|Connecting utilities may seem simple enough, but there is a lot to consider. You'll be dealing with different companies that work on different schedules, so you'll need to make sure you have everything planned out in advance. Doing this will limit the unexpected and reduce the potential stress involved with missed installation appointments, forgotten services, or other problems that crop up. It will also help ensure that all your utilities are up and running by the time you take up residence in your new home.
Physical utilities (water, gas and electricity)
It usually only takes a physical utility company a few days to activate service and make all the appropriate connections to your new home, but the earlier you notify them of your expected move-in date, the better. With less notice, there's a greater chance the company won't get to you because of an overbooked schedule.
Physical utilities, such as water and electricity, are most often provided by local companies. Depending on where your new home is, you may or may not have a choice of services. Check online, a phone book, or ask a neighbor to see which service providers are available to you, and from there make your selections.
TV, phone and internet services
There are many choices when it comes to TV, phone, and internet service. For example, you may need to consider whether you want standard or high definition TV or satellite or cable for TV and Internet. You'll also need to decide what kind of calling plan you need or if you even need one.
Most major providers offer service bundles that can sometimes save you money. "Bundling" allows you to consolidate your utilities into one bill and also simplifies things by allowing you to deal with just one company.
Figure out which service providers will best suit your needs by researching online or asking friends and neighbors. You will be required to be present for the installation of your TV, phone and Internet services and may take up to four hours (or possibly more). It also often takes about a week for an installer to actually come to your home, so plan accordingly.
If available to you, the Internet is a useful tool for selecting a utility service, arranging installation, and managing your account. Most utility companies have websites where you can sign up for services, and arrange for their connection and activation.
TIP: You should be able to find a listing of your local utility providers on your state's board of public utilities website.
If you don't have access to the Internet, there's no need to worry. You can do all of the things above with a phone call.
When to connect the utilities
In addition to finding the best utility service providers and service options for you, it's important to make sure you connect utilities in the right order. For example, your electricity will need to be turned on prior to installation of electronic utilities like TV and Internet.
As stated above, it may only take your electric company a few days to activate your service, but it can be a much longer delay between when you call to have your TV and Internet service installation set up and when they actually come to do it.
Your best bet is to arrange TV, Internet, and/or phone service installation 2-3 weeks in advance. Then, call your selected electric company and have them activate your service a few days before your TV and Internet services will be installed.
Contact your other physical utility companies at least a week in advance (the more notice the better) to provide them a date by which you want your service connected and activated.
TIP: For an example of an efficient connection schedule, check out our guide, "Efficient Connection Schedules."