Renters afraid to switch supplier

Renters are being left behind in the race to cut household energy bills according to new figures which show only a third (38%) have switched supplier. In this tough economic […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Renters are being left behind in the race to cut household energy bills according to new figures which show only a third (38%) have switched supplier.

In this tough economic climate with steep house prices, more than a third of all households are now renting but less than a third of private renters (31%) know they can switch energy suppliers, subject to their rental contract.

Many fear their landlords will see attempts to switch as a nuisance, suggest the statistics, as just 16% think a landlord would welcome a tenant trying to get a lower cost energy deal. A fifth (22%) of people believe landlords don’t want to be bothered by tenants about things like switching.

For some (33%), being a renter in the first place means they are less likely to think about switching.

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com which conducted the research said: “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 the contracts states otherwise, people should talk to their landlord or letting agent, said Ms Robinson, as it is in everyone’s interest to cut down energy costs.

Private landlords should take advantage of government help with energy efficiency, she added: “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.”