Helping you prepare for energy bills in the real world

University and adult life can be a daunting prospect, particularly for those boring but necessary tasks like booking your own appointments, dealing with landlords, and bills.

Most students in halls have their bills paid all-inclusive in their rent, meaning that your finances are all sorted for you.

But what about when you move out of accommodation- into your own flat or shared accommodation?

Suddenly, you’ve got your utilities to think about – your electricity, gas and water aren’t going to pay themselves! So, how can keep your bills simple and those housemate arguments at bay?

What are utility bills?

Your utility bills are a charge for the most basic costs associated with running your house- it includes water, gas, electricity, internet and council tax. Most utility bills are paid in regular monthly instalments, though this can vary. In this blog, we will focus on gas, electricity and water.

What do I need to do when I move in to my house?

Read your gas and electricity meter as soon as you move in. Write down the readings you see to be able to provide to your energy company – this will mean you’re not charged for any energy the previous tenants used.

Don’t know where your meters are? If you’re renting a house, check outside for a meter box. Sometimes you will also find your meters in the hallway or under the stairs. If you’re in a flat, likelihood your meter is in the hall here too.

Don’t be afraid to ask your landlord or letting agent if you can’t find them in any of these places.

After reading your meters, check out the tariff you’re on – you may be able to switch to a cheaper energy supplier, using a comparison tool. Why not try Energy Relief? When you switch using this site, you can choose a community project or charity to support by sending them 100% of the switching fee (normally kept by the switching site)

How will you know who your energy supplier is when you move in? It will often say in your rental contract who the supplier is. You can also ask your landlord or letting agent when moving in.

What about your water bills?

If you’re living in Scotland in a house of full-time students, you don’t have to pay your water bill – lucky you! However, if you’re living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, your water will be included in your monthly costs.

Setting up your bills and sharing the cost

Typically, you have two options when paying your bills; either with direct debit, or when you receive your bill in the post. If your house are particularly bad at keeping on top of the post, we would suggest setting up a direct debit.

Sit down with your housemates and decide who will oversee the bills. The money will need to come out of a dedicated account, so it’s a good idea to have someone reliable managing this, with everyone else transferring them their amount.

There are plenty of bill-splitting apps out there to help you with this. However, a google doc or spreadsheet will work just as well.