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Can you switch gas or electricity supplier if you’re a tenant?

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

Many people find they can save money by switching to another gas or electricity supplier. If you’re a tenant in a rented home and you are responsible for paying for gas or electricity, you have the right to choose your own energy supplier.

If your landlord pays, they can choose the energy supplier. The landlord is responsible if they include the cost of energy within your rent or if they pay the energy supplier directly.

This page explains your rights and options if you want to switch gas or electricity supplier and you are a tenant.

If you pay your landlord directly for your gas and electricity

If you pay your landlord directly for your gas and electricity, you will not be able to switch. This is because you don’t have a contract with an energy supply company.

If you pay your landlord for energy and are concerned about the cost of your bills, it is worth talking to your landlord. Landlords cannot charge tenants more for energy than the energy company is charging them. You may need to check you are not being charged too much.

Your landlord might agree to look at switching supplier, to keep the bills down. But they don't have to.

If you pay an energy supply company directly for your gas and electricity

If you pay an energy supply company directly for your gas and electricity, you have a contract with them. You don’t have to own the property to have the energy supply contract. This means you can switch supplier if you want to.

Before deciding to switch energy supplier, you should check your tenancy agreement. It may say the landlord has a preferred supplier and that you need to let the landlord know if you switch supplier. You may also have to return the account to the original supplier at the end of the tenancy.

You may want to renegotiate any clause you find in your tenancy agreement about using a particular supplier, if you notice it before you sign the contract.

If you have problems switching

If you have problems switching, contact your supplier to find out why. If you aren’t happy with the response, you can contact the Consumer Council.

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