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What to do if your landlord supplies your energy


Can you switch suppliers if your landlord supplies your business energy?

If you own your business premises, switching business energy providers is simple.  However, for those in leased properties, the situation can be more complicated.

If you’re a tenant in a leased property, your energy will be set up in one of two ways:

  • You pay your energy bills directly to the supplier.
  • You pay your landlord for your energy, and they pass the cost on to you.

Both setups can be frustrating and leave tenants feeling like their energy bills are out of their hands.

1. You pay your energy bills directly to your supplier

Under Ofgem rules, you have every right to switch your energy provider, and your landlord cannot stop you from switching. However, make sure that you check your contract for mentions of a ‘preferred’ or ‘default’ supplier.

A default supplier is the supplier that your landlord would prefer that you use. If your landlord has a default supplier, this should be mentioned in your contract; if you haven’t signed your contract, you can try to renegotiate this clause. However, even if you have already signed your contract, or cannot renegotiate, your landlord still cannot prevent you from switching suppliers as long as you are paying the supplier directly. If you want to go ahead and switch your energy supplier, double check the small print to find out if you have to notify your landlord of the change.

2. Your landlord pays your energy bills and invoices you for them or includes the cost in your rent

If your landlord pays your energy bills, you may not even know who your supplier is, let alone whether you’re paying over the odds. If you can get your hands on information about your current usage and energy bills then you can find a quote and find out if you’ve been overpaying. If not, it’s still worth calling a company such as ourselves for a ballpark figure. 

Under the Electricity and Gas (Internal Markets) Regulations 2011, a tenant has the right to request a different energy supplier, even if they are in a multi-tenanted building. Your landlord must respond to your request within 10 days, either accepting your request or explaining why they are objecting.

If you are one of many businesses in a large complex, your landlord may bulk buy energy, allowing them to fix competitive prices. In this case they may object to your request due to the financial burden it would place on them. Landlords can also reject a request if the cabling in your building doesn’t have enough capacity.  

If you feel that your landlord is unreasonably obstructing you from changing energy suppliers you should try to contact them and attempt to resolve the situation. If you do not feel that the situation has been resolved in eight weeks, you can contact the Ombudsman.

If you are a tenant and are unsure about your energy usage or energy rights, give us a call on 0800 411 8830.

 

 

 

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