Utilities Company Tariff Query

Landlord Expert
By Landlord Expert July 3, 2013 15:03

Hi guys,

I am a landlord and I have a query concerning the energy supply to my property which Im hoping someone might be able to advise me on.

Basically, before my last tenant took occupancy of my property (about 2 years ago) I had the gas and electric supply set up on a tariff that didnt have a standing charge. Although the rate per unit was slightly higher than the tariffs which had a standing charge attached, this tariff made sense for me because the property was empty and no power was being used. So no charges were incurred whilst the property was empty and power wasnt being used.

But when the tenant took occupancy they changed over to a different supplier and went onto a tariff that does have a standing charge because the rate per unit was less and overall it meant they paid less, which made sense for them.

So with regard to the energy supply there is a discrepancy between which tariff is best for me as a landlord and what is best for a tenant.

Now when the tenant vacated at the end of last month it meant that I inherited the scheme with the standing charge which means I now have an overhead even though no power is being used.

I enquired with the supplier about changing onto a tariff without a standing charge, but they said they dont have any. That they are in the process of changing their pricing structure in order to meet ofgems requirements to simplify pricing and billing. And that in order to do that they had to introduce standing charges on all their tariffs.

I argued that I personally hadnt agreed anything with them and said I would look into changing to another supplier. They said I would probably struggle to find anyone that did tariffs without standing charges these days and also pointed out that any transfer is subject to a 4-6 weeks delay.

After checking around it seems there are companies that do still offer tariffs without standing charges. My first issue is that I have still inherited a standing charge that I cannot avoid for 4-6 weeks whatever happens and this seems unreasonable to me.

Also, I could apply to change suppliers in the interim but as the property is back with the agent with a view to re-letting as soon as possible it seems silly to have to go through that if the next tenant is going to change it straight back again to a policy thats best for them.

I dont know if I am at liberty to dictate that a tenant keeps the tariff which is best or me. It seems unreasonable if they will have to pay more. But at the same time it seems that if I dont then I am left out of pocket when they vacate. It seems whatever happens there is an unavoidable conflict of interests here where either the tenant or myself ends up left out of pocket.

I would be grateful for any advice on this scenario.

Landlord Expert
By Landlord Expert July 3, 2013 15:03

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