How to Switch Utilities and Save Money

When you rent a home, more often than not you’ll have to pay bills – if the landlord’s not taking care of that side of things (which is a rarity anyway). And if you are paying bills, it’s surprisingly likely that you’ll be overpaying; although there’s now a cap on how much providers can charge per unit of energy on all standard tariffs, a typical household could save up to £350 per year by switching to the cheapest deals.

What bills am I likely to pay as a tenant?

Beyond your monthly rent, you’ll most likely have to pay Council Tax, energy bills and water bills. The amount of Council Tax you pay will be dependent on the valuation and banding of your property, and your local authority.

Your gas and electricity bills may be part of your rent, but if not, you’ll have to find out who your energy supplier is and pay them directly. If you’re unsure who is responsible, check your tenancy agreement – the same is true for your water bills.

Which utilities can tenants switch?

Once you’ve discovered who your gas and electricity suppliers are and had a look at your tariffs, you can start to shop around and look for a better deal. You can find your tariff and supplier details on a recent energy bill.

Person with calculator and receipts calculating their bills

Which utilities can’t tenants switch?

Unlike with gas and electricity, you can’t shop around to find a better deal with your water bills; you’ll either be on your provider’s standard tariff or have a water meter. If you’ve got a water meter, you’ll only be charged for the amount of water you use.

How do I switch utilities as a tenant?

If your current tariff seems a bit steep and you’ve decided you want to find a better deal, you should start by researching different tariff types and how they could benefit you. You’ll want to have your postcode, current supplier and current tariff at your fingertips while looking for the sake of comparison.

Either use a comparison website or give different energy suppliers a call to work out how much you can save by switching. If you like your current supplier but find a better offer elsewhere, you can ask if they’ll match the better price. You’ll need to consider a bunch of factors when comparing suppliers and tariffs – the price, the customer satisfaction score, environmental impact, fixed deals, exit fees.

The final step in the process – once you’ve chosen the best deal – is to confirm your switch and means of payment. Paying via Direct Debit can often work out cheaper in the long run. The switch-over process can take up to 21 days, but if you decide to cancel the switch you’ll need to do it within 14 days. You’ll get one final bill from your old supplier – make sure to get a refund if you’re in credit.

Piggie bank, glasses, phone and laptop on a white table

Is switching utilities free?

Whether you have to pay to switch suppliers is dependent on your current plan – if you’re on a standard variable plan, you can switch whenever you like without a fee, but if you’re on a fixed term plan it’s likely that you’ll be charged an exit fee.

What are the best comparison sites for switching utilities?

The following price comparison sites are reliable and comply with the government’s ‘Confidence Code’:

  • Energy Helpline
  • Energylinx
  • The Energy Shop
  • Money Supermarket
  • My Utility Genius
  • Runpath
  • Simply Switch
  • Switch Gas and Electric
  • Quotezone
  • Unravel It
  • Uswitch

It’s a good idea to browse more than one comparison site, just to be sure.

Are there restrictions when switching utilities?

For most, switching your energy supplier with the backdrop of Covid-19 shouldn’t be an issue. No one needs to visit your home – all communication can be done entirely remotely. In fact, now is a good time to switch; the cheapest energy deals are among the lowest they’ve been for three years.

When it comes to switching your supplier and saving yourself a fortune, there’s no time like the present.

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