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Switching Energy Supplier as a Tenant

Moving into a new property and unsure about switching energy supplier as a tenant? Read our guide to find out what your options are.

Last updated: 05 January 2021

Switching Energy Supplier as a Tenant
Moving into a new property, especially if it’s your first time living away from home, can be daunting with all of the bills that need to be paid. 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. This guide will take you through the steps of finding the cheapest energy deals, how you can switch, and the potential savings you can make on your energy consumption. 

Can I switch 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. 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. 

How to get a cheap energy deal

The best way to get a cheap energy deal is to figure out what sort of tariff suits you best, compare energy prices online, and match that to suppliers in your area. Figures from Ofgem estimate that there is as much as £352 in savings to be had by comparing the cheapest tariff to the standard variable tariff. With a big increase in the number of energy suppliers in recent years, there are savings to be made, you just have to find them. 

Other Ways To Save Money On Your Energy Bills

Turn Off Appliances 
Many people regularly leave appliances on standby when they’re not using them. These include TVs electric razors, and chargers. By turning them off you can save more than you think, an average of £30 a year! You can even go one step further and buy energy-efficient appliances such as lightbulbs when you have to replace them. 
Doing A Cold Wash 
Washing your clothes in cold water and drying them on the rack instead of a tumble dryer can save you a lot of money over the course of the year. Similarly, turning your heating down when it’s not needed, and shutting your doors and curtains can help to insulate your house and save money on the boiler.

To find out more about how to save money on your energy bills, read out guide on how to make your home more energy efficient.

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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