In the UK, over a third of us rent, but that doesn’t mean we should be bound to our landlord’s default energy provider. We outline how to switch energy supplier if you’re a tenant.
In a nutshell, whoever’s name appears on the energy bill has the right to switch suppliers. As a tenant, if your name is on the statement then you’re completely at liberty to find a better energy deal in order to save money on your electricity and gas. Ofgem also issued guidance stating you have the right to switch even if a default supplier exists.
You should however let your landlord know: it’s not just a courtesy, but informing them could well be a condition of your tenancy agreement, too.
If bills are included in your monthly rent, then it’ll be your landlord’s name on the account. In turn, it’s therefore their choice who they elect as their electricity and gas supplier. But don’t be deterred; you can still shop around for a cheaper energy deal on your landlord’s behalf and discuss the option of switching providers. Although they’re not obliged to act upon it, it’s likely they’ll also want to cut down on their bills – so should at least be open to talking!
You also have the right to know specifically what your gas and electricity costs are. Legally, as a tenant you can only be charged for what you owe. Your landlord can’t up your energy costs to more than what the supplier actually bills for, and this includes asking for contributions to communal areas or administration fees. Ask your landlord for your charges, and if you believe you’re overpaying then contact the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Switching Energy If You Rent: Guide for Students
Being a student is often the first exposure to the exhilarating world of bills and rental agreements. It can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure on your rights. But here it is, plain and simple: students are tenants, and as such have the exact same rental rights when it comes to switching energy suppliers as any other renters.
We switch energy suppliers for various reasons. It could be for the environment, for customer service, or due to location. But dominating is the ever-prescient switch to save mantra: cheap energy is the trophy of new customers. And at few times are savings more impactful than in student years – so mix it up.
Often, student accommodation is rolled over from cohort to cohort, with the property having the same energy supplier for years. In general, this would place you on the supplier’s standard rate tariff as opposed to a competitive one. Switching energy supplier as a student could therefore save you hundreds a year on your energy bill.
Switching energy supplier if you rent is still possible if your energy runs off a prepayment meter. Again, as long as the bills are in your name, you are legally allowed to switch to a standard meter. Plus, for standard meters, tariffs are far more competitive so you’ll vastly increase your chances of getting a cheap energy deal this way, saving money overall.
The same goes for Smart meters. However, while Smart meters are being increasingly installed across the UK, currently not all tariffs are available on them, so do bear this in mind when you start your energy comparison search.
For both smart meters and prepayment meters, you’ll need to notify your landlord if you choose to install these and, possibly, reinstall them when you move out.
Usually, the whole process of switching suppliers doesn’t take longer than three weeks. The switch is seamless: your new supplier will contact your old supplier and sort everything for you. So don’t worry – you won’t find yourself without electricity or gas!
Switching suppliers is easy as pie, but where do you find the best energy deals? Use our energy comparison tool here at Simply Switch – we’ll scour the market to find a tariff best suited to you. You can compare energy deals based on price, duration, customer service rating and a whole host of other preferences.
When you’ve chosen your new supplier, you’ll need to gather some information. Have prepared details of the energy tariff you’ve found and your postcode (the latter’s fairly easy to gather!). You’ll also likely be asked to take a meter reading; this is important as it ensures you are billed correctly when the switch happens. If you don’t know where your meter is, ask your landlord.