The Renter’s Guide to Energy Bills

Whether you live in a flat, a house or shared accommodation, understanding how to manage and reduce your energy expenses is crucial for your financial well-being. In this guide, we'll shed light on the intricacies of your energy bills and provide clever tips and strategies to keep more money in your pocket while being kind to the planet.

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Breaking Down Your Bill

If you want to take control of your energy bills, it's essential to understand the various components that make up your monthly statement. Here's a breakdown of what you'll typically find on your energy bill.

Energy Usage

This section shows the amount of gas and electricity you've consumed during the billing period, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). It's usually divided into two parts: electricity usage and gas usage. Monitoring your energy usage helps you identify patterns and trends, enabling you to make informed decisions about energy conservation.

Tariff Information

Your energy tariff outlines the specific plan you're on and the associated rates. Tariffs can be variable or fixed, often including perks like discounts or cashback. Understanding your tariff helps you assess whether you're on the most cost-effective plan and whether it aligns with your energy consumption patterns.

Standing Charges

A standing charge is a fixed daily fee that your energy supplier charges for providing energy to your property. It covers maintenance, meter readings and other service-related costs. While standing charges are fixed, they can significantly impact your overall bill, so it's crucial to factor these charges into your budgeting.


VAT is a tax applied to most goods and services in the UK, including energy bills. The standard VAT rate for energy is 20%, although some energy-saving measures may qualify for a reduced rate. Being aware of VAT helps you understand the final amount you owe. You can also explore whether any energy-saving improvements in your rental property qualify for a reduced rate.

Reading Your Meter

One of the keys to effectively managing your energy bills as a renter is to understand how to read your gas and electricity meters. Accurate meter readings ensure that you're billed correctly and provide valuable insights into your energy consumption habits. Here's how to navigate this crucial aspect of bill management:

Stay Regular

Regularly reading your gas and electricity meters is the most accurate way to track your energy consumption. This approach allows you to spot unusual usage patterns promptly and can prevent overbilling.

Take Readings

Most electricity meters display your usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Simply note down the numbers displayed on the meter, excluding any numbers after the decimal point.

Gas meters typically display your usage in cubic meters (m³) or cubic feet (ft³). Take a reading of the black numbers on the meter.

Providing your energy supplier with accurate meter readings ensures your bill only includes the energy you've used rather than relying on estimated readings. You can submit your meter readings online through your energy supplier's website or mobile app. Some suppliers also offer dedicated phone lines for meter readings.

Check with your energy supplier to determine how often they require meter readings. It may be monthly, quarterly, or on an as-needed basis.

Keep a Record

Maintaining a record of your meter readings over time helps you monitor energy usage trends and identify potential savings opportunities.

Create a simple spreadsheet or use a notebook to log your meter readings regularly. Compare your current readings with previous ones to track any changes in consumption.

Understanding how to read and submit meter readings is fundamental to managing your energy bills. By doing so, you'll ensure that your bills are accurate and you have the necessary data to implement energy-saving measures effectively.

Cutting Your Bills

As a renter in the UK, you have the power to take control of your energy expenses and reduce your monthly bills. Implementing energy-saving strategies not only saves you money but also contributes to a more sustainable future. Here are some practical steps to help you reduce your energy consumption:

Switch Suppliers

Changing your energy supplier can often lead to significant savings. Suppliers offer a range of tariffs, so finding the one that best suits your needs is essential. Use online comparison tools to find energy tariffs that offer better rates and terms. Fixed-rate tariffs provide price stability, protecting you from unexpected price hikes.

Be Efficient

  • Energy-efficient practices and appliances can significantly reduce your energy consumption.

  • Replace traditional bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights to save on lighting costs.

  • Ensure your rental property is well-insulated to retain heat during winter and reduce the need for heating.

  • Choose appliances with high Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) labels when replacing or purchasing new ones.

  • Install a programmable thermostat to regulate heating, ensuring it's only active when needed.

  • Seal gaps around doors and windows to prevent heat loss.

  • Set your water heater to a recommended and efficient temperature (around 60°C) to avoid overusing energy to heat water.

Reduce Your Consumption

  • Simple changes in your daily routines can lead to significant energy savings.

  • Turn off and unplug electronic devices when not in use to avoid standby power consumption.

  • Wash clothes at lower temperatures and air dry whenever possible.

  • Use lids on pots and pans, and match the size of your cookware to the burner to maximise efficiency.

  • Take shorter, cooler showers to save on hot water.

Request a Certificate

Requesting your rental property's Energy Efficiency Certificate (EPC) provides insights into its energy efficiency rating. Use the EPC information to discuss potential energy-efficient improvements with your landlord.

By implementing these strategies, you can significantly reduce your energy consumption and lower your monthly bills while contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle as a renter.

Managing Your Bills

Taking control of your energy bills as a renter in the UK involves not only reducing your consumption but also efficiently managing the cost of your energy usage. Here's how you can manage your energy bills effectively:

Direct Debits

Setting up a direct debit with your energy supplier can help you spread your energy costs evenly throughout the year, making budgeting more manageable. Opt for monthly direct debits to avoid larger seasonal bills and create a budget that includes your energy costs to ensure you allocate sufficient funds each month.

Payment Options

Many energy suppliers offer various payment options; choosing the right one can save you time and money. Paying your bills online or by phone is often more convenient and can save you money on paper billing charges. Opt for paperless billing to reduce clutter and lower environmental impact.

Billing Queries

If you have concerns about your bill or notice discrepancies, it's essential to address them promptly to ensure accurate billing. Thoroughly review each bill to check for any unexpected charges or irregularities.

Apps and Tools

There are various apps and tools available that can help you manage your energy bills more efficiently. Explore apps that provide tips, track usage and offer suggestions for reducing consumption. Some allow you to set alerts for when your energy usage exceeds a certain threshold, helping you stay within budget.

By implementing these strategies and staying proactive in managing your energy bills, you can maintain better control over your expenses and enjoy the benefits of reduced energy costs as a renter. Remember that small changes in your habits and a keen eye on your bills can lead to significant long-term savings.

How Can Renters Save Money on Energy Bills?

With both energy costs and rents on the rise, renters are looking for ways to save money on bills more than ever. At UKPower, we can help you compare gas, electricity and water suppliers to find the cheapest prices, switch to a better deal and cut the cost of your energy.

Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.