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Renters' experience of switching energy tariffs

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Renters' experience of switching energy tariffs

edited 18 October 2013 at 6:04PM in Energy
22 replies 14.2K views
edited 18 October 2013 at 6:04PM in Energy
MSE Official Discussion Thread

If you rent your home and have tried to switched gas and electricity providers, we'd love to hear your feedback.

We'd especially like to hear from anyone whose landlord said they couldn't switch, or found switching was banned in their tenancy agreement. If you challenged this, it'd be great to hear what happened.

Click reply below to share your experiences of switching while renting. If you haven’t already,
join the forum to reply. If you aren’t sure how it all works, read our New to Forum? Intro Guide.

If you're renting, vote in the poll in our Cheap Gas and Electricity guide, and tell us if your landlord allowed or tried to stop you switching. You can discuss the results here...


  • British Gas were the supplier when I moved into my flat and (naturally) I'm looking to switch.

    Called up the lettings agent this afternoon to ask if there's any process to follow if I wanted to switch and all they said was, when we eventually move out, just tell them the supplier and account number so they can write to them. Piece of cake!
  • WailWail Forumite
    247 posts
    I have BG and PP Meters. Would prefer Credits on a different supplier.

    LL has asked that we don't do anything at the moment for a few months as they prefer PP meters because they won't get landed with a massive bill.

    Personally, although I'm not happy, I'm prepared to take the hit for a few months in order to maintain a good relationship with the LL.

    We'll see what happens in a few months. It might not be worth the costs for reverting back to PP if we only have a short tenancy.

    To be honest, I'm most disappointed with the supplier who have failed to get Smart PP Meters, which (hopefully) will make it easier to switch over to a Credit contract without an exchange.
  • edited 18 October 2013 at 5:24PM
    bebewoobebewoo Forumite
    622 posts
    edited 18 October 2013 at 5:24PM
    Foxtons made me go with Spark and transferred my supply to Spark despite me signing up with another supplier on moving in.
    However when I retransferred Foxtons did not try to stop me.
    But Spark did! the transfer back took forever, Spark tried every way they could to block it but I managed to get away eventually.
    It was in the tenancy agreement that I had to use Spark. Mind you it was in the tenancy agreement that I had to use BT too, and BT don't even serve my area.
  • datlexdatlex Forumite
    2.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Debt-free and Proud!
    I had no problems at all changing suppliers. I was also able to change to a credit meter.
    Sealed Pot Challenge no 37, Attempting Frugal Living. Became debt free at the end ot 2016. Used savings from becoming debt free to put a deposit on a bungalow last year now working on becoming Mortgage free by overpaying. (without overpayment MFW date is 2036)
  • edited 18 October 2013 at 7:00PM
    footyguyfootyguy Forumite
    4.2K posts
    edited 18 October 2013 at 7:00PM
    I've switched supplier when renting. No issues really.
    I do let the LL/agent know which supplier I have switched to at the end of the tenancy so they can take over the supply (or tell the new tenants). You don't have to, I just think it is common courtesy.
    Do as you would be done by. I like it when I am told who at the start of the tenancy who supplies the utilities - saves a lot of hassle trying to find out.
    (You have to register with the existing supplier before you can switch)

    I tend to avoid dubious landlords with dubious terms in their Tenancy Agreements. If they are prepared to put unfair terms in writing, who knows how they'll act to things when it doesn't need to be in writing.
  • Nightmare...

    Been trying to replace pre-payment meters for gas and electric for credit meters since July. Suppliers will not agree until debt from previous tenant are clear. They have take cash from payment cards towards the debt but still have not supplied me with new cards. I am unable to look at the market for better tariffs as I have not been informed of the rates being charged.

    Landlord is happy for me to change to whichever supplier I choose.
  • It's in my tenancy agreement that I have to get permission to change energy suppliers, but I've never bothered. I can understand if changes are going to be made to the property e.g. a new meter or something.

    Otherwise it's no more their business than if I decided to switch supermarkets.

    The best thing to do if you think the landlord will get funny is just go ahead and switch, and then make sure you switch back to the original supplier just before the end of your tenancy. That way they'll never know.

    When we moved out of our last place we just mentioned to the letting agent that we'd switched. Although we were supposed to get permission he didn't seem bothered. He just wrote down the name of the new supplier for their own records and that was that. The place we're in now is with the same agent, and we've switched three times without asking.
  • PincherPincher
    6.6K posts
    From the landlord's perspective, if the tenant switched to something dodgy like Utilities Warehouse, and disappeared owing money, it could be impossible to leave UW, because they just won't co-operate with the switch.
  • As landlords of a student let we decided it was most helpful to our tenants and safer for us to include the fuel in the rent but as a separate part with a proviso in the rental agreement that if the amount we paid on their behalf was 10% or more either way of the actual bill we would refund or ask them for the shortfall. It hasn't been necessary to do that yet. I'm disappointed that some landlords insist on prepayment meters as they are so expensive for especially people needing to rent, although that depends on whether the bill is for the property or the tenant. It was this and the fact ours is multi occupancy that we opted for an inclusive package so hopefully everyone wins (except the power company)
  • DrLJNDrLJN Forumite
    4 posts
    I am in rented housing association accommodation in Edinburgh. It is electricity only, meaning heating is going to be expensive. Using hot water for 1h45 each day, and general cooking and lighting, is costing us £100 a month.

    I cannot change supplier as we have a 3-rate meter with Scottish Power on the Comfort White Meter set-up even though we don't have storage heaters. I have fixed until March 2014 as that was the only fixed deal they offered, and it was roughly the same price as I pay now.

    I am really frustrated by the fact that none of the other companies will offer a tariff. I am also really annoyed that USwitch et al don't seem to have heard of the 3-rate tariff, as they all suggested I move to an economy 7 deal with alternate providers.... Not possible, as it turns out.
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