Landlords warned over energy suppliers

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Energy regulator Ofgem has underscored tenants’ rights to switch provider, regardless of clauses in a tenancy agreement to the contrary.

According to the regulator just 23 per cent of tenants have switched energy provider – just half the proportion of owner-occupiers who have shopped around. Ofgem believes that this is partly attributable to the number of landlords who specify energy providers in tenancy agreements.

According to Ofgem, when the tenant has a direct responsibility for paying the bill, they also have the right to choose the provider. The landlord is only entitled to determine the supplier in circumstances in which utilities are paid as part of the rent. Ofgem also pointed to cases in which landlords charge a fee for a tenant to switch, which it says is illegal.

A spokesperson for the regulator said: “At a time when nine million British households are renting and budgets are tight, it is important that consumers are clear about where they stand when choosing and switching their energy supplier.

“Our research shows that tenants that have not switched could save an average of around £190 on their annual energy bill.”

Ofgem has published a guide on tenant and energy suppliers. You can download it from their website.