When you move into a rented flat or house, you will probably responsible for the energy bills. Learn more about what to do when you decide to move, what happens if you’re in a contract, and the different types of meters you may encounter in your rental.
What to do When You Move into a Rental Home
When you move into a rented property and you are renting the full property you will probably be responsible for the energy bills, as such you should be able to choose which energy supplier you want.
When you move in the energy supply will already be set up with one or two energy suppliers depending on whether gas and electricity are supplied by the same company. When you move in you will become responsible for any energy consumed.
When an energy account is closed a new account is set up for that address on a standard tariff which is an expensive tariff that if you do not switch from it could cost you up to £300 extra per year on average.
So, when you move into a new home you should:
- Contact the current energy supplier and give them your details to set up the account fully as well as the opening meter readings and the date you moved in. You should also decide whether to stay with that energy supplier or switch to another supplier.
- If you switch suppliers, you should still contact the current supplier so that they can bill you for the energy you use before the switch takes place.
- If you do not switch energy suppliers, you should make sure that the energy supplier put you on the best tariff available.
How Do You Find Out Who the Energy Supplier is?
If you do not know who your energy suppliers are, and you do not have any letters addressed to the homeowner or bill payer from an energy supplier, then you can contact the following providers to find out:
- Gas supplier – contact the Meter Point Administration Service on 0800 608 1524.
- Electricity supplier – you can contact your regional distribution network operator to find out who your supplier is, or if you do not know who your distribution network operator is you can search by postcode on the Energy Networks Association
Switching Energy Suppliers in Your Rental Home
Although moving home is often a very busy time, it is important to ensure that you get the best energy deal for you and your home. The tariff that your home currently has is likely to be a standard tariff with high charges.
Before you switch energy suppliers you should seek approval from your landlord if required and you should also consider how long you will be living in the property for to whether a fixed or variable tariff is best for you. We have a guide to fixed and variable tariffs that can help you make this decision.
The easiest way to compare energy suppliers is by using a price comparison site to see which energy supplier/s can offer you the best tariff. As you have no energy usage information for your new home you will need to use either the price comparison tools estimates or use the energy usage from your previous home.
Either way, you should expect that your actual energy usage is likely to vary from this and you should submit regular meter readings, check your bills, and ask your energy supplier to review your direct debit payment amounts if needed. You should expect to build up credit during the summer which will be used up over the winter.
It is worth knowing that you may get a cheaper tariff if you are able to:
- pay by direct debit
- manage your account online rather than receiving paper bills, and submit your own meter readings
- get both gas and electricity from the same supplier on a dual fuel tariff
Power Compare has a price comparison tool that is powered by the Ofgem accredited uSwitch service. We also have a useful guide that can help support you through the switching process if you need help.
Note that switching suppliers can take up to 21 days and you will be responsible for paying for the energy used with the existing supplier.
Your Rental Home Has a Prepayment Meter
A prepayment meter is a meter that allows you to pre-purchase electricity or gas on a credit top-up basis, like a pay-as-you-go mobile, you must purchase credit before you can use the energy. Some energy suppliers now refer to prepayment meters as pay-as-you-go or PAYG meters. To learn more about prepayment meters read our guide on them.
Most prepayment meters operate with a prepayment key or card which can only be used with the meter. If there is not a prepayment key or card when you move into the property you should contact the energy supplier to get a replacement. There should be £5 emergency credit on the prepayment meter that should allow you time to receive a replacement key or card and top up the meter.
If the prepayment meter is a smart meter you will need to contact the energy supplier to set up your prepayment account.
You may also want to consider having the prepayment meter exchanged for a credit meter as the energy charges are likely to be less and be more convenient. You will need to discuss this with your energy supplier, but they should not prevent you from switching the meter unless you have a poor credit rating.
You should also seek approval from your landlord before switching the energy meter/s.
Your Rental Home Has an Economy 7 or 10 Meter
Economy 7 or Economy 10 refers to types of meters and tariffs, which are sometimes known as heatwise meters or time-of-use tariffs. These Economy tariffs offer customers two price rates on their electricity at set times of the day.
Generally, the electricity prices are higher during the day and cheaper during the night than single rate tariffs. If you want to learn more about Economy meters read our guide about them.
You should consider whether the Economy meter tariffs actual suit you and your home as many homes are on Economy tariffs and they do not offer them value for money. If you do not have storage heaters, then you should investigate changing the meter and the tariff from an Economy one. Our guide on Economy meters has more information on this.
You should also seek approval from your landlord before switching your energy meter.
Your Rental Home Has a Smart Meter/s
The meter installed in your new home may be a smart meter as these are currently been rolled out to all homes in the UK by 2020. These meters offer many benefits as they send meter readings automatically to your energy supplier and they allow you to track your energy use more effectively. As part of the smart meter package, you will have an in-home display device which enables you to see how much energy you are using in pounds and pence.
If your new home does not have a smart meter you will be able to get one installed in the future. You should contact your energy supplier to find out when they are installing smart meters in your area and to be put on their waiting list.
You should seek approval from your landlord before switching your energy meter/s.
If you want to learn more about smart meters, how they work, their benefits, and switching suppliers when you have one then visit our guide to smart meters.