Ben Brading 5 min read

Dealing with business utilities when moving premises

As businesses evolve, the need often arises to move premises, whether for upscaling, downscaling, or adopting a hybrid working model. But what happens to your business utilities?

We’ve prepared a straightforward checklist to help you avoid overpaying for energy and water during the transition between properties.

Moving business premises | business utilities checklist

Our business utilities experts outline the key actions for arranging your business utilities, at different parts of the move process:

When you have a fixed move date secured

✅ Inform your business water supplier once you have a fixed move-out date. Your supplier will likely have a moving-out form on their website. You will typically need to provide proof of the move.

✅ Choose between:

i. Relocating with your current business energy supplier, or
ii. Arranging a new business energy contract.

✅ Regardless of the choice above, inform your business energy and gas suppliers that you are moving out. You will typically need to provide proof of the move.

💡 We recommend giving your suppliers as much notice as possible about your move, ideally more than four weeks.

Move out date

✅ Take a final water meter reading with a photograph. Some properties may not have a water meter. If this is the case, your bill’s business water rates will be calculated using either assessed consumption or a rateable value.

✅ Take an electricity meter reading with a photograph. Even if you have a smart energy meter or a half-hourly meter that automatically transmits readings, we still recommend taking manual meter readings.

✅ Take a gas meter reading and photograph it.

✅ Ensure that all taps, electrical devices, and boilers are turned off when you leave the property.

On the date you move in date

✅ Take a water meter reading and photograph it. For guidance on locating your meter, refer to our full guide to the business water meter. We recommend taking this meter reading even if your new property is equipped with a smart water meter.

✅ Take readings of your business energy meters with photographs. If your new property has both gas and electricity connections, you will have separate meters for each. Locate these meters and take a manual reading of each.

After your move date

✅ If you have arranged a new business energy contract, we recommend comparing business energy prices as soon as you’ve moved into your new property. Default rates for business electricity prices and commercial gas rates can be very expensive.

✅ You’ll start paying for water with a default business water tariff, a type of deemed contract. When you receive your first bill, use the details on the bill and our business water comparison service to find a cheaper fixed water contract.

✅ Settle your final business water bill and business energy bills. Your old suppliers will issue a final bill using your last meter readings, covering up to your move date.

Change in tenancy rules for business utilities

Typically, business energy contracts and commercial water tariffs are fixed-term agreements lasting between 1 and 3 years. These utilities are linked to specific supply points (MPAN/MPRN/SPID) and cannot be transferred between commercial properties.

However, regulators (Ofgem and Ofwat) permit the cancellation of your current tariffs without incurring any exit fees when moving out of a property under what is known as a ‘change in tenancy’.

For your water, electricity, and gas supplies, it is crucial to inform your suppliers that your business is relocating as soon as you have a confirmed move-out date.

You must provide a change in tenancy notice to your water supplier, business gas supplier, and business energy supplier separately. Here is the information typically required:

Proof of change in tenancy

Change in tenancy rules allow companies to terminate expensive fixed contracts early without incurring exit fees.

Because of this, most suppliers will require proof of a change in tenancy. Typically, suppliers may request one or more of the following documents:

  • Tenancy agreement
  • Lease agreement
  • Completion statement
  • License to trade agreement
  • Letter from estate agents/letting agents (on company-headed paper)
  • Letter from your landlord (on company-headed paper)

Change in tenancy form

Most suppliers’ websites feature a change in tenancy form, which typically requires the following information:

  • Your customer reference number
  • Supply point ID (SPID/MPRN/MPAN)
  • Current business address and postcode
  • Your move-out date
  • New business address and postcode
  • The landlord’s details (if applicable)
  • Company name
  • Company registration number
  • New occupier’s full name
  • New occupier’s email address
  • New occupier’s phone number

Relocating with your current business energy supplier

When you initiate the change in tenancy process, your current business energy supplier will likely offer to supply your new property.

Choosing to relocate with your existing supplier has a significant administrative advantage, as a designated team will handle all arrangements related to your business energy requirements during the move.

Your supplier will typically offer fixed rates for all gas and electricity supply points at your new location. These rates will be influenced by the current state of the energy market and are usually different from your previous rates.

Although relocating involves less administrative hassle, we recommend using a comparison service for business electricity and gas to ensure competitive rates.

Arranging a new business energy contract

To avoid paying unnecessarily high rates, it’s crucial to negotiate a new business energy contract as soon as possible. Although it’s typically not feasible to finalise a new business energy contract before moving into a new property, you can begin making arrangements beforehand.

We recommend using our electricity and business gas comparison services to compare rates across the market. Start this process one to two weeks before your scheduled move-in date.

Should you decide to proceed with one of our quotes, our experts will handle all the paperwork on your behalf, ensuring a seamless transition to more affordable energy rates.

Here’s our complete guide to switching business energy suppliers for a detailed understanding.

Business premises relocation utilities FAQs

Our team of business utilities experts addresses commonly asked questions about relocating business premises.

What do I do if the water supply has been disconnected?

A water supplier may disconnect a property if it has been vacant for an extended period or if there are outstanding bills.

If you arrive at your new property and find the water connection disconnected, you should:

  • Locate the property’s water meter and note the meter number.
  • Enquire with the previous occupier or use our who is my business water supplier service to identify your business water supplier.
  • Contact the supplier, provide your address and meter number, and request reconnection.

Please be aware that reconnection may incur a charge.

💡 For temporary water supply options, please visit our page on business water interruption.

What if the electricity and gas supply is disconnected when I move in?

If your new property has been vacant for a while or the previous occupant failed to pay the bills, the energy supplier may have disconnected the electricity or gas supply.

In such cases, follow these steps to get reconnected:

  • Identify the property’s current supplier. Visit the Energy Network Association website to find out who your electricity and gas network operators are.
  • Contact these network operators to obtain the details of your business energy supplier.
  • Request that your business energy supplier reconnect the property to the grid.

Please note that reconnection may incur a charge, which is necessary to restore your electricity and gas supplies.

What if my new property doesn’t have a water supply?

New properties may not be connected to the local water network. Establishing a water supply typically involves laying new water pipes and sewer pipes to your property.

For detailed guidance on arranging a new water supply, please refer to our comprehensive guide to business water connections.

What if my new property isn’t connected to the grid?

A distribution network operator usually can provide an electricity supply if your new commercial property is near existing electrical infrastructure.

For a detailed explanation of establishing a new grid connection, refer to our full guide on arranging a new business energy connection for your property.

💡 Additionally, consider the many renewable business energy options that allow companies to generate electricity and potentially go off-grid.

Who’s responsible for energy bills in my new business premises?

It is crucial to clarify who is responsible for energy bills when signing a lease for a new commercial property.

Do not assume that your landlord will cover these costs. Instead, carefully review your tenancy agreement to understand the responsibilities for business utilities.

If this information needs to be clarified, discuss it directly with your landlord to ensure mutual understanding. If you are responsible for the energy bills, you can start by using our business energy comparison tool to compare the latest energy rates.

In some cases, if your landlord manages the energy, they may include your energy costs in your rent bills.

Will I need new meters when moving business premises?

No, you will not need to relocate your existing meters when moving business premises. Each property has its own set of meters for gas, electricity, and water.

If you discover that a meter is not functioning properly, we recommend contacting your supplier immediately. They will arrange for an engineer to replace the broken meter.

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