How Much Does it Cost to Transfer Utilities?

Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Moving to a new place comes with a lot of checklists. Transferring electricity, water, gas, and more usually falls to the bottom of the logistics list. Handling this smoothly means knowing utility transfer costs and step-by-step processes. This guide has you covered on both fronts!

First up, let’s talk budget…

How Much Does it Cost to Transfer Utilities?

The average cost of transfering utilities is anywhere between $0 and $600 or more, depending on the utilities you need to transfer, any required deposits, early termination fees, individual provider fees, and so on.

Here’s what to expect for different types of utilities:

  1. Electricity and Gas: The deposit, if required, can range from $100 to $300 or more, depending on the provider and your credit history.
  2. Water and Sewer: Service initiation or transfer fees, if applicable, typically range from $25 to $100.
  3. Internet, Cable, and Phone: Installation or transfer fees can vary widely, from $0 (in case of promotional offers) to $100 or more. Early termination fees, if you’re breaking a contract, can be significant, sometimes several hundred dollars.
  4. Trash and Recycling: Transfer fees, if any, are usually minimal, often less than $50.

Truthfully the costs vary quite a bit. In lucky cases, you might pay zero for transfers if you:

  1. Stick with the same service provider. Many companies won’t charge extra fees if you stay put.
  2. Move to an area where utilities are included. For apartments or condos, this is common.

However, be ready for charges if:

  1. You switch local utility companies upon moving – new firms often charge service deposits, and installation fees up to several hundred dollars.
  2. You already had past due amounts with old providers – unpaid bills can stall or block transfers.

In short, transferring service might mean no fees or hundreds of dollars, potentially catching folks off guard. So phone up all your current and future utility companies beforehand. Check if deposits, connection charges, or account arreages will apply to you.

Additional Costs When Transferring New House Utilities

Beyond the core costs billed by utility companies, also prepare for unseen expenses like:

  • Calling agents and scheduling transfers – 1 hour per utility
  • Driving to multiple offices for paperwork, deposits, etc.
  • Any small repairs needed so service techs can access meter areas
  • Loss of food or comfort if transfer install dates fall through

Drawing up a Plan to Reduce Utility Transfer Costs

Luckily there are ways to curb the extra costs of switching utilities during a move:

  • Stick with current companies when possible – Avoid all deposit fees and most other charges
  • Ask providers to waive certain connection fees if a long-term customer
  • Settle ALL past due bills to enable smooth account closings and openings
  • Have transfers aligned tightly with move-out and move-in dates to prevent paying double utilities

Forewarned means forearmed! Now let’s get into step-by-step mode for smooth utility swaps.

The Transfer Process from Start to Finish

Like coordinating movers and change of address notices, utility transfers take planning. Follow these important steps:

Make a List and Check It Twice

First, tally up all your current services – electricity, gas, cable, security systems, and so on. Scout out account details like:

  • Account numbers
  • Provider customer service contacts
  • Website/app login info (very useful!)

Store it all in one master list. Keep things ultra organized for when you phone companies repeatedly.

Size Up New Providers Welcome Letter

If changing utility companies after moving, research all options in the area first. Compare prices, reliability ratings, contract terms, and new customer incentives. Lock in the best deals you can!

Pro tip: Look for promotions like 12 12-month fixed rate or $200 to sign up.

You might also like our articles on the cost of land surveys, getting utilities on land, or locating utilities.

Notify Companies of Move 4+ Weeks Out

Most important utility transfersAbout a month before move day, alert all your current providers about no longer needing service at your old address after X date. Submit formal requests to start services at the new property address as of your arrival. This lead time allows processing on their end.

Clarify Any HOA Handling

See if your new community handles any utilities like garbage, sewer, or outdoor maintenance. Homeowners Associations (HOAs) often arrange for shared local services. That means fewer transfers you’ll have to wrangle individually.

Activate Water / Sewer Through the City

If your new home isn’t on an HOA, call the city water department to activate service in your name. Ask about fees, forms, and other setups needed so nothing slips through the cracks.

Tip: Water transfers sometimes need a few weeks’ notice too!

Pay Off Lingering Bills

Before transfer day comes, log into all your provider accounts and settle up any lingering balances. Unpaid utility bills can equal disruptions hooking things up at the new place. Protect your credit and the process by zeroing out owed amounts.

Double Check New Start Dates

Ring up all the companies again as move day nears. Verify your transfer request is properly processed for X date at the new address. Flag any weirdness or delays early so problems don’t snowball. Staying on top of everything is always important.

Request Final Meter Reads

Ask your electric, gas, and water providers to take final tallies the day the movers show up. This way your last billing cycles close out accurately for usage at the old place.

The FAQs on Utility Transfers

Still scratching your head on some utility transfer topics? Here are answers to common questions:

Can I keep power on at two places during a move?

Unfortunately not – utility companies don’t allow service at multiple addresses due to billing and infrastructure reasons. You’ll need to coordinate shut-off and turn-on dates carefully between old and new pads.

How does transferring electricity from one name to another work?

If moving into an occupied rental or purchase, call the electric company to switch billing details to your name once the lease/sale paperwork goes through. Bring your ID and be ready for credit checks or deposits possibly.

Can I transfer a utility if I have a past-due balance?

Outstanding account balances often prohibit opening or transferring service elsewhere. Settling owed amounts first is best to avoid service delays or refusals when moving somewhere new.

Does a landlord handle utility signups for rentals typically?

Renters must usually contact gas, electric, and internet companies individually to start service in their name. Water might already be included/shared in some buildings though. Check with property management on what you must handle solo.

Final Words

While paying to transfer utilities adds up quickly, smart planning keeps costs at bay. Now it’s time to budget wisely and tackle your moving checklist!

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