Switching energy suppliers while you rent

Light bulb and post-it notes for utility billsAlongside your rental payments, your collective utility bills are likely to be one of your largest regular monthly outgoings. If you’re a tenant who covers all of these bills, you should find it straight-forward enough to switch utility suppliers if you can find a better deal elsewhere.

Many tenants believe they are stuck with the energy company who are already supplying the property, but this is a common misconception. Consumer protection law gives tenants the right to shop around, compare different tariffs and choose a supplier of their choice, so long as they are the ones paying the bills.

There has been a lot of talk this year about energy prices rising and how many energy suppliers are struggling to cope. So much so, a lot of people are being automatically transferred to a new energy supplier via Ofgem, Great Britain’s energy regulator, as their current one ceases to operate. This will no doubt leave many tenants and homeowners alike searching energy deals to see if they can get better value elsewhere.

Learn: Get some advice on paying utility bills.

How does a tenant switch to a cheaper energy supplier?

These days, switching energy supplier is very simple and can often be done entirely online with minimum fuss. You will have to provide a few details through an online application, but after this the majority of the switch is then sorted out between the two energy suppliers.

Energy tariffs can be compared though price comparison sites, allowing you to see all options that are available to you and your rental property. You’ll need to know your energy usage to obtain accurate prices, so ask your current supplier for this information. Many energy companies now use apps that clearly states all of this information.

To apply for an energy supplier switch you will need the following information:

  • Name of existing energy supplier
  • Name of current energy tariff/deal
  • Postcode of the property
  • Bank details of the bill payer if paying by direct debit
  • Your Meter Point Access Number (MPAN) and Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN)
  • Up to date meter reading

It should be mentioned that swapping energy suppliers could incur a cancellation fee if you’re in a fixed agreement, though this is usually a fairly small amount. Even still, you’ll have to crunch some numbers to make sure the switch makes sense if you’re looking to switch for financial reasons. If you’re in arrears with your current supplier, that debt will have to be settled and all payments up to date before any switch can take place.

Learn: How to split utility bills fairly with your housemates.

Do I have to tell my landlord if I switch energy suppliers?

It depends on your tenancy agreement, but either way, even if you’re not obliged to inform your landlord it’s always good to show the courtesy of doing so as this will ensure they are fully aware of all current suppliers to the property, which will make things a lot easier for them should you eventually move out.

If the agreement states that you are obliged to do so, or that you’re required to gain their consent beforehand, then of course let them know before you apply for any switch but be sure that the landlord cannot unreasonably withhold or delay providing their consent.

Can I still switch energy suppliers if my landlord pays the bills?

If you’re a tenant who is lucky enough to have bills included, as is the case for many student tenants, then you won’t be able to switch energy suppliers as everything will be in your landlord’s name.

Despite this, you could still ask your landlord if they would be prepared to switch energy suppliers should they find a preferred eco-friendly energy provider or a cheaper alternative with a better priced tariff - a saving that could potentially be passed onto you with slightly lower rent.

Here at CPS Homes, we’re proud to be Cardiff’s largest lettings and estate agent, with unrivalled knowledge of the entire city. If you’re looking for a new rental home, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to see how we can help. Call our expert lettings team today by calling 02920 668585, e-mail enquiries@cpshomes.co.uk or pop into one of our three Cardiff branches.

17 November 2021


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