Changing your energy or water account following the death of a partner (August 2016)

There are so many battles to face following the death of a spouse or partner, that one of the last things people will often want to tackle is the updating of the account details of their household energy and water accounts if they were in their partner’s name.

This can often be more challenging than expected for a number of reasons.

Different energy retailers have different identity type requests and processes, and often request proof by way of a certified copy of a death certificate. This can be distressing and would seem unnecessary, but account security when amending customer details is an important and unavoidable priority for companies.

The position of water corporations in this situation is even more complex, as they have statutory based responsibilities rather than a contract one if you own the property. This is because responsibility for water debt differs from the responsibility for energy debt because it is linked to a property, rather than a person. This means that if the title of the property is in the name of the deceased partner, this may need to be changed before the water company can amend the account name.

However if you are living in a rental property, the relationship is contractual and may result in similar processes and requests that are made by energy retailers.

We recommend that you speak with your company as soon as you feel emotionally ready, and ask what needs to be done to make the necessary changes. Be patient and calm and make notes. If you feel that the information provided to you does not sound right, ask to speak with a manager. Don't hesitate to ask questions to clarify anything you don't understand, and if you still feel uncertain, contact us.

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