One of the last things anyone wants to think about when moving is connecting utilities. When applying for rental properties, it is now common practice to use a second-party service who will make the process of connecting utilities an automatic, and much easier, process. But it is worth knowing what you are looking for, as it may save you money.
Connecting utilities: electricity
Forgot about connecting utilities such as electricity? Moving in and using the torch on your phone to see what you wrote on the side of your boxes? Ouch.
Before you move in, there are a few things you may need to consider:
- If you have built a new home, keep in mind that it can take a couple of weeks to connect your electricity. Make sure that you have an electricity meter installed before you move in. This should be completed by your builder.
- Most electricity suppliers only connect electricity on working days, so make sure you know what date you are moving in so you can ensure your electricity is connected in time. If you need to have your electricity connected on a weekend, some suppliers may charge an additional fee.
- If you live in a state where the electricity market has been deregulated, you are free to choose the retailer who supplies your electricity.
How Much Will Electricity Cost?
The cost of connecting utilities is going to depend on a number of factors:
- What type of plan you are on – green energy, non-contract and contract.
- How many people live in your household.
- When you use electricity the most – there are peak and off peak rates for electricity, if its a hot day on the weekend you may find your air conditioner pumping – it will cost you.
- What type of appliances you have in your home – check the energy rating to see how efficient your appliances are and keep this in mind when buying new appliances.
- How big your home is – if you have electric heating or cooling, the larger the house, the more energy you will use.
Connecting utilities: gas
Not all homes have gas connections. Find out whether your home needs gas for heating or for your stove top before moving in. Gas connections are one of the many things that people forget when organising their move. Here are some things to remember before you move:
- Take a final gas meter reading at your current home for your records. This will ensure that you won’t be charged for any gas that may be used by the new residents that move in after you.
- Make sure you organise your gas connection at least 7 days before you move, so you won’t be stuck with cold showers!
- If your home is new, it can take up to 20 working days to get your gas connected – make sure you have a gas meter installed before you move in.
- Most suppliers will connect gas only on weekdays; if you are moving in on a weekend, make sure you get the gas connected beforehand.
If you live in a state where the gas market has been deregulated, you are free to choose the retailer
who supplies your gas.
How Much Will Gas Cost?
The cost of your gas bill will vary depending on a number of factors.
- How big your home is – if you will be using gas to heat your home, the bigger your home is, the more gas you will need to use to heat it.
- How many people are in your household – the more people there are living in your home, the more likely your gas bill will be higher.
- What plan you are on – choose your gas plan wisely. Different companies have different rates.
- What type of appliances you own – the more energy efficient your appliances are, the less gas you are likely to use.
- How energy efficient your home is – if you have insulation then you are less likely to need as much heating as a house without insulation.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Supplier
- There are some retailers who offer discounts when you pay your bill on time – if you regularly pay your bills on time, it may pay to look at retailers who offer this discount.
- Fixed term vs. No fixed term contract – most retailers offer both fixed and no fixed term contracts.
Fixed term contracts usually offer more competitive rates, whereas no fixed term contracts have generally higher rates, due to the flexibility of the plan.
Keep in mind that it can take up to 3 weeks to connect to internet, depending on what type of internet you would like installed. There are many types of internet including ADSL, ADSL 2+ (broadband), naked DSL, wireless and cable.
Depending on where you live, you may have limited options as to what type of internet you can get connected. Cables may not be laid in all areas, therefore ruling out cable internet for some homes and there are some connections which require a phone line.
What’s the Difference?
- ADSL runs through the existing telephone line and is generally the most common as it is the easiest to connect.
- On the other hand, ADSL 2+ is available in certain areas where the local phone exchange is equipped to provide the service. ADSL 2+ can offer faster speeds than ADSL.
- Naked DSL is the same thing as ADSL, except it does not require a phone line.
- Wireless broadband is used by plugging a device into the computer’s USB drive and can be purchased through most telecommunications companies. The downfall of wireless is that the speed and connection may not be as reliable as other types of broadband.
- Cable broadband works by using the same cables as pay TV. Cable broadband is high speed internet, offering a faster service than ADSL 2+. Not all areas have cables laid; therefore cable broadband is not available to every home.
How to Know Which Plan to Choose
When choosing which type of internet is best for you, there are a few things to consider:
- What type of computer you own – some computers are not compatible with some broadband services.
- How much money you are willing to spend – cost of modems, routers, cables, set up fees. etc.
- What type of home you have – if you have a large home, ADSL2+ with a wireless router may be better so that you have access to the internet wherever you are in your home.
- Where you would like to use the internet – home, outside or both.
- What you would like to use the internet for – email and surfing or to download large files such as playing online games, downloading video or music.
- How often you use the internet – every day, once a week, or only once a month?
- How many people will be using the same connection – a faster connection would be better if there are more people using the same connection.
Internet plans differ in costs, contract length, download speed and download size limits. Consider what plan suits you best before choosing which supplier to go with.
Home Phone Connection
Connecting a phone line to your home is relatively easily. It is best to organise your phone connection at least 5 working days before your move to ensure you have a phone line before you move in. These days, however, many people rely on their mobile phones and some choose to not even have home phones.
Your telephone connection needs and costs may vary depending on your new home.
What Type of Connection Do You Need?
- Existing line – a technician does not need to visit your home for connection.
- Previous connection – a technician may need to visit your home to reconnect particular cables.
- New line connection – your home has never had a phone line and you require a technician to install cabling to your new home.
- Installation of a second line – if you need more than one phone line (for a fax machine or for internet).
There are a number of telecommunication companies for you to choose from within Australia with a number of different plans to suit your needs. Here are some things to consider when making a decision:
- How many people live in the household
- How often will you use the phone to make calls
- Will you use the phone to make domestic, mobile or overseas calls
- When do you use the phone the most
- Do you need to bundle your services – Phone, internet, mobile.
Pay TV Connection vs. Streaming Services
It can take up to two weeks to connect Pay TV. In most cases, a technician will have to visit your home to connect pay TV to your new home. Costs depend on whether the house has an existing connection for pay TV and the package your choose.
Consider alternatives to Pay TV, such as Telstra TV or Apple TV or other services that provide the means to stream on-the-go. These are fast becoming the most popular choice for households as they give you the ability to choose what you want to watch and when, rather than be at the mercy of programmers.
Change of Address Notification Service
Most people forget about letting others know that they are moving to a new address. Usually this is the last thing on your mind, as you are too busy thinking about other things. It is important to let all your current suppliers know that you are moving and where you are moving to. You don’t want bills sent to your old address and by the time they reach you, to be overdue!
Redirecting Your Mail
You don’t have time to notify each supplier before you move? Then you can set up a mail redirection through Australia Post. There are a few things to keep in mind when redirecting your mail:
- It can take up to 3 working days from the date you lodge your application for the mail redirection to begin.
- There are a number of periods you can choose your redirection to last for – 1, 3, 6, or 12 months.
- You can redirect the mail of up to 5 people on one form. If there are more than 5 people moving, simply fill out another form and attach it to the original.
- If you have both a residential postal address and a PO Box, you will need to lodge an application for both addresses.
- You will need to lodge the application in person at a post office so that they can verify you ID.