Gas & Electricity

How to switch energy supplier if you’re a tenant

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Image Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

Switching your energy supplier as a tenant is simple, but there are a few things you need to know before making the switch.

If you live in rental accommodation in Ireland you’ll be well aware of how important it is to keep on top of your energy bills, especially if you share with other people.

While the process of changing your supplier is not that different to someone who has a mortgage, there may be a few more steps involved depending on a number of factors.

In this guide we’ll explain how to switch suppliers as a tenant and outline some important information you should know before doing so.

Check if you’re allowed switch

Before switching it’s always best practice to check your lease first to see if there is a requirement to contact your landlord before changing suppliers, especially if you haven’t switched before. Switching without your landlord’s permission may be in breach of your tenancy agreement.

Having said that, most renters should have control of their own bills and shouldn’t need to consult their landlord. This is particularly true if you and a friend or partner are renting an entire house or apartment together and have signed an official tenancy agreement for a set period of time.

However in larger and more informal ‘house share’ situations, where renters come and go, the bill can often be in the landlord’s name, which can make things a bit more complicated. 

Before moving in, always check your lease agreement to see who manages the rental accommodation’s energy.

Another thing to bear in mind is that sometimes the cost of your gas and electricity will be included as a set amount in your monthly rent in which case it might not always be possible to switch supplier as this is often non-negotiable and part of the original agreement.

Find out who the account holder is

If you want to switch energy supplier, it’s important to find out whose name is on the account with your existing supplier as they will have to be the person who gets in contact initially. This is because only the account holder is allowed to make a switch.

If the energy account is in your name or someone you live with then switching is as straightforward as comparing energy deals on bonkers.ie and switching to a new deal.

However, if your landlord manages your energy bills then they would need to switch on your behalf - provided they’re willing to of course. 

What if my landlord manages our energy bills?

Sometimes landlords manage energy bills for their tenants, usually adding the amount due on top of the monthly rent. As mentioned previously, sometimes it can be a fixed amount as set out in your tenancy agreement or sometimes it can vary depending on how much energy is used.

Paying a fixed amount on top of your rent can help with budgeting and give you peace of mind as to what you’ll owe each month. However it does also mean you could be overpaying. 

If you don’t currently receive a copy of your energy bills you can ask your landlord for them. With the most recent bill to hand you can conduct your own comparison to find a cheaper deal if you feel you could save money. You can then contact your landlord to see if they’ll switch on your behalf. 

Sometimes landlords can be hesitant to switch supplier as they think it will take too much time and hassle or maybe because they've never done it before. However it’s super quick and easy to switch and can all be done online in the space of a few minutes on bonkers.ie. Alternatively, your landlord can call us on (01) 256 0500 and our customer service team will be happy to help.

What do I need to switch?

There are a few things either you or your landlord will need to provide in order to switch.

You’ll need to provide your meter point reference number (MPRN) if switching electricity supplier and your gas point reference number (GPRN) for gas. Either number can be found on a recent bill. 

You’ll also need to provide a recent meter reading and a rough estimate of how much energy you use each month, either in euro or kWh. 

You’ll also need to give us your banking details in order to complete the switch.

More info can be found here.

Repairs

If you’re renting and an issue arises with your electricity or heating, remember that it is not your responsibility to fix it - it is your landlord’s.

Sometimes if a small issue arises, it can be common for the tenant to pay upfront and then deduct this from the next month’s rent. If this works for you that’s fine - but you shouldn’t be left out of pocket. 

Prepayment meters

Rental properties quite often have prepayment meters installed. 

They work by users topping up their account in advance and can be popular with landlords as they mean there’s never an issue with unpaid bills.

However prepay or pay-as-you-go electricity and gas is way more expensive than bill pay. As well as paying a higher unit rate, you also have to pay a daily charge for the prepay meter as well as the normal standing charge that everyone else pays.

However there are currently three prepay suppliers: Electric Ireland, Pinergy and Prepaypower so you could still save by switching to one of these suppliers as they often offer free welcome credit as an incentive to switch.

Closing your account

If you manage your own energy bills and plan on moving out soon you’ll have to make sure your account is closed with your existing supplier before moving out.

You will have to let your existing supplier know you're leaving and send them one last meter reading so they can calculate your final bill, which will then be issued to you.

If your landlord manages your energy bills this will usually be covered in the final payment of rent.

Switching and saving is easy with bonkers.ie

Once you’ve decided you want to switch and have informed your landlord, finding a better deal is easy when you compare the market with bonkers.ie

Here’s how to find a better energy deal:

  • Start an energy comparison on bonkers.ie for electricity, gas or dual fuel.
  • Tell us some details, e.g. the name of your current plan and average energy usage.
  • Find the best deal for you in the results.
  • Start saving!

For more information on how to switch, you can read our guide on frequently asked questions when switching gas and electricity.