For too long, renters have been forgotten when it comes to switching energy bills. Saving money on household utilities should not be reserved for homeowners. A new Which? Switch feature addresses this.
Until recently, I’ve been known as a serial mover. Last year alone I lived in four different flats, all over London. This isn’t because I’m a terrible housemate, quite the opposite. Past housemates, friends and even my girlfriend will tell you that much. After all, it’s impossible to tear me away from the sink, my moussakas are second to none and that I know my way around a vacuum cleaner.
This may not be the experience of many Londoners but as a renter, moving can be part and parcel of living and working in the city. And with moving, comes changing utilities and services like your energy provider.
Switching and saving
I consider myself to be fairly switched on (get it?) when it comes to saving money on household bills. That said, the first time I actually switched energy companies was back in May this year. I moved in with my girlfriend and found that we were on British Gas’ pricey standard variable tariff.
Incredibly there was some resistance from my landlord when I mentioned switching. Determined to save my own money I pushed back on the owner’s suggestions that it would be a lot of hassle and would take up some of time and I went ahead and switched. Now we’re with Solarplicity, a much smaller energy provider, using 100% renewable electricity and making a saving of around £240 a year.
Like a good employee, I switched using Which? Switch. We found it extremely easy to use – taking what little hassle there is in the switching process, out. All in all we must’ve spent no more than ten minutes filling in a handful of fields on my laptop.
Which? Switch for renters
To make life even easier for renters, we’ve launched a new energy switching service specifically for non-homeowners. The new renters option within Which? Switch lets you see what savings you could make based on the length of your tenancy, rather than a year’s fixed deal.
We believe around 4.5 million private sector rented households could be missing out on big energy savings. Like me, these people may think the best deals aren’t available to them – particularly if they don’t know whether they will be in the same property in a year – and so may be put off the cheaper fixed tariffs on offer.
In our annual energy satisfaction survey. In it, we reveal that a quarter of renters who took part have always been with their current supplier. More than half also told us they have been with their current supplier for more than five years. Of the renters we spoke to, they’re most likely to be with the Big Six (54%).
Separate research shows the vast majority of renters are aware of switching websites, but only half have ever used them before. Three in ten renters don’t think they can save money by switching. What they perhaps don’t know is they could potentially be missing out on savings of £350 on average over a year by switching from the most expensive standard variable tariff to the cheapest deal on the market.
Quick and easy switching
My colleague Katie was one of the first to use the tool as a renter. She switched from OVO’s standard variable tariff to First Utility’s Smart First tariff saving herself £130 a year.
If you’re a renter or know someone who is, head over to the Which? Switch site and find out how much you could save.
What have been your experiences switching energy providers as a renter? Have you faced any problems?