Energy bill RIP-OFF: Private renters stung by £41 MILLION switch lie | Personal Finance | Finance

Almost one in 10 people who privately rent are forking out an extra £315 a year each, or £41million collectively, after being incorrectly warned away from switching energy suppliers. The research from auto-switching energy service Migrate found despite paying the energy bill for their property, nine percent of respondents have been told by their landlord or letting agent that they do not have the right to switch provider. A further 10 percent have been told they cannot have a smart meter installed, in more information being incorrectly passed on by landlords. Despite what some tenants have been told, if a tenant is responsible for the utility bill, and pays their energy supplier directly for their energy, they have the right to switch to a provider of their choosing.

This is regardless of whether the landlord has a ‘preferred supplier’.

Almost a third, 32 percent, of renters have never switched their energy supplier at all, remaining with the provider that serviced the property when they first moved in.

There are currently an estimated 4.5 million households in the UK private rented sector, meaning tenants could be overpaying for their energy by a staggering collective £453 million each year.

The research by Migrate is based on a survey of 1,800 people who currently privately rent within the UK conducted between 1 and 14 April, 2019.

George Chalmers, CEO of auto-switching service Migrate said: “Our research has found a huge amount of misconceptions among renters when it comes their energy bills.

“However, perhaps the most shocking was that nearly one in 10 tenants said that they had been specifically told by their landlord or letting agent that they were not allowed to switch – which is totally untrue.

“In reality, if your name is on the energy bill and you pay for your energy directly from a supplier, the likelihood is you have the right to switch your energy supplier and should be doing so regularly to ensure you’re not overpaying.

“With more people renting than ever before, it’s vital that tenants know their rights and actively engage with their energy bills, and totally unacceptable that some are allegedly being misled.

“Not switching is costing renters as much as £453 million pounds a year.”

Meanwhile, research from last year revealed households in Blackpool spend a higher percentage of their salary on energy bills than anywhere else in England and Wales.

Locals in the seaside Lancashire town are splashing out a staggering 5.2 percent of their net annual salary on keeping their homes warm this winter.

With the cost of energy bills continuing to climb higher each year, Blackpool residents could find themselves benefiting the most from switching energy providers.

Elsewhere, homes in Bradford, Blaenau Gwent and East Lindsey are also spending a significant amount of their annual income on energy bills, with each area forking out 4.9 percent of their earnings.

CEO of Igloo Energy, Matt Clemow, said: “The price you pay for energy is a postcode lottery.”

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