Tenants need to take control of their energy bills
Three-quarters of bill-paying tenants have never switched electricity or gas supplier in order to try to save money, new research has revealed.
The latest data from Ofgem found that one in five tenants are not even aware that it is possible to switch provider, despite the fact they could each save £200.
All tenants responsible for paying their own energy bills can choose which supplier to use but may be required to inform their landlord first under the terms of their tenancy agreement.
Landlords or the letting agency shouldn't unreasonably prevent tenants from from switching and must inform the tenant if they have any tie-ins with specific suppliers and give you details of their tariffs.
Those in rented accommodation are less likely to switch gas suppliers than homeowners, with 26% of renters saying they had switched in the past compared with 47% of homeowners.
Figures were similar for switching electricity, with 23% of tenants saying they'd switched compared with 45% of homeowners.
Tenants tend to accept the energy suppliers that are already in place at their accommodation, in the mistaken belief that they can't shop around. This is despite the fact that more than half of Brits would travel up to five miles to save £20.
To make tenants more aware of how they can switch suppliers, Ofgem has updated its Be An Energy Shopper website, which now includes a tenants' Q&A section at goenergyshopping.co.uk/en-gb/tenants.
Ann Robinson, director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, said: "These findings are worrying, particularly given the dramatic rise in the number of people having to rent as they can't afford to get onto the property ladder.
"Renters need all the help they can get to keep costs down and switching energy provider is an extremely easy way to reduce their monthly bills.
"Ofgem's campaign to clear up tenants' misconceptions about their rights is a step in the right direction but more should be done. We call on landlords and letting agents to provide all new tenants with information on their current energy provider and remind them of their right to switch. This will empower renters to make an informed choice about who provides their energy."
Switching tips for tenants
- Take meter readings when you move in and out of rented accommodation.
- Ask your landlord to highlight any supplier tie-ins including any exit fees that you would have to pay if you wanted to switch suppliers.
- Tell your landlord if you are planning to switch supplier.