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“All bill payers have the right to switch to a better energy tariff”

14 July 2014

Figures released today (14 July) by Ofgem suggest that three quarters of bill payers who rent their homes have never switched energy supplier.

Worryingly, it appears that a lack of awareness of their rights has prevented a fifth (20%) of tenants switching, as they didn’t realise that they were entitled to another energy provider.

Commenting on Ofgem’s findings, Jeremy Cryer, energy spokesperson at comparison website Gocompare.com, said: “If you’re the person who pays the energy bill then you have the right to shop around and switch to a better energy deal. No bill payer should feel trapped in a situation where they have to pay more for their outgoings than they have to if cheaper alternatives are available.

“Tightening of mortgage lending rules and rising house prices mean that it’s likely that the number of people living in rented accommodation is only set to increase. So it’s vital that renters familiarise themselves with their rights so they can avoid feeling trapped by paying a premium for their gas and electricity and other bills.

“If you are paying the bills yourself, rather than through the landlord as part of a ‘rent plus bills’ arrangement, then you have a right to decide how you spend your money and who you get your services from. It’s a good idea to inform your landlord of any changes you want to make – whether before or after you’ve moved in – to ensure you don’t fall foul of any clauses in your tenancy agreement.

“Whether you’re a homeowner or a tenant, shopping around for energy is quick and easy using a reputable comparison site. As soon as you move in, take a meter reading and let your landlord know that you intend to shop around. Your landlord should tell you who the current supplier is, and whether there are any exit fees or other considerations you’d need to bear in mind in if you do decide to switch. When you call the existing provider you can ask for estimated energy usage figures, which will help you compare tariffs more accurately to find the one that’s best for you. If you find a better deal elsewhere then switch there and then, but remember that it can take a number of weeks for the switch to happen so you won’t benefit from the new tariff rates immediately.”