Updated: Sep 1
Here is my SE VA (Primarily Hampton Roads) utilities spreadsheet.
When to Contact Utilities When Buying
While there's no "right" answer to this question, since sometimes closings don't occur when they are supposed to, I generally recommend contacting all utility companies at least 6 business days prior to closing as long as you have been provided "clear to close" at that time and as long as there are no title issues to resolve. It's also good to have them transferring to you on the day of closing. If you don't have clear to close far in advance, it's important to at least contact the utility companies 1 day in advance, since some companies won't do same-day service as a matter of policy no matter how early in the day (i.e. 12:01 AM) you order it. If you don't do it with advanced enough notice, you could get a gap in service & additional hassle related (i.e. frozen pipes in winter w/ no heat, mold in summer if no AC, needing to be in the house for times much longer than an appointment time due to large windows provided when some utilities are turned on, etc.).
When to Contact Utilities When Selling
While there's no "right" answer to this question, since sometimes closings don't occur when they are supposed to, I generally recommend contacting all utility companies at least 6 business days prior to the buyer's closing if the buyer is already clear to close at that time and if any title issues have been remedied by then. If still waiting on title issues or clear to close, don't reach out to utilities until after those have been done as the buyer's closing date may change. It's best to have utilities turned off the business day after the buyer's closing, but if that date changes, be sure to be ready to notify the utility companies, keeping in mind that some utility companies are unable to perform same-day requests/changes.
Delay Between Utilities Contacted & Utilities Turned On or Off
Depending on the utility issuer, there could be a 5 business day delay on when they can come out, and some utilities can't be turned on without others already on.
Special Circumstances in Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, & Virginia Beach
In Portsmouth you will need to hand deliver closing statements to the city for water there on the day of closing. In light of that, it’s best to close early in the day in Portsmouth.
In Chesapeake & Suffolk it’s possible to fax closing documents in on the day of closing for your water transfer.
Virginia Beach also requires deed verification for transferring the electric. Be sure to reach out to your closing company for that.
Do You Need the Breakers Turned Off for Electric Transitioning?
You may see something about needing to turn the breakers to the off position for power, but that assumes that the power isn't already on.
Gas Often Requires Water & Electric on Prior
Local natural gas companies often state, "Electricity and water must be on and active at your premise prior to start date."
Troubleshooting the Spreadsheet
Be sure to keep in mind the ability to scroll, Zoom, the ability to select tabs within the spreadsheet at the bottom, etc. The format is on Google Sheets, so if you are using a device like a phone, it's best examined if you have Google Sheets installed previously. Typically you'll find that spreadsheets like this one are best viewed on a laptop or desktop.
Like many resources from me, this one is a work in progress with plenty of room for additional information (you'll see a number of blank spaces, especially in areas where my coverage is limited), more cities/counties added, etc. In the event that you ever see an error or would like to add to this spreadsheet on a minor level, please contact me as well. In the event that you would like collaborative access to edit this spreadsheet for more than just a few improvements/additions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org & please provide a sampling of 10 improvements/additions that you'd make if given direct access to do so. Please also provide a 72 hr time frame when you'd like sharing privileges. In the event that anyone does do more than 10 edits/additions, I plan to provide their names below along with their company name & city/town if provided to me.
Typically the most accurate information will be on utility and government websites, though I've seen where government websites can be off with information at times where calling the municipality can be superior in terms of accuracy in some cases (& inferior in others).
Thanks to Chuck Dunlap
Special thanks to Chuck Dunlap, principal broker at Garrett Realty Partners, for his buyer's guide that was the baseline of this spreadsheet when I was a new agent, with many additions from me on top of his work since then. While I have many other spreadsheets that I've created and added to over time, most of which are not prominent on this website if visible publicly at all, this blog is my first that I'm dedicating a blog to.
Here are a few examples of some of the resources hyperlinked within the spreadsheet: