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How to set up gas and electric for the first time

When moving into a new home, it can be easy to forget about your energy supply in all the excitement. But getting it sorted is an essential job.

Here’s everything you need to know about setting up gas and electricity for the first time, from finding your meter to saving on energy bills.

When moving into a new home, it can be easy to forget about your energy supply in all the excitement. But getting it sorted is an essential job.

Here’s everything you need to know about setting up gas and electricity for the first time, from finding your meter to saving on energy bills.

Written by
Sajni Shah
Utilities comparison expert
Last Updated
12 MARCH 2024
6 min read
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1. Find out who supplies your energy 

The first step to setting up energy bills in your new home is to find out who already provides the gas and electricity. The simplest way to do this is by asking the previous owners or developer (if it’s a new build).

You should also look out for a letter addressed to 'the occupier' when you move in. This should give you any information you need about your gas and electricity or dual fuel supplier.

If you’re moving into a rental property and you’re responsible for new tenant gas and electric bills, ask the letting agent or landlord who the energy supplier is for your new home.

Alternatively, if you’re still not sure: 
For gas – use the Find My Supplier service or call the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524. 
For electricity – contact the Local Distribution Centre for your area. Read our guide on who supplies your energy for a full list of numbers. 

2. Find your gas and electricity meters 

During the house-moving process, the estate/letting agent or previous owners should be able to show you where the meters are. If they can’t, you’ll most likely find them in the kitchen, hallway or meter box outside the property.

If you’re setting up gas and electricity in a new-build home, the developer will be able to show you where the meters are.

Depending on how you want to pay, you’ll need to choose between two types of meter – but you can potentially get smart meter versions of both if your supplier is offering them in your location.

  • A standard credit meter, which displays numbers in dial or digital form. You’ll pay either monthly or quarterly if you have one of these.
  • A prepayment meter, which is a type of ‘pay-as-you-go’ meter, often found in rental properties. It lets you pay for your energy in advance, usually by inserting money or a smart key/card that you top up with credit. If you run out of credit on your meter you could be left without gas or electricity.

3. Take a meter reading

On the day you move in, you should take meter readings and submit them to the supplier when they set up your account. That way, you’ll avoid getting charged for any energy used by the previous occupants.

If you’ve got a smart meter, your readings should be transmitted automatically to the supplier, who should be able to tie this together with the date you move in.

However, it’s a good idea take a photo or smart meter reading in case there’s a problem when the bill is issued.

If you’re disabled, elderly or vulnerable and you’re finding it tricky to read the meter:

  • Give your supplier a call so they can send someone to read it for you. 
  • Ask them about the Priority Services Register, a free service offering prioritised assistance for customers in need. 

It’s a good idea to submit readings every month or so to keep your bills accurate. If your new home has a smart meter, it will automatically send the readings to your supplier so you don’t have to.

4. Find the fuse box and trip switch 

For new gas and electric customers, it’s important to know where the trip switch is in case the electricity cuts out. This can happen because of an electrical surge or faulty appliance. The trip switch is usually on or near the fuse box.

If you’ve got gas, it’s also a good idea to know how to turn off the gas isolation valve in case of emergency.

In newer houses the valve is normally outside with the meter box. In older homes it could be under the sink or in another kitchen cupboard, under the stairs or in the garage.

To turn off the gas, turn the lever so it’s at 90 degrees to the gas pipe. Always make sure all appliances are off first.

5. Find your meter number 

Both gas and electricity meters have a supply number, unique to your home. You may need these numbers when you contact the supplier to set up your account, especially if you’re moving into a new-build property.

  • The gas supply Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) is usually between six and 10 digits long and it will be on your energy bill (not to be confused with your customer reference number).
  • If you don’t have a bill, you can request your MPRN from the Meter Point Administration Service.
  • The electricity supply Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) is usually 21 digits long and can also be found on your energy bill.
  • Contact the supplier directly if you can’t find a bill.

6. Get in touch with your new energy supplier  

Once you’ve found out who supplies your energy, you’ll need to contact them and register as a new gas and electric customer. You should do this as soon as possible after moving in. They will create your new account for you and answer any questions you might have.

Apart from helping you to avoid any previous occupant’s energy debts, a utility bill in your name can be used as proof of address – for everything from getting a parking permit to opening a new bank account.

You should also get in touch with your supplier if your home has a prepayment meter but you’d rather be on a standard credit meter that lets you pay by direct debit and gives you a better choice of deals.

7. Find out what tariff you’re on 

When the previous homeowner moves out, you (as the new occupier) will usually be transferred automatically to the current energy supplier’s standard tariff to maintain the energy supply.

A tariff is how much you’ll be charged for your gas and electricity. There are two main charges you’ll see on your electricity bill:

  • Unit price – the amount of gas or electricity you use in pence per kWh
  • Standing charge – a fixed daily charge for being connected and having a meter.
Read our guide to energy tariffs

8. See how you can save energy

You can use Compare the Market to compare energy deals by typing in your postcode. This will bring up details about your estimated energy spend. You can update anything that doesn’t look right, then use this information to compare energy tariffs to see how much you could save compared with your current deal.

Sajni Shah - Consumer expert on utilities and money

Sajni is passionate about building products, allowing Compare the Market to help you make great financial decisions. She keeps track of the latest trends and evolving markets to find new ways to help you save money.

Learn more about Sajni

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