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Renters are paying too much for energy

Do you rent your home? The new Which? energy comparison tool could save you £353

Renters are paying too much for energy

4.5 million renting households could be missing out on energy savings because they’ve not switched gas and electricity supplier, Which? research reveals. A quarter of renters say they’ve never changed their supplier, and half have been with their current supplier for more than five years**.

If you rent your home and haven’t switched supplier, it’s likely you’re on a standard variable tariff – which is often a company’s most expensive. Choosing a new deal or supplier could potentially save you £346 per year.

Most comparison websites calculate your savings based on a year’s usage. But if you’re renting your home, your tenancy may be less than a year so it’s tricky to work out your real savings.

We believe the 4.5 million households renting in the private sector could be missing out. They may think the best deals aren’t available to them if they don’t know if they’ll be in the same property in a year.

Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, Alex Neill, said: ‘It is wrong renters should lose out on the best deal. We would urge people who want cheaper bills to switch. We have made it quicker and easier for renters to see the best deals and to switch by using the Which? Switch website.’  

If you rent your home, go to Which? Switch. It’s the only energy switching site where you can compare gas and electricity prices based on the length of your tenancy.

How much money can I save on energy as a tenant?

More than half (51%) of the UK’s tenants say they’ve never used a price comparison website to compare energy prices and find the best deal*.

We know that renters are most likely to be with the Big Six energy firms**.

You could save £346 in a year if you’re on the priciest standard energy tariff with one of the Big Six energy suppliers and switch to the cheapest deal on the market, as a medium energy user.

Npower currently has the most expensive standard energy tariff out of the Big Six.

Fixed tariffs set the price you pay for a unit of electricity or gas for the period of the deal (often one or two years). Some come with exit fees for leaving the tariff early.

If you rent your home, Which? Switch takes into account the length of your tenancy and shows any exit fees so you can find the cheapest deal.

Use Which? Switch to see your energy savings as a tenant

Our energy comparison tool is suitable for all renters who pay their energy supplier directly (find out more below). It’s easy to use and only takes a few minutes to check the best deal that’s available.

Enter the end date of your tenancy to get quotes based on the exact amount of time you’ll be living in your home. It’s possible that a cheap deal with an exit fee may work out costing you less overall than a tariff with no exit fee but higher rates.

So check your savings against the exit fee you might be charged to see how much you could save.

I rent my home: can I switch gas and electric company?

If you’re among the 4.5 million people renting your home privately, or 3.9 million people renting in the social housing sector, whether or not you can switch your energy supplier depends on whether you pay it directly.

A third (29%) of renters said they pay their energy supplier directly (rather than energy being included in rent or reimbursing their landlord for gas and electricity)*. If this is you, then you can choose your energy supplier, according to consumer protection law. But most tenants (84%**) still remain with the Big Six energy firms:

  • 26% British Gas
  • 11% EDF Energy
  • 14% Eon
  • 14% SSE
  • 10% Npower
  • 9% Scottish Power


16% of tenants are with other energy firms

Comparing energy suppliers will show you how much you could save.

You may need to inform your landlord you’re switching energy supplier, or change the supplier back to the original when you move out. Read our advice on switching your energy supplier as a tenant to find out more.

Check our rental property checklist if you’re moving to a new home.

Our research

*Populus survey: July 2017, 1,207 members of the UK general public who live in rented accommodation and pay their energy bills.

**Online survey: October 2016, 1,900 members of the GB general public who rent their home and are responsible for paying their energy bills.


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