Switching energy supplier if you rent: what you need to know

Renting your house or flat is no barrier to saving money on your energy bills. Read on to find out more.

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If your name is on your energy bills, this means the account is in your name and you are free to shop around for a better deal.

In fact, switching energy supplier through MoneySuperMarket could save you at least £238*.

Can I switch electricity supplier if I rent my home?

The rent on most flats and houses excludes utility bills.

So it’s up to the tenants – you and anyone you share with – to find the cheapest electricity supply.

Even if you live in a property where bills are included in, or added to, the rent, you can still look for a cheaper deal and discuss switching with your landlord.

Can I change my gas supplier if I rent my home?

You can shop around for cheaper gas if you rent your home.

As with electricity, the only exception is when the landlord pays the bill and adds it to your rent.

However, you can always ask him or her to consider switching to a new supplier if you think there are savings to be made.

How long does it take to swap energy suppliers?

Your supply is not interrupted when you switch energy companies.

No work needs to be done on your home - it’s the same gas and electricity coming through the same pipes and wires, you’ll just pay less for it.

Switching should take no longer than 21 days, including a two-week “cooling-off” period during which you can cancel free of charge.

How do I change energy suppliers?

Finding a cheaper energy deal takes just a few minutes using MoneySuperMarket.

To do this, you will need:

  • Your postcode
  • A recent bill showing your supplier, your tariff, and how much energy you use**
  • Your bank details (to set up a new direct debit)
  • An up-to-date meter reading so your existing supplier can send you a final bill

Can I switch energy suppliers if I am in arrears?

You can switch energy suppliers if you have been in debt for less than 28 days.

If you have owed money for longer than that, you'll need to repay it first. 

The exception is if you have a prepayment meter, in which case you can switch as long as you owe less than £500 for gas and/or £500 for electricity.

Can I change energy suppliers if I have a smart meter?

You are free to switch energy providers if you have a smart meter.

However, not all tariffs work with smart meters. So depending on the deal you choose, your smart meter may only be able to operate as a traditional meter.

Can I change energy suppliers if I have a prepayment meter?

Having a prepayment meter does not stop you switching to either a cheaper prepayment plan or a standard deal.

There may be some upfront charges to change to a traditional meter, but prepayment tariffs are usually more expensive so you could still save money overall.

Energy tips for tenants

Before you move in:

  • Check your contract to see if you have to tell the landlord or letting agent if you switch supplier 
  • Look out for “default supplier” clauses that specify a particular energy provider. If there is one, try to get it removed***

When you move in:

  • Take a meter reading and send it to your supplier if you are paying the energy bills, or your landlord if not
  • If you are on a prepayment meter, tell your supplier as soon as you move in to avoid paying any debts run up by the last tenant
  • Use MoneySuperMarket to compare energy tariffs
  • Switch to a cheaper deal

When you move out:

  • Take a meter reading and send it to your supplier or your landlord. Otherwise you could end up paying for energy you didn’t use
  • If you are in debt to your energy supplier, contact the company. You may be able to set up a repayment plan that allows you to clear the debt over time

*51% of customers that applied to switch via MoneySuperMarket could save at least £238.25, August 2019.

**Our energy usage estimation tool can help if you don’t know this.

***Ofgem rules state “you are still entitled to switch supplier if you are responsible for paying the energy bills” even if a “default supplier” clause exists.

 

*10% of customers that applied to switch via MoneySuperMarket could save at least £302.05, November 2018.
*10% of customers that applied to switch via MoneySuperMarket could save at least £302.05, November 2018.
*10% of customers that applied to switch via MoneySuperMarket could save at least £302.05, November 2018.
*10% of customers that applied to switch via MoneySuperMarket could save at least £302.05, November 2018.

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