Utilities

  • Once you are settled in your new home you will need to think about the following utilities

    Television

    A licence is needed if you are watching or recording television programmes at the same time as they are being shown on TV. This is true no matter what device you’re watching on (including TV sets, laptops, mobile phones) and no matter how you’re receiving the programmes (including terrestrial, satellite, cable or digital television channels). Anyone without a valid TV Licence who watches or records television programmes as described above risks prosecution and a fine.

    Electricity and gas

    Check with your landlord or estate agent to find out who the current gas and electricity providers are. If you decide to use the same providers, you will have to open an account in your name. You might also want to shop around for the best deals. Read the meters the day you move in and make a note of the readings.

    If you decide to change electricity or gas suppliers, you'll need to agree a contract with the new supplier, and give 28 days' notice to your existing supplier. Most contracts are rolling contracts, which means you'll continue to be supplied until you decide to cancel the contract. The supplier has the right to increase prices, but must tell you of any increase within 10 days. Generally, if you want to change to a cheaper supplier you can do so without penalty, but you should check the exact contract terms.

    Your electric and gas bills will arrive quarterly, and can be paid by direct debit (See below).

    Water rates

    There are two ways that you can be charged for your water supply depending on whether your property is metered or unmetered.

    If you have a water meter, you will only pay for the units of water you actually use and readings are taken from your meter every 6 months. On your metered bill you will usually see the charges under 'Water supply' which are charged per cubic metre (220 gallons) of usage. You will also pay a standing charge to cover meter reading and billing services, this is usually a fixed amount each year.

    If you do not have a meter you will pay a set rate for your water based on the rateable value (RV) of your home in England and Wales. These rates also include a standing charge to cover customer services such as billing.

    If you are renting your property the landlord is normally responsible for paying the water. 

    Council tax

    Council tax is a system of local taxation collected by local authorities. It is a tax on domestic property. Generally, the bigger the property is, the more tax will be charged. Council tax bills should be sent out in April. You have the right to pay by 10 monthly instalments. Local authorities may accept weekly or fortnightly payments. Some may also offer a reduction in the total bill if it is paid all at once, at the beginning of the year.

    Find out more and see which Council Tax Band you will come under.

    Home telephone

    Check with your landlord or estate agent to find out who the current supplier is. If you decide to use the same providers, you will have to open an account in your name.

    Competition in the telecoms market means that you can choose from a wide range of companies to provide you with a phone service at home.

    Different companies will offer different prices for line rental and calls and for extra services. By shopping around and comparing prices and service standards, you may be able to get a deal that is best for you. You should look at prices for the kinds of calls you usually make and think how important other factors are to you.

    For further information please see the Ofcom website.

    Mobile phones

    Mobile phones are readily available in the UK and there are many shops in Oxford where you can purchase these, even big supermarkets sell them. If you are unsure which mobile phone or “tariff” will suit you best you can get advice on the best deals in store or visit the websites for the various networks such as  O2Vodafone and EE. If you have an existing mobile phone with a provider that is available in the UK you should contact them and see what you need to do in order for your phone to work whilst you are here.

    Internet

    See  Cable.co.uk for free and impartial advice. Cable.co.uk's price comparison calculator is approved and accredited by Ofcom which means when you compare prices on the site, you are always receiving impartial, up-to-date and comprehensive information.