Starting & Stopping Utility Services in San Diego

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One sometimes overlooked step in real estate transactions is starting and stopping (or transferring) your San Diego utilities. While some sellers sometimes elect to discontinue non-essential utilities like cable or satellite service beforehand, it is generally advisable to leave essential utilities like electric/gas and water service in place until the close of escrow.

Aside from basic safety and courtesy, these San Diego utilities are typically needed for a thorough home inspection, which the buyer will likely conduct during their due diligence phase of the escrow period. Functional lighting and plumbing can be an important part of that process, and it’s contractually required in the current California Residential Purchase Agreement.

If a property is being fumigated for termites, the pest control company will schedule with the utility to have the gas service shut off for the fumigation. After the fumigation, the prior or new homeowner will need to schedule the gas service restoration. The utility company will require the prior or new owner to be present when gas is restored to provide access to the property.

While we’re on the topic of continuing services, it’s also vital that sellers maintain appropriate insurance coverage on their property while their home is on the market and in escrow. That is not an area you want to pinch pennies, as doing so can come back to haunt you in potentially catastrophic ways. Buyers should similarly make sure appropriate insurance coverage is in place for when they close escrow.

I am sometimes asked my opinion about earthquake insurance here in San Diego. Earthquake insurance is NOT part of a typical homeowner’s insurance policy and is usually secured through supplemental coverage purchased through the California Earthquake Authority (or CEA). These policies often have high deductibles and tend to protect from catastrophic rather than minor earthquake damage. I purchase this insurance for my family and believe it is worthwhile peace of mind in the event of severe earthquake damage to our home. I would recommend contacting the CEA and discussing with your insurance professional to determine if it makes sense for you to purchase earthquake insurance.

The following are some very useful San Diego utility contacts, whether you’re a seller about to close escrow and needs to stop or transfer your utility services or a buyer looking to establish utility service before moving in.

Electric / Gas Service

San Diego Gas & Electric

Files Containing Utility Bills

San Diego City Water & Sewer Service

San Diego City Customer Care

San Diego Trash and Recycling Collection

The City of San Diego Environmental Services provides trash collection to most residences within the city. To find your address’s collection days and schedule, visit the Environmental Services Department Collection Services Search. If you have purchased and are moving into a home that already has trash service from the city of San Diego, you do not need to establish service or set up an account.

Trash and Recycling containers provided by the city must stay with a property when sold. If you have questions about missing, damaged, or additional containers, visit the City’s Container Information Page.

Other San Diego Garbage collection resources include:

Waste Management

Allied Waste Services

Cable TV, High-Speed Internet, etc.

These services tend to be divided geographically. The links below can help you decipher what company serves your address. The primary companies serving most of San Diego are listed below, along with their contact information.

Cox Communications

Spectrum (Formerly Time Warner)


Satellite TV / Internet



If you have a landline telephone service in place or are looking to add one to a property you are moving into, you will most likely be contacting either an Internet service provider, or mostly likely a major telecom that provides landline service in your area (typically AT&T). Their phone is 877-712-4446.

The San Diego cable company providers noted above typically offer phone service as well.

If you are attempting to bring a phone number to your new address, keep in mind that the process can sometimes be challenging and time-consuming. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “If you’re switching service providers and remaining in the same geographic area, you can keep your existing phone number. This process – often called phone number porting – can be done between wireline, IP, and wireless providers.” For more tips and information, visit the FCC’s porting information page.

Water Service

If you are unsure what water district applies to your address, you can use this online water district lookup tool.

San Diego Water Department

Carlsbad Municipal Water District

Del Mar Water Department

Encinitas (San Dieguito Water District)

Leucadia County Water District

Mt Helix Water District

Olivenhain Water District

Solana Beach / Olivenhain (Olivenhain Water District)

Vallecitos Water Department

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About Marc Lyman

Marc Lyman gets results and his proven track record and client reviews leave little doubt. Marc grew up in Silicon Valley and graduated from UC San Diego in 1995 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Psychology. Marc is known for his exemplary marketing, uncompromising ethics, and professionalism. His proactive approach helps ensure smooth transactions, with your interests always first and foremost. Marc's tenacious attitude, strong background in deal-making, and seasoned negotiation skills are tempered with a strategic, personable, and diplomatic approach. Contact Marc to facilitate your real estate success!