Moving to university is a super-exciting time, and you’ll probably be much more excited about meeting new friends and hitting the social scene than sorting gas and electric bills. It can be an absolute pain but it’s important you set up your energy bills as soon as possible—here’s how.
Step 1: Find the meter
On the first day of moving in you’ll need to make a note of your current meter readings—one for electric, one for gas (if you have a gas meter, that is). This is because when you move in, your current energy supplier places you on a ‘deemed contract’. A deemed contract is in place when you move into a new premise and start to consume gas, electricity, or both, without agreeing a contract with a supplier. These rates may be higher than you expect. But don’t worry, a deemed contract only lasts up until the day you switch to your new supplier.
Step 2: Find who your energy supplier is
When you move in to your new home, it will still be supplied energy by the provider that the previous tenant chose to use. It’s important to find out your energy supplier because you become responsible for the bills from the day you move in. It may be worth asking your landlord to contact the previous tenant. If they can’t find out the previous energy supplier, don’t panic! There are ways to get this information.
Who is my energy supplier?
Who is my electricity supplier?
To find out your electricity supplier, contact your regional electricity distribution company, who’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
You can get their contact details from Energy UK’s directory of phone numbers.
Who is my gas supplier?
To find out your gas supplier, call:
Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524.
(calls cost 7p/min plus your network access fee).
You’ll need your postcode and address.
You can also use the findmysupplier online tool.
Step 3: Give the existing energy supplier your meter readings
Once you’ve found out your energy supplier(s), give them your details, meter readings and the date you moved in. The company will create a new account for you. More often than not, they’ll put you on their standard tariff—this is usually more expensive.
Step 4: Shop around for the best deal
There are so many comparison sites to use when it comes to energy.
When choosing an energy deal, you’ll want to think about:
- how flexible your contract needs to be
- whether you want to combine your gas and electricity services (known as dual fuel—see below)
- the tariff price (duh!)
What is dual fuel?
A dual fuel tariff is when you combine your gas and electricity into a single package. Several energy suppliers offer dual fuel tariffs and often at a discounted price, saving you time (and a bit of money too).
What if I have a prepayment meter?
Prepayment meters are quite common in student houses. They’re popular with landlords as they keep the cost down over the summer months.
They can also stop careless students running up bills and then moving out without paying for their energy. To operate a pre-pay meter, you simply use a special card or key which you can top up at many shops and post offices.
Prepayment meters are, unfortunately, one of the more expensive ways to pay for your energy. However, there are some reasonably priced energy tariffs for prepayment meters so it’s worth shopping around.
Alternatively, if you’re planning to stay in the house for a few years, you could ask the landlord to change the prepayment meter to a regular one. Some energy suppliers let you do this for a charge of around £50. If there are a few of you living in the house, it might be worth pooling together to pay for the costs… just make sure you get the O.K. from your landlord first!
Step 5: Pay the old supplier’s final bill
You can only change supplier once you’ve officially moved in to your home. Switching suppliers takes approximately 21 days, so you’ll probably have to pay at least one bill from the old supplier. This is why it’s better to switch sooner rather than later.
Take a meter reading on the date you switch over, and give this to your old and new energy suppliers so they know what to charge on your final and first bills.
Split The Bills
From comparing tariffs to chasing energy companies, organising your energy bills can be a complete pain. Add bills for the internet, water and TV licence and you’ve got yourself a stressful situation. Split The Bills will get rid of that stress by organising your bills for you. All you have to do is pay one monthly bill. We’ll even chase your lazy housemates for you. Easy!
It just costs £1.50 per week—the same as one double cheeseburger at McDonalds (this is just a price comparison, you can’t pay us in cheeseburgers… but feel free to drop some off at Split HQ).