House-sharing can be a bit of a shock to the system when you first start. Not only do you have to adjust to the social aspects of your new living environment, but you have to make pretty substantial financial decisions as a group. As well as differing personalities, you must get used to everyone having different financial circumstances.
This is particularly true of students, who receive varying levels of financial support from the Student Loans Company depending on their parents income, and of those living in large cities where house sharing is the only affordable option for most people. In some areas, you might have a person sharing with someone making half their yearly salary.
When it comes to choosing your gas and electricity provider, you have a few options available to you. You could opt for one of the Big Six and pay their famously high tariffs, with each person paying a higher or lower percentage based on their income, or you could select your provider to suit the budget of the most cash-strapped housemate.
If you’ve got a gifted mathematician and negotiator under your roof, by all means opt for the first choice, but the latter option is undeniably the simplest and will lead to fewer arguments. Taking everyone’s budget into consideration is important not just for fairness’ sake, but in making sure that the household bills are paid in full and on time.
How to find low-cost utilities for house sharing
As many a price comparison advert on telly will tell you, it’s important to shop around to find the best deal. According to Ofgem, the government energy regulator, approximately 54% are a substantially higher price—sometimes by hundreds of pounds—-for the same gas and electricity than a competing provider would charge.
This year alone, the “Big Six” providers have continually hiked prices for their customers:
- British Gas increased its standard variable tariff by 5% in May and again by 4.4% in August, taking the price of the average dual-fuel bill to £1,205/year.
- EDF’s standard prices rose by 6% in August, adding £70/year to the typical dual-fuel bill.
- E.on scrapped a £20/year dual-fuel discount and £5/year paperless billing discount in April before hiking prices by £55/year in August.
- Npower’s standard variable tariff rose from £1,166/year to £1,230 following a 5.5% rise in June.
- Scottish Power increased prices by £64 in June, and again by £47 in October.
- SSE customers saw an increase of £87/year in July, as the energy supplier also scrapped a £6 per fuel annual discount.
With prices becoming unaffordable for most people, particularly those in shared accommodation, more and more people are shaking off the stigma and switching to a small provider.
The Big Six have equally big reputations, but are being continually beaten by their smaller counterparts on both price and customer service. Octopus Energy, for example, came joint top with gas-only supplier Zog Energy in Money Saving Expert’s latest customer service ranking, with 93% of it’s 220,000 rating it “great”.
When it comes to utilities, don’t be fooled into thinking that paying more means more reliability, energy efficiency or customer service. Choosing a smaller provider for your shared house could save you all massive amounts of money.
acasa is a household management platform designed for students and sharers. With acasa, you can avoid unnecessary conflict around splitting utility bills with our direct billing and balance tracking systems. Get a free quote from acasa for your property and enjoy a less stressful approach to managing your shared house.