Several situations exist when you might need to switch a gas or electric bill into your name, including when you move into a new house, take over an apartment lease from a roommate or change your legal name through marriage or other means. The exact process for putting the bill in your name varies depending on the utility, but follows several basic steps.
The process of switching gas or electric to your name is the same for renters as it is for homeowners. Some landlords require tenants to set up service themselves, while others do it for the tenant.
Step 1: Find the Right Utility
If you just need to change your legal name, you will already know the name of your utility company. But if you are moving into a new house or apartment, you can ask the previous owners, your realtor, the landlord or a neighbor to provide you with that information.
Step 2: Contact the Utility Company
Many utility companies now allow you to make name changes or switch service into your name via an online form on its website. For example, if you currently are or will be a Duke Energy customer, you can use its online Start, Stop and Move feature to change the bill into your name. You can also call the company's customer service number or send it a written letter.
If you are already a customer of that company, you usually can log onto your online account and simply transfer service from your old residence to your new residence completely online.
Step 3: Provide Necessary Information
When you call or use the online form, be prepared to give the following information:
- The address you're switching service to, or your current address if you are just changing the name on the account
- Date you want the bill switched to your name
- Mailing address, if different from your physical address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Names of spouse or roommate you want included on the bill, if applicable
- Employment information
Some utility companies will also run a credit check.
Step 4: Pay Service Fee or Security Deposit
If you're a new customer, you might have to pay a security deposit. To cover administrative costs, some companies also charge a service fee to all customers who make a change. For example, as of publication BGE charges $20 to customers if a meter is already installed on the property and $40 if it has to install one.
It can take several days for a company to switch utilities into your name, so be sure to plan ahead and call or submit the online form as early as possible.
Lindsey Thompson began her writing career in 2001. Her work has been published in the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Member Magazine" and "The Ohio Journalist." You'll also find her work on websites like Airbnb, Chron.com, and USAToday.com. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.