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How to set up gas and electric for the first time

If you’re moving into a new home, it can be easy to forget about your energy supply in all the excitement. But getting it sorted is one of your essential jobs. 

Here’s everything you need to know about setting up gas and electric for the first time, from finding your meter to getting a great energy deal. 

If you’re moving into a new home, it can be easy to forget about your energy supply in all the excitement. But getting it sorted is one of your essential jobs. 

Here’s everything you need to know about setting up gas and electric for the first time, from finding your meter to getting a great energy deal. 

Sofia Hutson
Energy expert
minute read
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Posted 24 JUNE 2021

1. Find out who supplies your energy 

First, you need to find out who already provides the gas and electricity in your new home. The simplest way to do this is by asking the previous owners, tenants or developer (if it’s a new build).  
If the people who lived at the property before you have called the energy supplier to let them know they're moving, you should also receive 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.  
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 point you to where the meters are. If they can’t, for any reason, you’ll most likely find them in the kitchen, hallway or meter box outside the property. 
If your home is on a new housing estate, the developer will be able to show you where the meters are. 
There are two types of meter

  • 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. 

3. Take a meter reading

On the day you move in, you should take meter readings  (if they’re credit meters) and submit them to the supplier when they set up your account. By doing this, you’ll avoid getting charged for any energy used by the previous occupants.  
If you’re disabled or elderly 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. It’s also worth asking 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 

It’s important you know where the trip switch is in case the electricity cuts out. A sudden power outage is probably because of an electrical surge or faulty appliance. The trip switch is usually on or near the fuse box, within three metres of your electricity meter. 
If you take the time to find it before or on the day you move in, it means you won’t be scrabbling around in the dark trying to find it if your power goes out. 

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 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  

If you’re contacting your energy supplier for the first time, do it 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 – when opening a new bank account, for example. 
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 on 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.   
In most cases, a standard tariff ends up being the most expensive plan. So, when you receive your first bill, you might find you’re paying considerably more than you need to. That’s why saving money on your energy should be a priority – even though we appreciate that your to-do list is probably long enough already! 

Read our guide to energy tariffs

8. Shop around for a better energy deal 

As a first-time energy customer, sticking with the current supplier and tariff might seem like the simplest option. But moving into a new home is the perfect opportunity to shop around for a better deal. 
Comparing energy with Compare the Market only takes a few minutes. Don’t worry if you don't have any previous bills to help you compare – you can estimate how much energy you’ll use by telling us the number of bedrooms in the property and roughly how often someone will be at home. 
Once you’ve found a tariff and supplier you’re happy with, the whole switching process is quick and painless. 
So see if you can start saving by comparing energy prices with us today – and find even more ways to save by checking out our tips for saving energy