Have you bought a home or are in the process, but not sure what happens after you sign on the dotted line?
You’re not the first one! We are here to teach you about what comes next, so you can handle the aftermath like a pro!
Last week, we discussed real estate lawyers, what do they do and how much they cost. If you missed this post, no worries, just click, Real Estate Lawyers. Now, get ready to learn about setting up utilities!
Today, we go over how to set up utilities, which ones need to be set up by yourself and what to expect.
Property Taxes (not really a utility, but important to know)
On closing date, the property taxes automatically get transferred into your name. Now, you either will get billed by the city, it’s usually about 3 times a year, or your lender may stipulate that you have to pay it with your monthly mortgage payments, every month. In this case, they’ll pay it on your behalf to the City.
The water account will also be automatically transferred in your name on closing day. The water bill usually comes about twice a year. It comes once at the beginning of the year, and once halfway through and you just pay it directly to the city. If you don’t pay it on time, then the amount gets transferred to your property tax account, at a fee, of course, to ensure the City gets their money!
So now, the two utilities that you do have set up are hydro, which is electricity, and gas, which is your heat. So, let’s talk about hydro first.
When you’re setting up a new account, you can do so over the phone at 416-542-8000 or you can do it online (link here). That’ll probably save you a lot more time.
Setting up a new hydro account entails a security deposit for brand new customers. That’s going to cost you around $250, which is a lot of money, especially when you close on a property.
But there are few options to avoid the security deposit:
- If you had a previous hydro account, you can get them to look up your payment history and, if you have good payment history, then they’ll waive the security deposit.
- You can send them a recent credit check showing that you have good credit and that you pay your bills on time.
- A reference letter from another utility company showing that you have good payment history may also help you avoid the security deposit.
- You can set up pre-authorized payments.
Another cool feature about Toronto Hydro is called “my Toronto hydro”. This allows you to view your bills online as well as your consumption. Moreover, it allows you to perform any moves if you happen to be moving. And, if you’re a landlord, it also allows you to look at what your tenants are consuming as well as their billing costs.
It’s a great tool, it’s online, and really user friendly. All you have to do is just come up with a username and a password.
Now moving on to gas. You’re going to need to set up a new account with Enbridge. You can do so either on the phone which is 1-877- ENBRIDGE, or you could also do it online (link here). And again that will save you lots of time.
Now, the same thing goes as with hydro. You’re going to have to give a security deposit, and that can be avoided in the same way:
- By giving a recent credit check, signing up for preauthorized payments, or giving a reference letter from a previous utility company showing good payment history.
- If you had a previous Enbridge account, you can get them to look it up and make sure that you had good payment history.
Also, be aware they will charge you a $25 account setup fee. This is a onetime fee and it will show up on your first bill.
The last thing you need to know about Enbridge gas is that, unless you specify, they will put you on what’s called the BBP. A Budget Billing Plan. This plan is actually a great option, especially if it’s your first time owning a home.
This is how the BBP works:
- Enbridge gas will charge you predictable monthly payments over the course of the year.
- Why is this helpful?
- Your bills in the summer are a lot lower since you’re consuming less gas.
- Your bills in the winter time are a lot higher. Especially, if you don’t have a high efficiency furnace, old windows or no insulation, as is this the case with older Toronto homes that have not been renovated.
- This may make it harder to budget monthly because of higher bills in the winter and lower bills in the summer.
- With the BBP, Enbridge will slowly and steadily charge you a fixed amount throughout the year to help you get through the winter months. This way, you won’t have big bills in the winter.
You don’t have to be on the BBP, but know that you do automatically get put on this program, unless you choose to opt out . And, if you do choose to opt out of it, then you are just paying for what you’re using every month.
Honestly, we think for first time home buyers it’s a great plan to be on. You can see how you’re using your gas, and make a decision on what works best for you!
That’s about it from us, and that’s all you need to know about utilities. Make sure to come back here next time when we are going to be talking about home insurance and how to set it up.
And of course if you have any questions, make sure to ask them in the comment section below!
We’ll see you back here next week.