Moving out of home into your own student accommodation is a rite of passage into adulthood. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. As well as the freedom to do what you want, when you want, comes the responsibility of looking after yourself and your new home. So what should you know? Which suppliers are best for me? Well, we will explain everything in this guide that we have prepared.
Last updated: November 2022
That means ensuring you have a secure, safe and comfortable place to live. A big part of this is setting up and paying energy bills. It is also important to learn how to save on energy bills, to ensure you are not overspending.
Do you think that you might be overpaying on you energy bills? Well, you have come to the right place. At Switch Plan, we are the experts at finding you the best deal possible. Does that sound good? Great!± All you need to do is give us a call at the number on the top of the page.
If you’ve never been in charge of your own energy bills, before it can all seem a bit confusing. There is a plethora of student gas and electricity information out there but finding out what you do and don’t have to do can be tricky.
As well as finding the best student gas and electricity deal, you need to set up payment, learn how to read meters, deal with bills and plenty more besides. But don’t worry, we have compiled a student gas and electricity survival guide to help you get your head around everything you need to do.
Student gas and electricity: what do I need to know when moving in?
When you’ve found your new home, signed on the dotted line and got the new keys, arranging energy suppliers is one of the first things you need to do. However, before that you need to make sure you’re not paying the previous tenant’s energy bills. Speak to your landlord or letting agent and make sure that all previous student gas and electricity contracts have been settled.
Finding the best gas and electricity student deals
As a student, money is always at a premium. With so much time taken up by your studies, plus rent, tuition fees and living expenses to pay for, it’s important that you can make savings wherever you can. That’s why getting the best student gas and electricity deal is so important.
It might seem like extra hassle to track down the best student gas and electricity tariffs. But the reality is that a number of energy providers have tariffs especially designed for students and other low-income sharers.
Try and find a tariff that offers a fixed rate. Most homes will be on a standard variable rate. That means that when the wholesale price of gas and energy goes up, so do the bills. If you chose a fixed rate tariff you will know exactly how much you will be paying for your energy for the fixed term of the contract.
Some tariffs, like EDF’s Total Service Two Year Fix don’t have any cancellation or exit fees, so once you’re settled in and got to grips with things, you can always shop around for a cheaper supplier. Try and pay by direct debit too, as this can often be cheaper than pay as you go deals.
Choose a dual student gas and electric tariff
Of course, not all properties have a gas connection but if yours does then it’s always cheaper to combine both your gas and electricity bills under a dual tariff. This will save you money but also the time and hassle of setting up and dealing with two suppliers and two sets of bills each month.
Setting up your university gas and electric supply
Once you have chosen your deal, you will then need to provide a meter reading and set up a new account with payment information. Depending on your living situation, you may want to split the bill with the other people in your accommodation.
However, you might not have any idea how to read your meter or even where it is located in your home. Ask your landlord or letting agent for the details of where to find them.
You can find out more about how to read your meter here. Giving an accurate reading means that you’ll be less likely to be on the receiving end of a billing error.
Student gas and electricity: How can I save on my bills?
As well as finding the best student gas and electricity deals and switching to a tariff that best suits your needs, you can also make savings by being smarter with your energy use. If you are living away from home for the first time, the reality of paying bills can come as a bit of a shock. But by making a few small changes to your lifestyle it is possible to make big savings on student energy bills.
Here are some ideas about how to bring your student energy bills down:
- Turn off standby appliances – devices like the TV, stereos, speakers, computers and more all use power when left on standby, so turn off completely for a smaller bill
- Install a smart thermostat – these are available cheaply online and can help you to keep a much closer eye on what you are using
- Turn down your thermostat – rather than turning the heating up, put on a jumper
- Install a new boiler – this one might be more down to the landlord but it will also be in his or her interest to have a more energy efficient home
- Wash clothes at a lower temperature – we know students wash their clothes (despite the perception in popular culture) but make sure you do it at a lower temperature
- Be smarter about water – take shorter showers rather than deep baths
All of the above might seem like little steps but you’d be surprised by the savings you can make when they are all combined.
How switching energy providers can help you save money at university
You also need to remember that you are able to switch providers at any point. If you set up your energy provider when you moved in but have been able to find a cheaper or more suitable tariff, then switching is pretty straightforward.
Tariffs change and new deals become available, and if you’re not fixed into a contract then you can change to a more suitable deal without penalty. If you are fixed in, there may be an exit fee to pay in order to switch contracts.
If this is the case, then you’ll need to weigh up whether the amount you will save will be worth the price of the exit fees. However, as mentioned above, there are fixed contracts available where no fees are payable.
If you’ve been living at the same address for a long time or simply took over an existing energy contract, the chances are you’re on a standard variable rate tariff. This could mean paying hundreds of pounds more than a fixed rate deal. Energy companies often rely on the apathy of customers to stay with the same provider and this could mean missing out on some big savings.
If you’re interested in switching, then we can help you find the best tariff for you.
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What does it mean if your energy bill is in debit?
If you see the letters ‘DR’ on your energy bill next to your statement balance, it means your account is in debit. This probably means your direct debit payments are no longer enough to cover the amount of energy you use and you’re falling into debt to your energy supplier.
In these cases, suppliers generally suggest you up your direct debit payments in order to cover the shortfall. This will mean you need to collect a little more money from your housemates every month.
Is it better to pay energy bills by direct debit?
Paying your student energy bills by direct debit is convenient and can save you money. However, if you choose this option, you need to ensure that you have enough money in your account to cover your bill every month.
Which is the cheapest energy provider for students?
The tariffs offered by energy companies are always changing, so it’s important to compare prices and deals just before switching. Our Switch Plan can help you to find the best deal available. Get in touch to find out more.
How much are student energy bills on average?
The amount you pay for your energy will vary depending on the size of your house, the number of people who live there and the amount of energy you use. On average, students in the UK pay around £37 per month for their energy.
Updated on 29 Jan, 2024
UK Content Manager