14th July 2014
Figures released by the energy regulator Ofgem suggest that three quarters of bill payers who rent their homes have never switched energy supplier.
Worryingly, Ofgem’s 2014 Consumer Engagement survey found that despite the fact that shopping around could save tenants up to £200, one in five, or 20% admit that they were not aware they could switch to a different supplier.
The research highlights the sheer lack of awareness among tenants of their rights to shop around to get a better energy deal. Renters are only half as likely to switch compared to homeowners: 26% of renters said they had ever switched gas supplier compared to 47% of homeowners, with similar figures for switching electricity supplier – at 23% compared to 45%.
Dermot Nolan, Ofgem’s CEO, said: “The number of British households renting stands at 9 million and counting, yet research has shown that this group is not shopping around for their energy, and missing out on savings of up to £200. We’ve now updated the Be An Energy Shopper website so that it also addresses tenants’ needs, and therefore they too can get a better deal on their energy.”
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Commenting on the findings, Jeremy Cryer, energy spokesperson at comparison site 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 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.”
For tenant paying for their utility bills themselves as opposed to those who pay through the landlord as part of a ‘rent plus bills’ arrangement, then they have a right to decide on how they spend their money urged Cryer.