1 in 10 tenants barred from switching energy suppliers

Published on Thursday, 23 August 2012 11:16
Posted by Scott Buckler

Over a third of all households are now renting. But new research shows that people who are renting privately are being left behind in the race to cut household energy bills

uSwitch research has revealed that 3% of those who rent privately have been unable to switch because of restrictions on their rental contract, whilst 7%  were expressly told by their landlord that they were not allowed.

Just 38% have switched to a cheaper supplier. Shockingly, less than a third are even aware that they can switch energy supplier and Over a third of private tenants see no point in switching as they won't be living there long-term – despite the potential annual savings of up to £458.

Most are concerned about their landlord's reaction – just 16% think that they would be 'welcomed' to switch supplier, while 22% say that landlords don't want to be bothered by tenants.

Wasting energy

The research found that over a quarter of tenants pay little or no interest in the energy efficiency of their home, potentially costing them hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills.

This attitude seems to stretch to energy efficiency too – 26% wouldn't talk to their landlord about energy efficiency because they don't think their landlord would be interested, and one in ten private tenants wouldn't even feel comfortable raising it with their landlord.

Over four in ten private tenants say that the home they are currently living in has little or no energy efficiency measures installed.

What we say

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, said changes to the system were 'vital':

"With more and more people renting, it's vital that people don't feel that being a tenant means relinquishing the right to control their household bills. The fact is that if your name is on the bill you have the right to shop around for a better energy deal.

"If your rental contract says otherwise, then talk to your landlord or letting agent – at the end of the day it is in both parties' interests for rented homes to be on a cost effective tariff and as energy efficient as possible.

"Now is also a good time for private landlords to look at energy efficiency. Energy suppliers have a pot of money to spend on making their customers' homes energy efficient and only have until the end of this year to spend it in order to hit government targets.

"As a result, there are now a huge number of offers for home insulation, ranging from the free to the heavily subsidised. Taking advantage of these now would benefit both landlords and tenants, as a minimum outlay will see lower energy bills and a more attractive, rentable home."

Source: ©USwitch

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