Getting Connected to a Gas Supply
What You Need to Know
- Normally getting connected to a gas supply is straightforward. The most common reason for difficulties will be where there is a history of non-payment of bills, or no proof of financial security can be provided.
- Though it is a rarer, having dangerous pipes can also mean your home can’t be connected.
- If you move into a home that has been connected previously, getting reconnected is normally free.
- Always take a meter reading before getting the gas connected when you move in to a new property. This way you can ensure you are not charged for gas used by previous occupants.
- If you’ve had financial problems in the past, you may be able to get connected with a pay as you go meter, though rates are normally steeper.
If you're moving into a new home that doesn’t already have a gas supply, you'll have to get yourself connected to the national gas supply.
This is usually very easy, but in some situations you might be denied a gas supply.
- Dangerous pipes. If the pipes in your home are in a poor or dangerous condition, they will need to be repaired before you can be connected. The responsibility for the pipes falls on the homeowner if they are inside the house; or the gas supplier's if they are outside the house as part of the mains
- Debt or disconnection. If you have been previously disconnected due to non payment you will not be able to receive a credit meter, though you should still be able to have a pre-payment meter fitted
- Financial security is unavailable. If you are a new customer and cannot provide proof of your identity or previous address, or have a poor payment record at your present or last address you might be asked to sign up to a payment plan, agree to have a pre payment meter, provide a guarantor or make a cash deposit as security
- There is no gas supply network. If you live in an area outside of the gas supply network, you won’t be able to get a gas connection
How to get a gas supply
If you're moving home, contact your chosen gas supplier and tell them the date that you would like to be connected.
If you're moving into a home that used to have a gas supply that has simply been disconnected, this should be a simple, free process. You will need to take a meter reading before your new connection is up and running though, to ensure that you don’t end up paying for the previous occupant’s gas. Keep this reading safe in case of future disputes.
If you're moving into a home that has never been connected to the gas network, you might have to pay a fee to get you up and running – which could run into hundreds of pounds.
Switching gas supplier
You can save hundreds of pounds on your energy bills by switching to a new tariff or gas supplier, as well as getting a service better suited to your needs. If you want to change gas supplier, you will need to inform both your old and new suppliers. Each provider will need an accurate meter reading for the day the supply changes over; some providers will send a meter reader to do this while others will ask you to take a reading yourself.
However if you’ve been in debt with your gas bills for more than 28 days, your new supplier might not be willing to take you on. In certain cases, if you have a small debt and use a prepayment meter, you might still be allowed to transfer to a new supplier, taking your debt with you.
There are two types of gas meter that you can have fitted; a credit meter or a pre payment meter.
- Credit meters allow you to use your gas and pay for it later – usually on a quarterly basis. These meters usually allow a greater choice of tariffs, letting you access the best rates and take advantage of special online deals, direct debit and paperless billing discounts.
- Pre payment meters on the other hand are far more rigid. They are usually set at the standard tariff rates, which is often more expensive than the rates available to credit meter customers. Your gas supply will run out if you do not regularly top up your pre payment meter. These meters are designed primarily for people who struggle to budget and pay their bills on time, and are often offered to customers who have been threatened with disconnection because of unpaid debts.
Paying the gas bill
The person who has requested the gas supply to be connected is responsible for bill payment and it is their name that will appear on the bill. You should not be asked to pay a bill if you are not named on the bill.
There are a number of ways in which you can pay your bills. They can be paid in cash, by cheque, postal order or by direct debit – though you might be able to save money by choosing to pay by direct debit. Your supplier might also give you a discount for opting out of paper bills or by taking a dual fuel tariff, where both your gas and electricity is supplied by the same provider.
- Read our guide to switching energy suppliers to see what you could save.
- Having gas is no good if your boiler doesn't work. Read our guide to boiler insurance and get covered.
- Ofgem regulate the energy industry. You can take problems to them and seek their advice.