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Monday, January 25, 2016

Landlords which utility provider should you choose?

I'm getting 'brassed off' with utility companies.  For the most part landlords are totally disinterested on which utility company a tenant uses.  At the end of the day, it will not make any difference to them because it's the tenant who pays.  Not always true.

Landlords with empty properties are getting fleeced

I've recently experienced a situation where I have had two empty rental properties.  The first because I'm in the process of selling it: the other is being refurbished.  I've paid out nearly a grand... yep £1000 pounds whilst I've not used a single kilowatt of gas or electricity.  This p...s me off big time.  Despite telling the utility company that the property is empty and therefore will not be using any energy (even the fridge is switched off)  Utility Warehouse insist on sending me estimated readings of the bill which includes a usage figure that assumes somebody is still living there.  If I don't pay they start sending me threatening letters.  Do I really have the time to explain every month to some clueless operative that the property is empty & therefore the readings will be exactly the same as the previous ones.

Where else would you get charged for not using anything.  The logic that the utility companies hang this absurd charging on is that I'm using their service so hence the fixed service or standing charge. 

Why landlords should change to this utility company

Landlords do have a choice.  If landlords like me who have their property empty for any period of time, whether it being a rental void, because it's being refurbished or being sold then there is an alternative to getting clobbered by the utility company.  I've done a bit of research on the old 'tinternet' and low and behold Ebico is a utility provider where you don't have to pay any standing charge.  Therefore if you use no power you don't get charged.  I've therefore switched both empty rental properties to Ebico.  The company is part of Scottish & Southern Electricity and so far they have been incredibly helpful.  The only thing left for me to do is go back to Utility Warehouse and try and explain again that the my final reading is much less than any of their estimated readings because the property is EMPTY.  Get it!!!  Hopefully, they do and I'll then get a big refund for all those overcharged bills.

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Unknown said...

All the utility companies will estimate your bills, and expect you to pay those bills, UNLESS you provide them with actual meter readings, in which case they will bill you for the actual usage (plus usually a small standing charge). It sounds like you have not provided actual meter readings, so naturally you are charged based on an estimated meter reading. The estimated meter reading is of course quite rightly based on the property being occupied, and if you don't want an estimated bill then you simply provide the actual meter readings. This is the way that all (as far as I know) utility companies work. HOWEVER, with the mass roll out of "smart meters" later this year, this should soon be a thing of the past as all the utility companies should then be able to take meter readings remotely and bill for actual usage rather than estimated usage.

ajspipers said...

Having no Standing Charge is very tempting BUT . . . don't use any power!

I just did an on-line quote and, compared to the quote I did last night (prior to switching courtesy of Saint Martin Lewis aka which was £1,560 on a 1-year fix, Ebico has just quoted £2,780!!

Anonymous said...

Agree with RM, estimated bills based on history are inevitable if you don't provide actuals. What else can the supplier do?

I too have changed a couple of mine to Ebico to avoid the standing charge, simply on principle. The tenant can change supplier if they want, but rarely do.

ajspipers experience is not really relevant to the landlord trying to avoid standing charges during the void period.

Regards -