Thrifty tenants can now take control of their energy bills

Publication date
14th July 2014
Information types
Policy areas
  • Be An Energy Shopper set to break down barriers preventing renters from ‘energy shopping’
  • Three-quarters (77%) of bill paying Brits living in rented accommodation say they've never switched energy supplier
  • One in five (20%) tenants are not aware it is possible to switch to a different supplier
  • A whopping £200 could be saved by the 9 million renters if they shopped around for their gas and electricity
  • Be An Energy Shopper campaign gives the nation’s renters the know-how they need

Latest data from Ofgem’s 2014 Consumer Engagement survey[1] shows that a shocking three quarters of bill paying tenants admit they've never switched energy or gas supplier in order to try and save their hard earned cash (77% for electricity and 74% for gas).

Furthermore, despite the fact that shopping around could save tenants up to £200[2], one in five (20%) admit that they weren’t 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 (23% compared to 45%).

A common myth among renters is that they have to accept the energy suppliers already in place when they move in.  But very rarely is this the case.  The Be an Energy Shopper website (www.goenergyshopping.co.uk) has been updated to include the key facts, along with top tips for breaking down the barriers which prevent tenants applying their savvy shopping habits to their energy bills.

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.”

‘Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign spokesperson and financial expert Jasmine Birtles said: "It’s not just homeowners who can shop around for their energy – renters can too.  So it’s worth taking a moment to bring yourself up to speed on your rights as a tenant.  There are substantial savings to be made here so make sure you’re not missing out!"

Be An Energy Shopper Campaign

The data collected on tenants backs up research showing that although we shop around for many things in life, we’re still missing a trick when it comes to our energy bills.  51% of Brits would travel up to 5 miles to save £20 yet overlook substantial savings – up to £200 – on their energy bills[3].  The 'Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign is designed to help consumers cut through the confusion previously associated with comparing energy tariffs.  The website www.goenergyshopping.co.uk has now been updated to include a Tenants’ Q&A, and renters can use this valuable know-how to make sure that they are bagging a better deal on their electricity and gas.

Top tips for budget-conscious renters

  • Take meter readings when moving in and out of rented accommodation
  • Ask your landlord to highlight any supplier tie-ins upfront, including any exit fees which you would have to pay if you wanted to switch suppliers
  • Let your landlord know if you are intending to switch supplier
  • Remember: if you are responsible for paying the gas and electricity bill, you are entitled to switch at any time, and your landlord cannot unreasonably prevent you from doing so.

Visit www.goenergyshopping.co.uk/en-gb/tenants to find out how to shop around for a better energy deal.

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Notes to Editors

1. Research

Ofgem’s 2014 customer engagement tracking survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI in the period 7-17 March 2014. It was a face-to-face quota survey, weighted to be representative of all adults in Great Britain aged 15+. Most figures are based on interviews with 1,227 gas consumers and 1,383 electricity consumers. The survey showed that 39% of electricity consumers overall said they had ever switched their electricity supplier. However only 23% of those in rented accommodation said they had done so, vs 45% of those who do not rent. Similarly, only 26% of gas consumers in rented accommodation said they had ever switched their gas supplier vs 47% of gas consumers who do not rent.

2. About the ‘Be An Energy Shopper Campaign'

The Be An Energy Shopper campaign  has been launched by Ofgem in response to consumer demand for impartial advice on how to compare tariffs in the gas and electricity markets.  An easy guide has been set up at www.goenergyshopping.co.uk to show how the recent changes to the energy market can help them to compare tariffs and get a better deal on their gas and electricity bills.

The website includes:

  • New tools to help people compare the different tariffs
  • A glossary explaining the language used on bills
  • Links to other useful sites
  • A downloadable guide which visitors can print off and read at their leisure, or pass on to family members who don’t have internet access

3. About Ofgem
Ofgem is the GB energy regulator. Everything we do is aimed at making a positive difference for consumers. For more information on Ofgem please see our website at www.ofgem.gov.uk

4. About Jasmine Birtles

Jasmine Birtles is a broadcaster, financial expert and founder of www.moneymagpie.com – a consumer website which focuses on making and saving money.  She is a regular contributor to various TV programmes such as Daybreak and This Morning, and appears on all the News channels.  She commentates on consumer issues and writes for many newspapers and magazines.

5. For more information, please contact:

Eleanor de Kanter 020 3263 9727

Kate Wilcox 020 7901 7113

Chris Lock 020 7901 7225

Out of hours media contact number 07766 511470.

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[1] Conducted by Ipsos MORI in the period 7-17 March 2014 among 1,393 energy consumers.  The full results will be released later this summer.

[2] Source: Ofgem analysis of Energylinx statistics. Based on consumers who pay by standard credit and have never switched from the incumbent gas and electricity suppliers

[3] ICM interviewed a random sample of 5084 adults aged 18+ via its online (n=4,081) and telephone (n=1003) omnibuses between 28th February – 9th March 2014.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk