A bit like when you move from apartment to apartment, for the utility, you get a read out of the meter when you move in.... HOWEVER, in this case, the timing would be when the previous owners move out or when you purchase the property (whichever is the later date). Do the same thing for water and gas (if present or metered)
Then you can either turn off the main breaker so nothing uses power, or if it is freezing outside, leave the breaker on for heating, but set the thermostat to 10-15 degrees above the freezing point. (Turn off the water heater though.)
Turn off the water main valve as well, for precautions in case a pipe still ends up freezing.
The utility company wouldn't come and cut off power and turn it back on for free. It would be cheaper to just pay the daily subscription fee + whatever little power is used for the heating during your absence.
When you move in, just turn back on the breakers (or the heat up).
Others might give their input regarding the water heater, since I know water heaters need to be set to a minimal temperature otherwise bacterias can grow. However I don't know if those bacterias would grow if the water heater is completely off (Because it's not warm enough for growth).
I think the most important part is to make sure the previous owners leave the house no more than a couple of days after the purchase. Don't let them squat for weeks just because you don't need the house yet.