A guide to first time electricity connections for new home builds

by | Sep 29, 2023 | Uncategorized

Few things say modern living like having electricity. When you’re building your new home, organising an electricity connection is a vital step. But what’s involved and what do you need to be aware of? Let’s get the sparks flying with our guide to first-time electricity connections for new home builds.

What are the different electricity providers I can choose from?

First, we should make clear there is a difference between energy retailers and energy providers.

The two companies that provide electricity in Queensland are Energex and Ergon Energy. Where you’re building will make a huge difference as to which of these providers you’ll end up working with. An energy retailer is the company with whom you’ll organise your energy plan and pay your bills. There are over 20 privately owned electricity retailers in QLD including:

  • AGL.
  • Alinta Energy.
  • CovaU.
  • Discover Energy.
  • GloBird Energy.
  • Origin Energy.
  • Red Energy.
  • Dodo Energy

How to connect electricity to my new home?

Setting up your electricity connection is a process that will require a few steps on your part. Though it’s a relatively simple procedure once you know what you’re doing, it’s important to tick all the boxes. So, here is a step-by-step guide to connecting electricity to your new home.

Step 1: Determine your electricity needs

The first step is determining exactly what your electricity needs are. Are you away most of the day or do you work from home? Is it just you or your entire family? Do you have alternative energy sources or power suppliers like natural gas, LPG, solar panels or anything that will decrease your electricity needs? Are you looking for energy connections for your forever home or for a future rental property?

Once you’ve gotten an idea of your needs, you can start researching energy providers in your area.

Step 2: Check which electricity providers are available in your area

Electricity providers will have certain districts that they provide for so make sure you limit your search to businesses in the area you’re moving to. This is especially true if you like your current energy provider as they may not be available in your new area.

If you like your current energy plan and your current provider is available at your new address, you may be able to move this deal across to your new home. This is something you’ll need to discuss with your provider.

Step 3: Talk to your builder about getting connected to electricity

Your builder will most likely need to set up a service line to provide electricity throughout the build. If for some reason they haven’t, they should be able to help you organise an electrician to do this for you.

Step 4: Get quotes from preferred electricity providers

Like most things in building, it never hurts to talk to at least three different providers and get a quote from each. This allows you to compare plans and prices and figure out the best deal for you.

Moving house is an ideal time to change energy plans or retailers if you find something better. This fresh start gives you an opportunity to really look at your energy plan and see if you could potentially save money.

Step 5: Choose an electricity plan with your chosen provider & schedule an installation date

Talk to your energy retailer about the best plan they can offer you. It’s always worth investigating whether you’re eligible for any concessions or rebates. Once you’ve chosen a plan, you’ll need to schedule an installation date. Ideally, your power will be up and running before you move into your home.

What’s a reference price?

A reference price is a cost set by the Australian Government which is the maximum amount a customer should expect to pay for electricity if they use an average amount of electricity. Your energy company shouldn’t charge more than the reference price, but it’s a good idea to see how much below it they’re willing to go. When they make an offer, it must be clear what percentage it is in comparison to the reference price.

Step 6: Talk to your builder about having an electricity meter box installed

An electricity meter is a legal requirement to keep track of your energy usage. Nowadays, electric meters are digital and referred to as smart meters. Smart meter installation can only be installed by a qualified builder, electrician or electrical contractor. Your electricity provider should assist in installing your meter.

Step 7: Have a qualified electrician inspect your new build

Electricity is something we rely on, but it can be incredibly dangerous when incorrectly installed. A qualified electrician should inspect your build and any wiring to ensure it is up to code.

Step 8: Obtain necessary permits

Your builder should be able to help you obtain any necessary approvals or permits throughout your build. All these regulations are outlined in the National Building and Construction Code.

Step 9: Finalise the connection of electricity

It’s best to err on the side of caution and organise to have your new connection sorted by the time you move in. Most electricity retailers offer same-day connections on business days, however, if you’re having a metre installed, it can add another ten days to the process. A same-day connection can sometimes be done on the weekend, however, there’s likely to be an additional fee.

Step 10: Talk to your builder about implementing energy-efficient practices in your new home

Once you’ve organised the best electricity connection for you, you’ll want to take steps to ensure you are using energy wisely.

Just some of the steps you can take to make your home more efficient include:

  • Using a home design that makes the most of natural light
  • Install energy-efficient lights
  • Insulate your walls, floors and ceiling
  • Buy an energy-efficient hot water heater
  • Consider solar panels.
  • Purchase appliances that are energy-efficient

Remember, you need to consider both short and long-term costs when making some of these decisions. For example, a cheaper hot water system may have much higher running costs than a unit with higher initial costs, and therefore, the former will actually cost more over the years.

How much does it cost to have electricity connected to my new home?

Sometimes, you’ll be required to pay a fee for your electricity connection. Luckily, this is usually a reasonable amount of around $10-$50, depending on your provider and where you’re located. Be aware that we’ve heard of some providers charging as high as $100.

Useful tips for when you move

When should I have electricity disconnected from my old house?

Once you’ve told your electricity supplier that you’re moving and have organised a date, the rest is up to them. Most people choose to have their electricity cut off the day after they leave their homes. If you receive your electricity bills by mail, you’ll need to provide your retailer with your new address.

Do I need to be home when the retailer connects my electricity?

Moving house is a hectic time where it can feel like you’ve got ten things going on at once. Luckily, in most situations, someone can turn on your electricity without you having to be present. Discuss this with your electrician or electricity supplier to be sure.

What details do I need to be wary of when checking a new energy plan

Beyond rates and how you will be charged, it’s worth looking into whether you get discounts based on how you pay your bills. Directly paying from your bank account is often a cheaper option than using a credit card. It’s also important to know how late fees work and how flexible your company is with when you pay.

Are there any electricity safety regulations I need to be aware of?

All electrical work needs to be performed by a qualified electrician and must meet government standards and national building code guidelines. Performing electrical work yourself, if you’re not registered to do so, is not only illegal but incredibly dangerous for you and your family.

General safety tips

While these aren’t all necessarily laws, the following are some tips for improving the safety of your electrical devices:

  • Ensure all cords aren’t damaged.
  • Make sure appliances are correctly installed according to regulations and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Don’t overload power points
  • Keep electricity connections and devices away from water
  • Install a safety switch to help avoid any injuries.

Get free advice from an experienced building broker


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