Your new student tenants have now been in their new home for around a month. Most students in private accommodation, like the general population, are typically responsible for paying the utility bills. If your students are paying for their electricity use, they may not be aware that they are able to request a smart meter fitting.
Student tenants may not be aware
Those with little experience with renting – with teenage students typically being the least experienced – may not be aware that they are able to request a smart meter. Understandably, they typically presume that it’s your responsibility and right. Further, many believe that they must seek permission from you. If their home doesn’t have one, the natural assumption is that previous students may have already requested and been refused.
Recent research has shown that private rental properties are much less likely than owner-occupied to record electricity usage with a smart meter. Further, around one third of tenants in rented accommodation didn’t know that they had the right to make such a permanent change.
The attitude “not my property, not my right” seems to be a common one.
Pay as you go? You really should change
Pay as you go electricity (also known as coin meters, or key meters) are known to be the most expensive type of way to pay for electricity. However, some people prefer them as they can make it easier to budget. Now, a TV campaigner is calling on those with pay as you go electricity meters to switch the smart meters as soon as possible. This includes students.
You can remain on a pay as you go with a smart meter. There are two main advantages to switching to a smart pay as you go meter:
- It’s easier to switch suppliers in this environment when electricity costs are high
- It’s easier and faster to top up your credit through a dedicated app rather than searching for the right coins or getting the key credited elsewhere
The same report mentioned above said that around 25% of tenants claim they are still waiting for an installation, while 1/7 said they have not been offered one. Tenants and property owners alike should understand that all suppliers – no matter who they are – are legally required to do so.
Why install a smart energy meter?
Aside from the advantages already listed, having up to the second number on how much electricity you’ve used that day, that week, or that month can help those on a limited budget. With older, invisible meters that just logged how many units, it was harder for tenants to work out how much they were spending.