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.
Install utilities in the correct order
It's important to connect utilities in the right order. It may only take your electric company a few days to activate your service, but you will see a much longer delay between when you call a television/internet provider and when they actually come to set it up.
Here's what a good schedule might look like, assuming you will be moving in on the first day of the next month:
- During the first week of the month
Research utility companies and the basic services they can provide. While speaking with the customer service representative, ask about promotions that may be occurring. Many times, companies offer an incentive for new customers, especially if you're switching from a competitor. Most utility companies have websites where you can sign up for services and arrange for their connection and activation.
Ask about deposits and if you can have these waived by showing proof of good credit. If you're transferring your service with an existing company, tell the representative that you've paid your bill on time for the past year without any issues. They can verify this in the system. If you're transferring to a new company, see if you can provide a statement from your existing company to obtain the waiver.
- By the second week of the month
Compare your options and finalize which companies you will use. Ask your final choices for their exact rates and calculate how much your monthly payment will be.
Find out how upgrades may impact your bill. Have the township perform any safety inspections needed. Based on your new home, make a schematic drawing of the layout to show the following:
- Cable connections for television sets
- Location of washer and dryer
- Ethernet jacks and modem locations
- Water and sewer line, noting any areas where a new connection should be installed
- By the third week of the month
Arrange installation of television and telecommunications services, and be available for most of the installation day. Providers of these services usually give you a four to six hour window when you need to be home, but they often run behind schedule.
Once the installation date is arranged, call your electric company and ask them have your service activated two days prior. For example, if you arrange TV and telecommunications service installation for the 20th, have your electric company activate your service by the 18th at the latest. This will provide a couple days cushion, should they experience delays.
- During the last week of the month
Arrange the activation of all your other physical utilities. You may want to give physical utility companies a few extra days cushion to set everything up. That way, if they experience delays of some kind they'll still be able to connect and activate your utilities before you move in.
Finally, you should double-check all your services a few days before moving in to make sure they're ready to go.
Arrange TV, phone and internet installation before anything else
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.
TIP: Call the electric company and have them activate your service a few days before your telecommunications services will be installed.
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.
Contact physical utilities (water, gas, oil) one week in advance
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.
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.
It's always better to get things done as early as possible. Doing so gives you more time to deal with unexpected complications. Planning an efficient schedule for connecting your utilities will go a long way toward reducing the stress of your move.