the Home Need

Establish the needs of the new home. Of course, you need electricity, water and sewer service, but you might not need gas in some parts of the country. Most sewer charges are combined with your water bill, but you may have utilities that combine water and electricity. If the home has solar panels, you may be allowed to be “off grid” with the electric company, but you may need to at least be registered by law. Your realtor should be able to review the home utility needs and provide you with this information.

How to Set Up Utilities When Moving

Moving to a new address can be a huge undertaking. From packing boxes to loading furniture into a truck — never mind the refrigerator — it’s always stressful. Even if you hire movers, you’ll still have to get your utilities in order before you leave your home for good.

There’s a lot to consider. Are you moving to an apartment building, or did you purchase a new home? Will your current utility company offer services at your new residence, or do you need to switch? 

Here are a few steps to help you pick and switch utilities for your next move:

  1. Research Utility Providers in Your New Neighborhood. Three to four weeks before the move, find utility providers — water, gas, electricity, home phone, home security, cable or satellite TV, internet, and waste removal — located in your desired area. It’s common for utility companies to only service certain areas (and apartment buildings can require specific companies or restrict satellite dishes), so there’s a strong possibility you’ll end up switching providers entirely.
  2. Contact Your Current Providers. Two weeks before the move, inform them of the address change and shut-off date. If you’re sticking with the same utility provider, you can transfer service to your new home. Otherwise, you’ll need to cancel your service and contact your new provider about the process of setting up utilities.
  3. Have Your Information Ready. To ensure everything goes smoothly, you may need your current account number, proof of identity (a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate), proof of address (lease agreement or mortgage paperwork), your social security number — so the provider can run your credit history to see if you’ve consistently paid your utilities in the past — and a credit card or checking information.  

The easiest way to find your new utility providers is by simply using our search by address tool. If you want to compare your cost of living between your old and new location, check out our moving comparison tool.

Special Considerations for Moving Deregulated Utilities

If you’re looking to move your deregulated electric or natural gas service to a new address, the steps are slightly different. Every deregulated provider offers various contracts — from variable monthly plans to long-term plans spanning over three years.

Signing a contract can be nerve-wracking when you put pen to paper. Life is unpredictable. What happens if you need to move before your contract is up? Is it even possible to break your deregulated energy contract?

In short, yes. Each state with a deregulated energy market offers provisions for this exact scenario. Suppose you’re moving to a different area within the same region your utility company operates. In that case, they will usually allow you to transfer your service to the new address without charging a penalty. If you’re moving to a region that your current utility company doesn’t cover, however, you may have to pay an early-termination fee (ETF) for canceling service before your contract is up. It depends on your state’s laws on the matter. 

Fee Finder: Texas and Ohio have no penalties for ending a supply contract early, while Connecticut limits such a fee to $50.

Curious about what your state’s stance on early contract termination is? We recommend checking your contract and calling your current or prospective utility provider.

Transferring Your Services Between Two Places

It’s common when moving to have electricity, water, natural gas, and your internet on at your old address and the new one at the same time. Remember, moving takes time. Cleaning out your old home may require many trips. You may even need to keep the lights on in your old residence until your house sells. 

Most electricity providers will let residential customers keep two homes on the same contract for up to 60 days. All that’s required is a telephone call to your utility provider. Let them know you want to leave service on at your current home — and when exactly you want service turned on at your new address.

If you’d prefer to do this all online, just look for “Transfer My Service” (or a similar option) on the utility company’s website. From there, you’ll be able to schedule a move-in date for service at the new address and a move-out date for your old residence. And if it’s taking longer than expected to sell your home, you can always contact the company to request an extension.

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Additional Public Utility Resources

In a perfect world, you would never have to think about utilities. (Turn on the faucet, you get water; flip a switch, you get light.) But dealing with utility companies is an unavoidable part of life from time to time, so we put together several resources to help you learn more and navigate the wonderful world of utilities.

How to set up utilities

You will need to set up each utility individually. It’s generally advised that you start the process three weeks before you move, though some utility setups offer more wiggle room than others. As a general rule though, give your utility providers as much notice as you can, especially if they need to come out and set up the service manually.

With that information in mind, here’s how to set up utilities so they’re ready to go on move-in day.

Determine who your providers are (three to four weeks before your move)

The utility providers for your new home may be different than the providers for your last home. Certain cities, neighborhoods, apartment buildings and landlord/management companies have different provider requirements. Likewise, some utility companies only service certain areas.

If you’re moving to a property that you’ve purchased, check the website for your city and/or county for information on utility providers. If you’re renting, check your lease or ask your landlord. Most of the time, you’ll have one provider option for utilities like electricity, natural gas, water and sewer, trash pickup, and multiple options for internet and cable.

Contact utility companies (two weeks before your move)

Now that you know who your providers are going to be, you can get in touch. If you already have utilities set up in your current home, you’re going to need to either transfer your existing utilities or cancel your existing utilities and set up new ones. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll just need to set up new ones.

  • If you need to transfer utilities: This applies if the provider for a certain utility won’t change between your current home and your new home. If this is the case, you’ll have to contact the provider and let them know that service should be transferred to another location. You’ll need to provide your new address, as well as the exact date you need service shut off in one home and turned on in another.
  • If you need to cancel utilities: This applies if you’re going to have to change providers. Contact the provider of the utility you need to cancel and let them know you are looking to shut down the service. They’ll need to know the address where you’re shutting down service, as well as the exact date that your account should be closed.
  • Setting up new service: To set up a new service, visit the website of your new provider. There should be information about how to set up utilities, but if not, call them directly. You’ll need to tell them the address that you’re looking to set up utilities, as well as the date that you need service to start.

Most utility companies will also require payment information at this time, either in the form of a credit card or a checking account and routing number. Some may also require a credit check and/or a security deposit. Find out exactly what’s required of you before you go through the application process so that you have everything ready to go.

Note that, if you’re renting, your landlord may require proof that you have arranged for utilities to be set up. Find out how far in advance you will need to provide this information so that you can call your providers earlier if need be.

Check that utilities have been successfully turned off/on (moving day)

There is always the possibility of errors when you’re transferring, canceling or setting up utilities. For that reason, it’s a good idea to verify that everything went through as it was supposed to — especially since you don’t want to end up with a bill for utilities that you thought were shut off.

Checking to make sure that utilities in your new home were turned on is easy enough. Make sure that you can flip on a light, turn on the stove, flush the toilet, and connect to the internet. For trash pickup, you’ll have to wait to verify until collection day, but you should know if you’re properly set up before the end of the week. If any utilities are not turned on that are supposed to be, call the provider right away. If the issue is due to a mistake on their end, they can usually expedite service and get a utility set up right away for you.

For utilities that you canceled, double-check your account information to ensure that the shut-off happened on the date it was scheduled to. If you’re not seeing that information online, call the company to verify (and be sure to get the name of the person you speak to — just in case).

Save money on utility bills

Start off your life in your new home or residence on the right foot by working towards making your home more energy-efficient. We don’t need to you tell you it’s good for the planet — and you’ll save money in the process. So much energy is wasted annually because of the dated and inefficient cooling and heating systems, poor insulation, old appliances, and leaky windows, ducts and floors.

Here are some ways you could make your home more energy-efficient:

  1. Turn off your AC and use fans when possible
  2. Replace the filter of your AC regularly
  3. Keep your thermostats on low or turn them off when out
  4. Install programmable thermostats
  5. Update insulation
  6. Turn off lights when you’re not in the room
  7. Use LED lights for holiday decoration
  8. Turn off the electronic devices you’re not using at the moment
  9. Invest in energy-efficient ENERGY STAR appliances
  10. Lower the temperature of your water heater
  11. Take shorter showers
  12. Use low-flow shower heads
  13. Keep curtains closed
  14. Close the doors and the window when heating or cooling your home
  15. Only run full loads of laundry
  16. Air dry your laundry
  17. Wash dishes by hand when possible
  18. Pare down your security system
  19. Bundle cable and internet
  20. Cancel the TV channels and streaming services you’re not using

Find My Gas Company

Here, you can see the companies that provide natural gas service to cities and towns in Massachusetts.  You can use the search bar below to search the name of a city or town you’re interested in. You can also explore the map by clicking and tapping or by referencing the table below the map for more details.

Use the search bar below to find the gas company that serves your city or town.  Multiple companies might serve one city or town and gas service is sometimes not available to every address in a city or town.  If you have questions about gas service to your location, contact your city or town hall.

Download this table as a CSV file

The Consumer Division may be able to help with billing issues and other concerns you may have.

The bottom line

When looking at potential homes, it’s important to ask, “how much are utilities?” to plan your budget. The answer will depend on multiple factors. For a start, look at national averages to get a baseline idea of how much utilities cost in the U.S.

Seasonal Differences

Keep in mind that energy and water bills fluctuate based on seasons. You might not water the lawn during the winter but you run the gas furnace to a steamy 82 degrees. This means one utility bill is lower in the winter and one higher.

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