Compare gas and electric as a base
8 Pieces of Advice for Renting Students, Homeowners and Business owners alike
Apologies for the capitals but we cannot stress this enough.
9 times out of 10 you will be able to get better business electric rates when you switch to a cheaper supplier. Don’t make the mistake of just sticking with the one that the house currently has. In recent years the government has made it easy to switch so you have no excuse not to shop around a little. Plus, we’ve got the best options to switch to for students below too.
Not all properties have a gas connection, but if you do then it’s usually cheaper to combine your energy bills under a dual tariff with a single supplier. The other benefit is saving time and hassle by having just one single bill and dealing with one company rather than two.
Fixing energy prices can be a good move, chiefly because year-on-year they go up and up. Locking into a set price protects you from any future hikes for the length of your contract, and in doing so makes things easier when it comes to budgeting and splitting bills evenly across your housemates. What’s more some companies (such as EDF) don’t have any cancellation fees even when you lock in a price.
Applying for or switching to an energy tariff with only online billing could save you a year (as opposed to a standard tariff with paper billing). It also does wonders for keeping your hallway tidy! All of your bills will be handled on your online account, where you can also set up easy monthly payments which are taken automatically.
Paying your bills by Direct Debit could save you a further 10% with some suppliers. Be aware that there may be a difference between the amount of energy used and what you paid for when you submit your final meter readings, in which case you will either have to pay more (debit) or ask for the difference to be refunded (credit).
Your chosen energy supplier will use the usage levels of the previous tenants to estimate your own monthly payments.
To make sure you’re only paying for what you use (and not inheriting another person’s account) you should take regular meter readings and tell your supplier as soon as possible. You’ll also need to do the same when you eventually move out.
If you can find accommodation that is inclusive of basic bills (gas, electricity, water & even internet) then you could make some great savings, so long as the rent is reasonable!
It also makes things much easier in that you don’t have to worry about splitting up bills (see below).
Bills included with rent are quite rare to find nowadays, but you could always ask by way of negotiating with the landlord or letting agency.
Most student houses are shared dwellings, meaning that you’ll need to figure out a way of splitting your utilities bills between housemates.
It’s never straight forward, so remember to note down everything that you’ve paid for over the year for the house and what you’re likely to owe others (or be owed).
A popular way of dealing with bill splitting for students is to delegate the various utilities (eg. water, gas, electricity, broadband and phone and the TV license) between housemates and working out who owes who what at the end of each month.
Switching services offer to find you a better deal for your energy services. You provide information about your current bills and usage, which is compared against the prices of different providers. You can do this online or by phone.
Normally, the switching service will cancel your existing agreement and sign you up to the new provider once you have chosen a new company.
Comparison services enable you to compare gas and electric bills, to make an informed decision about which product best suits your needs.
A comparison service provides you with price and service information, but it is up to you to contact and change providers.
Energy services are not always straightforward. Consider the following points:
Not all energy providers and services are compared by each service. You may not be provided with the ‘best’ or ‘cheapest’ offer available on the market.
Not all services will quote the same price for the same deal or offer. This is because they may have been provided different quotes by energy providers often; switching sites do not explain the terms and conditions associated with moving to a new contract. You may find that you are charged a cancellation fee, or do not make the savings you anticipate because you haven’t adhered to terms and conditions of the new contract.
Paying on time is a common condition of energy contracts.
Consider the complexity of the products being compared. Some energy services have complicated contractual terms. Research all available offers thoroughly.
Sites calculate quotes in different ways. Entering different information into different sites can make it hard to compare quotes.