Tenants have plenty of extra outgoings to worry about every month, besides the actual rent, and one of the most significant is likely to be your energy bill.
However, many tenants are apparently in the dark about whether they can move energy suppliers and switch to a cheaper deal.
Can I change my energy deals?
A recent study by energy switching service Migrate found that around one in ten tenants had been told by their landlord that they were not entitled to switch energy providers, while another tenth were told they were not allowed to have a smart meter installed.
The research found that even if the tenant hadn’t been told they explicitly could not switch deals, two-thirds thought that this was something out of their hands as renters.
However, this may not actually be accurate. Many tenants are entitled to switch the energy supplier for the property, even if they don’t own the house themselves.
Whose name is on the bill?
It all comes down to who is registered as the customer with the energy supplier.
If the bills come in addressed to you as the tenant, then you have the right to switch between energy deals and suppliers.
You should check your tenancy agreement to see if your landlord has named a ‘preferred supplier’ in there. This won’t stop you from switching, but it may mean that when the tenancy comes to an end, you need to move back to that named supplier.
Before you switch suppliers, it is a good idea to notify your landlord too.
If you don’t get an energy bill, and instead pay your landlord directly for your energy use, then you don’t have the right to switch energy deals on the property. Nonetheless, if you think you are paying too much, then you can suggest moving to a new deal to your landlord.
Is it really worth switching?
Unfortunately in the UK many of us are pretty apathetic about shopping around for energy deals.
That’s why the government felt it had to introduce an energy price cap, to limit the amount that suppliers can charge customers who are on standard variable tariffs. These are the energy deals that you move onto at the end of a fixed or variable deal and are the most costly around, yet as many as 11 million households are currently on one of these awful deals.
Moving from a standard variable tariff to a competitive fixed rate deal will save a typical energy user around £200 a year, so it’s definitely worth doing.
You can shop around yourself using a price comparison site, or sign up one of the various automatic switching services to handle it for you. Whenever a new deal comes up that would save you money, these sites then move you over, ensuring you never end up on a standard tariff and pay more than you need to for your energy.
Simple energy saving tips
Of course, switching supplier is just one way that renters can save money on their energy bills. There are plenty of small behavioural changes that you can make which will make a real difference to the size of your bill.
For example, according to the Energy Saving Trust if you ensure that your electrical gadgets are turned off completely when you aren’t using them, rather than leaving them on standby, then you’ll save around £30 a year.
Similarly, the trust reckons that turning the thermostat in your home down by just one degree would produce savings of around £80 a year.
Other simple money saving hacks include switching to LED bulbs, turning off lights when you leave the room, spending less time in the shower and ensuring the property is properly insulated.