Tenants Guide to Energy Suppliers and Switching


What’s in this guide?


Did you know that as long as you pay for your energy, you are entitled to switch supplier?

Many myths have prevented people from switching supplier to a better deal, with research from Ofgem stating that in 2014 77% of tenants haven’t changed electricity or gas suppliers.

More than three-quarters of British tenants are missing out on an estimated savings of up to £200 per year.

Let’s dive in and take a closer look.

If you pay your energy supplier

If you pay your energy company for your electricity and gas, you are entitled to switch energy supplier.

This means that contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a homeowner to get the best deals on your energy.

You can even have a prepayment meter and still switch.

Take a look at your tenancy agreement and see if there’s a prefered energy company.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t switch, but it does say you should probably inform either your landlord or your letting agent.

If you don’t pay for your energy directly

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to switch energy companies if you don’t pay directly.

You can request that your landlord switches, but they aren’t obliged to so it depends on your situation.

If you are worried about your costs, you should take a look at the section regarding what your landlord can charge you for your energy.

Can students switch?

In short, yes.

If you are a student then yes you can switch, but only if you are paying for your energy directly. In that respect, it is similar to a standard tenancy scenario.

In fact, according to some reports you could be saving around £200 a year on your energy.

That could help fund a lot of nights out or cans of soup.

What can my landlord charge me for energy?

Firstly, you can only be charged for energy by your landlord if it specifically says it in your tenancy agreement.

You can ask your landlord for a copy of this agreement if you do not have yours to hand.

You won’t be charged by your landlord if you are already paying for your energy directly.

This is what your landlord can charge you:

  • The energy you have used in units
  • The standing charge
  • Your VAT owed

This is the ‘maximum resale price’, and it’s the very most that your landlord can charge you for your power.

Removing or installing prepayment meters

While your landlord can’t stop you from changing from a prepayment meter to a standard credit meter, but you may have to switch back when you move out.

This could cost you.

However, using a standard credit meter means you will have access to much cheaper deals and likely a better variety of options.

In the end, it still might make financial sense for you to switch meters even if you had to pay for it.

Returning the meters

Many suppliers do not expect you to pay for exchanging meters.

Your supplier might not charge you a fee if you stay with them.

Top Energy Suppliers

Thinking about switching?

Take a look at some of EnergySeek’s top picks for electricity and gas suppliers, which are some of the highest rated companies on trusted websites such as Trustpilot.

Octopus Energy


Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy is an award-winning energy supplier that has been taking over customers from other companies such as M&S energy as well as Iresa when it went out of business earlier this year.

Not only does it offer one of the cheapest tariffs on the market today, but they have also got a proven record of being one of the best for customer service.

Octopus Energy was ranked at number three in the Which? Survey in 2018, and it’s the only energy supplier to earn the title of a Which? Recommended Provider for 2018.

Liz Griffith on Trustpilot: Simple operations will always win! No overcomplicated mumbo-jumbo like the rest!


Bulb logo

Bulb is an energy supplier that is quickly growing in popularity in 2018 with over 5,000 reviews on Trustpilot, boasting a high 5-star rating with 92% of their total reviews positive.

The only potential negative with Bulb is that they only offer one tariff, and it’s a variable rate tariff.

What does this mean? It means that the cost of your energy is dependent on the open market, which is affected by things such as politics and the time of the year.

You could make some significant savings if prices go down, but of course, you would run the risk of the energy prices increasing and leaving you with a big bill.

Zac on Trustpilot: Great company, very cheap and true to their word. I would recommend them, I have saved a lot of money since being with them.

So Energy

So Energy

At number 9 in the Which? Energy Survey 2018, although So Energy doesn’t rank as highly as it’s independent competitors, it is still above the ‘big six’ and has a great 5-star rating on Trustpilot.

They claim to give their customers excellent value for money, honesty and simplicity, with 100% renewable energy and low price commitment.

Melekio Sibanda on Trustpilot: Most important thing for me is the excellent communication between you and us. Timely responses to queries. Thank you for that, and I have already recommended one person to you!


Affect Energy

With an experience of over 50 years with a more significant supplier, although Affect is a relatively new supplier, they aren’t entirely new to the industry.

86% of their 1,500+ reviews on Trustpilot fall within the 5-star category, though they don’t seem to have made it to the Which? Energy Survey 2018 – this could be because there weren’t enough people in the survey that were customers.

Mr Ratzke on Trustpilot: A delightful bunch of people to deal with, on the phone or via the website and competitive in their offering. We have two separate supplies from them which we manage via one account. Could not be easier.


Do you rent and pay for your energy directly?

Did you know that you could be saving up to £500 on your energy bills every year?

Take a look at the EnergySeek guides to find out more about your energy, or see reviews of the top 7 energy switching sites to compare gas & electricity.