3 min read
11th April 2019

How To Switch Energy Supplier If You’re A Tenant


Tenants — gas and electricity

Consumer protection law states, that you have the right to choose your own energy supplier, if you are directly responsible for paying the gas and/or electricity bills, while renting a property. The letting agency or landlord should not unreasonably prevent this.

Can the landlord dictate which gas or electricity supplier I use?

Only when directly responsible for paying for the energy bills, can the landlord choose the energy supplier.

It could include situations where the landlord:

  • Directly pays the gas/electricity supplier and then collects the money from the tenant.
  • Includes energy bills within the rent.
  • Pays the energy supplier between tenancies.

Under the tenancy agreement who is responsible for the gas and/or electricity bills (you or the landlord), should detailed.

Tips on switching energy supplier and shopping for one

Find out:

  • If there are any clauses on energy suppliers in your tenancy agreement. There may be a 'default supplier clause', where a landlord or letting agency has a preferred energy supplier set as the default supplier as part of the tenancy agreement.
  • If there is a default supplier clause in the tenancy agreement, renegotiate with the landlord or letting agency to see if you can change the clause. If you cannot change the clause but, you are responsible for paying the energy bills, you are still entitled to switch from one energy supplier to another.
  • If the landlord or letting agency of any tie-ins with specific suppliers they should notify you. They must give you the details at the outset of applicable tariffs and charges.
  • If you are required by the tenancy agreement to tell the landlord or letting agency if you switch supplier.
  • If you are required by the tenancy agreement to return the account to the original supplier, or the original meters if you have them changed, at the end of the tenancy.
  • What your meter readings are, when you start and end the tenancy. Take a reading when you move in and move out and give them to the energy supplier if you pay the energy bills or to the landlord if they do.

Some guides to help with saving on energy bills:

The information you'll need to switch

If you wish to change your energy supplier, you will need:

  • Your postcode
  • The name of current supplier
  • The energy plan you're currently on and how much it costs for the energy supply. This information can be found on a recent bill.
  • An up-to-date meter reading
  • If you wish to pay by direct debit you will have to include your bank details
  • Your Meter Point Access Number (or ‘MPAN’) and Meter Point Reference Number (or ‘MPRN’). This information can be found on a recent bill.

Smart meters & rented properties

If you solely responsible for paying for the gas or electricity in your rented property, you can choose to have a smart meter installed. But before you get one, you should tell your landlord. There may be a clause in the tenancy agreement regarding the supply of energy to the property, which may include what type of meter can be installed. If the landlord is responsible for paying the energy bills for it is down to him to decide to get a smart meter or not.

Ofgem are encouraging landlords to help their tenants benefit from the national rollout of smart meters. If the tenancy agreement insists you need the permission of the landlord to change the metering at your property, he should not unreasonably prevent it.

For more information, see Smart Meters: Your Rights .

Prepayment meters & rented properties

You should still be able to switch energy suppliers even if you have a prepayment meter with a debt of up to £500 each for gas and electricity.

If you move in to a rented property with a prepayment meter installed, make sure you inform the supplier about the new tenancy right away. This is to make sure you are paying the right rates and not repaying a former tenant's debt.

Prepayment tariffs are usually more expensive; you enquire about the different options available to you, including if you can change to a standard meter. Most suppliers offer this for free, though some may charge.

Find out more at Understand your energy meter .

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