Student gas and electricity guide – what you need to know

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Your introduction to moving out: Moving out of home into your own student accommodation is a rite of passage. 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.

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.

If you’ve never done this 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.

Utility bills in your student house

You can find out more about how to read your meter here 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:

  1. 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
  2. Install a smart thermostat – these are available cheaply online and can help you to keep a much closer eye on what you are using
  3. Turn down your thermostat – rather than turning the heating up, put on a jumper
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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.

Call us to switch your energy supplier for free!

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FAQs

🔁 Is it easy to switch providers as a student?

Yes, it is. In fact, it has never been easier. Switching providers simply involves having a few pieces of information handy and taking a few minutes of your time. You won’t experience any interruption to your energy supply and you could end up saving hundreds of pounds a year, so it is well worth making the call.

💰 Are gas and electricity student deals easy to find?

Most of the major providers, and some smaller ones, offer deals and payment methods for those on a budget. It’s worth taking the time to look around at various tariffs before making a commitment as this could help you to save a tidy sum over the course of a year. Even if you are already tied to a tariff, switching to a student deal might make financial sense.

📝 How do I read an energy bill?

Energy bills can seem complicated and the array of tariffs difficult to understand. At their most basic, there will be a balance, which is the amount you have to pay at the end of the billing period. This is based on the amount of energy you have used, which is measured in kWh. Look out for this number too, as it is important.

Once you know how many kWh you are using per billing period, you can then see how much your provider is charging you for each of these. This will let you compare against other providers to see if a better deal is available.

🚨 Do billing errors occur?

Again, yes they do. The energy regulator Ofgem has launched multiple investigations into irregularities in billing over recent years. This has involved most of the major suppliers – and some smaller ones too. So, don’t just take your bill at face value.

If it seems too high, then get in touch with your supplier and give them an accurate meter reading. Often they issue bills based on estimates alone, which may mean that you end up parting with more cash than would otherwise be necessary.

Want to get the best deals on your student gas and electricity? Thinking of making a switch to a cheaper tariff? We can help.

Find out more by calling us on 0330 054 0017. We’re available from 9am-7pm.

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Written by eleanor

Updated on 19 Oct, 2020