Setting up gas and electricity for the first time

Learn how to set up gas and electricity for the first time with our handy guide. 

Welcome to your new home

With all the excitement of setting up a new home, it can be easy to forget about your energy supply. But getting it sorted is an essential job. Whether you’re renting your first home, a first-time buyer or setting up gas and electricity in a new build, there are a few things you’ll need to do. Here we explain everything you need to know about setting up your gas and electric for the first time, from finding your meter and providing your first readings to sorting out the best energy deal.

Before you move house
(if you pay the bills)

  • Let your current energy supplier know you’re moving. If that’s us, we make it easy. Just tell us your moving dates and if you want us to supply the energy to your new property
  • Read your meters on the day you move out and give them to your current energy provider. Keep a note of your readings and the dates you took them so you can check them against your final bill
  • Give your supplier a forwarding address so you can pay your final bill

Stay organised and stress free with our moving home checklist.

How to set up gas and electric in your new home

First time buyer energy checklist

1. Find your new home energy supplier

When you move into your new home, you’ll need to find out who already provides the gas and electricity. If the people who lived there before let the supplier know they were moving, you may get a letter addressed to “the Occupier” when you move in. If it’s a new build home, your housing developer should tell you who the supplier is.

If you still need help, read our guide on who is my energy supplier.

2. Find your gas and electricity meters

You'll usually find the gas and electricity meters in meter boxes outside your home. If you’ve moved into an older property they could be in a cupboard under the stairs, or in the kitchen.

3. Understand what kind of meters you have

There are two main types of meters, and you can get smart meter versions of both. That may sound confusing, so let us explain.

  • A credit meter will show numbers in a dial or digital form. That shows how much energy you’re using. With this type of meter, you’ll pay for your energy after you’ve used it. Normally you’ll pay on a monthly Direct Debit, or you’ll get a quarterly bill that you’ll need to pay.
  • A prepayment meter (also called Pay As You Go) will usually have a digital display. This will show you the remaining credit left on your meter. With this type of meter, you’ll pay for your energy before you use it. You’ll top up your meter using a gas card or electricity key at a local Payzone or Post Office. If you have a smart meter, you can top-up with your debit/credit card online>

How do I know if my new home has smart meters?

About half of UK homes have a smart meter. Smart meters make it easier to keep track how much gas and electricity you’ve used.

If your energy supplier has told you that you don’t need to send them meter readings anymore because they are receiving automated readings, then you have smart meters.

If you have prepayment smart meters, you should be able to top up your credit online. If you can’t do this, then you may not have smart meters.

If you’re still not sure, speak to your energy supplier to find out what kind of meters you have.

You can also check if you have smart meters in your home and whether they are a first generation meter called a SMETS1 or second generation called SMETS2, using the links below:

4. Give meter readings for your new home

When you move home, it’s important to read your gas and electricity meters as soon as you move in and give the readings to the current energy supplier. This makes sure you only pay for the energy you’ve used. The supplier will create a new account for you and answer any questions. If you’ve not taken readings before it can seem complicated. Learn how to read your meter.

What if I can’t read my meters?

If you’re living with health difficulties, access needs or disability and can’t get to your meter to read it, your supplier can help. They might be able to send somebody to take a reading for you.

It’s also worth asking to join your supplier’s Priority Services Register. The Priority Services Register offers extra free services, such as help if there is a power cut.

5. Understand what tariff you’re on

When the previous occupier moves out, you (as the new homeowner) will be automatically transferred 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. There are two main charges you’ll see on your bill:

  • Unit rate - the cost per kWh of gas or electricity you use
  • Standing charge – a fixed daily charge for being connected and having a meter. Learn more about standing charges.

A standard tariff has historically been the most expensive type of plan, with fixed-rate plans being cheaper. It’s worth investing some time in understanding the latest energy price news before shopping around to find the best energy deals for you.

6. Find the best energy deal

There’s lots to consider – from the best tariffs for electricity to the cheapest dual fuel deals. Learn more about how to compare energy suppliers.

We’re the UK’s leading energy provider, supplying gas and electricity to more than 8 million homes and businesses. And we’ve been around for over 200 years. Check out our gas and electricity tariffs online.

British Gas comparison. British Gas home gas and electric quotes

From flats to family houses, our gas and electricity tariffs have you covered. Check now if you could save on energy bills. Let's find the best energy tariff for you.

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First time homeowner energy saving tips

Setting up a new home is so much fun, but can be expensive, so you may be looking to save energy wherever you can to cut costs, or simply help the environment.

  • One of the simplest ways to save energy is turning your heating down by one degree from 20o C to 19o C (for example) which can cut your bills by 10%
  • Reducing the boiler flow temperature on a combi boiler to 55-60 degrees can also save up to 6% on your energy use
  • If you haven’t got them already, start saving with smart meters. Smart meters help you to monitor your energy use and make changes to help lower your bills.

Our energy saving tips guide provides lots of free ways to save energy at home. And, if you’ve got a bit set aside to spend on home improvements, you can find the best energy saving investments too.

Want to know more

Average energy bill

How does the energy you use compare to the typical UK household?

An average energy bill

Fixed or variable tariffs

Which is better? Here we explain the differences to help you decide.

Fixed vs variable tariffs

Dual fuel benefits

With your gas and electricity bills combined, you'll receive one less bill each month.

Dual fuel benefits