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Switching energy supplier as a tenant

Switching energy supplier as a tenant

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Last updated: 08 April 2021

Changing energy supply when moving house can be daunting, more so if you are a tenant. Typically, when you move in you’ll be put on the most expensive tariff called the Standard Variable Tariff. Generally, you will be able to change this if you pay for your own bills and you don’t have to ask permission from your landlord. 

Can I change energy supplier if I’m a tenant?

Yes, you can switch energy supplier if you’re a tenant. Although many choose not to, meaning they are usually on the supplier’s standard tariff when they start their tenancy. This is often more expensive and it can therefore be beneficial to switch. It’s important to note that you can only do this if you pay the supplier directly, if your landlord pays the energy supplier on your behalf then you cannot, you can only ask them to switch for you.  

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Do I need permission from my landlord?

When you get your tenancy agreement, you should check to see whether there is a preferred energy supplier already included in the contract; you might be part of a collective, which will make it difficult to change supplier! If bills are included (essentially the landlord pays your bills for you), you can ask them to switch but they don’t legally have to. If you can’t remove this clause, you are still allowed to change your supplier if you pay for your energy directly, according to consumer protection law. 

What if I’m on a prepayment meter?

Even if you are on a prepayment meter you will generally be able to switch supplier. Additionally, the landlord cannot stop you from replacing a prepayment meter with a standard credit meter, and you don’t need to ask for their permission. It’s advisable to inform your landlord as this is an alteration to the property that they will need to be aware of. If you get behind on your payments, your energy supplier might want to install a prepayment meter themselves. Again, the landlord does not need to be consulted. 

Can I get a smart meter?

Yes, if you live in a rented property you can still get a smart meter if you pay for your bills yourself. You should check your tenancy agreement as it might include restrictions to changing your meter or asking you to request permission before doing so. Even if you don’t have to ask permission it might be a good idea to inform your landlord before you install a smart meter. It’s important to bear in mind that smart meters do not currently offer incredible savings and can be ineffective if you have a poor connection to the Smart Meter Wide Area Network. 
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Michael Quinn

Author: Michael Quinn

Michael is a dedicated author helping usave to write guides, blogs and news for the last four years. When not writing articles, you can usually find him at wine tasting events or having a political debate on the night tube.

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