Best value gas and electricity suppliers 2017
Let's be honest, you've got better things to do with your time than spending hours researching and setting up energy bills. Save yourself time, money and hassle with our comparison guide.Sorting out your gas and leccie can feel like a bit of a minefield, but unfortunately it's necessary! The good news is that there are big savings there for the taking when it comes to your energy bills and we're here to make the whole process of choosing the right provider as easy as possible.
Follow our tips on getting the best deal as a student and how to keep your bills rock bottom!
8 money saving tips for student energy bills
SWITCH, SWITCH, then switch again
Apologies for the capitals but we cannot stress this enough.
Don't make the mistake of just sticking with the supplier that the house currently has – 9 times out of 10 you'll be able to switch to a cheaper offer.
Although some energy providers will charge a fee if you leave your contract early, legally you're now able to leave 49 days before your contract officially ends without being charged, so you have no excuse not to shop around a little!
Find out if you could be getting a better deal elsewhere by checking out the table below.
Go for gas and electricity dual tariff
Not all properties have a gas connection, but if you do then it's usually cheaper to combine your energy bills under a dual tariff with a single supplier.
The other benefit is you'll save time and hassle by having just one single bill to pay each month and will be dealing with one company rather than two.
Fix your gas and electricity prices
Going for contracts with fixed energy prices can be a good move, as unfortunately prices tend to go up yearly.
Locking into a set price protects you from any future hikes for the length of your contract, and also makes things easier when it comes to budgeting and splitting bills evenly with your housemates.
What's more, some companies (such as EDF) don't have any cancellation fees even when you lock in a price.
Go for an online tariff
Applying for or switching to an energy tariff with only online billing could save you around £200 a year (as opposed to a standard tariff with paper billing).
It also does wonders for keeping your hallway floor tidy!
All of your bills will be handled on your online account, where you can also set up easy monthly payments, which are taken automatically.
Choose Direct Debit
Paying your bills by Direct Debit could save you a further 10% with some suppliers.
Be aware that there might be a difference between the amount of energy used and what you paid for when you submit your final meter readings, in which case you'll either have to pay more (debit) or ask for the difference to be refunded (credit).
Check your meters
Your chosen energy supplier will use the previous tenants' usage to estimate how much your own monthly payments.
To reduce the risk of paying too much or too little during your contract, it's a good idea to submit meter readings every 3 months or so. Just imagine if you were paying £30 too little a month, that's a prickly £360 bill at the end of a 12 month contract to unexpectedly have on your plate!
The day you move in, take a meter reading and send to your supplier immediately so you're not picking up the previous tenant's bill. You'll also need to do the same when you eventually move out.
Choose rent with bills included
If you can find accommodation that's inclusive of basic bills (gas, electricity, water and internet) then you could make some great savings (as long as the rent is reasonable, of course!).
One perk to this option is that you don't have to worry about splitting your bills or relying on one housemate to deal with all the utilities, but the drawback is that you won't have the credit-building benefits that come with being a good bill-payer.
Bills included with rent is quite rare to find nowadays, but you could always try to negotiate with the landlord or letting agency.
Split the bills
Most student houses are shared dwellings, meaning that you'll need to figure out a way of splitting your utilities bills between housemates.
It's never straight forward, so remember to note down everything that you've paid for over the year for the house and what you're likely to owe others (or be owed, for that matter).
A popular way of dealing with bill splitting for students is to divide the various utilities (eg. water, gas, electricity, broadband and phone and the TV licence) between housemates and work out who owes who what at the end of each month.
More on this in our full guide to student bills.
Best student energy suppliers for 2017
For most student households, EDF Energy are currently our best buy energy supplier. They offer great value on gas and electricity and customer service reviews are very good.
You can use EDF's Blue+Price Protection to fix your tariff at the current rate while ensuring that there are no cancellation fees (which is great for shorter, term-time housing contracts).
EDF also promise that if you find a cheaper supplier they'll let you switch to that supplier without any exit fees!
Energy Helpline (Comparison site)
Until this year, we used to try and rank the other energy suppliers, but ultimately the deals depend on your specific circumstances and location. So now we suggest simply using trusted comparison sites to find the cheapest energy supplier for your area.
Little known EnergyHelpline.com is our favourite when it comes to comparing energy suppliers.
This website is one of the most trusted, transparent and comprehensive comparison sites for gas and electricity tariffs and allows you to complete the whole process in a few steps.
For information on the best deals available on all other utilities – plus tips on how to keep costs down – head over to our student bills page.