Student Bills Explained: Everything to know about setting up and paying bills

Jul 22, 2019
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Student Guides
Student Bills Explained: Everything to know about setting up and paying bills

Probably the least exciting part of leaving home to university, is setting up utility bills. Even the word utility sounds boring and complicated – but it doesn’t need to be. We’ve condensed all you need to know about student bills, whether you choose to go with individual suppliers or a bills splitting platform, like Resooma Bills.

What bills do I need to pay for in my student house?

If you’re in university halls, private accommodation or rental with bills included, you shouldn’t have to worry about sorting bills but it’s always good practice to check.

For students living in a house, you will need to pay for gas, electricity, water and wifi. If you have a TV, then you should pay for a TV licence too. One bonus is that students don’t need to pay council tax.

What’s the deal with gas, electric and water?

Most homes have gas for heating water and cooking, then electricity for everything else, but some are electric only. If you have both, it’s cheaper for you to get a dual package from one supplier – grouping your bills makes it cheaper.

There is only one supplier for water per region so there is no need to shop around for this. You can find who your supplier is here https://www.water.org.uk/advice-for-customers/find-your-supplier/ or Resooma Bills will automatically set you up with your local supplier. If you go directly with the supplier, your water will either be billed at a fixed rate (average of £405 a year) or via a water meter (pay for what you use).

What do I need to do when and before I move in?

You’re liable to pay for your household bills from the start of your tenancy so it’s best to sort your bills as close to that date as possible so you’re not burdened with backdating payments when you move in. You can sort the wifi installation to be for when you move in so you have it as close to when you arrive too. Being stuck without wifi is not the one.

Read your gas meter and electricity meter as soon as you can to ensure you’re only paying for the energy you have used and not the previous tenants. We suggest doing this as close to the start of your tenancy as you can (so even if you’re popping down to drop some stuff off). If you don’t supply a reading you may be provided with an estimate reading which usually works out more expensive and based on average usage.

Where are my gas and electricity meters?

To provide meter readings, you will need to locate you meters (unless your home has a smart meter installed). They are usually located in the hallway, kitchen or in a cupboard under the stairs. If you are in a flat, check the communal hallways or by the front door too.

If your search is unsuccessful, your landlord, letting agent or inventory should also be able to tell you where your meters are located.

How do you read a gas or electricity meter?

To read your energy meter, simply write down the numbers you see, from left to right. You can ignore any red numbers or number after the decimal place. We have a full guide on how to read different meters here (insert other blog link)

How do I find out my energy supplier/s?

It may say in your rental contract who your energy supplier is. You can also ask your landlord or letting agent when moving in, or check if you receive any letters from your gas and electricity supplier addressed to ‘the occupier’.

Alternatively, you can find out both your energy suppliers by entering your postcode into the Energy Networks Association’s tool and getting the relevant contact information there. If you decide to go direct with each supplier, it’s best to shop around to get the best deal. If you decide to go with a bill splitting platform such as Resooma Bills, you’re likely to get better energy rates and larger allowances as they access bulk buy discounts.

How should we split the bills in our student house?

Sit down with your housemates to decide the best way for everyone to pay their share of the energy bill.

A lot of the time you’ll need to have the bill in one person’s name, with that person paying the whole bill and everyone transferring them their split.

Decide the best way that suits everyone; this will depend on how well you know your housemates, how reliable they are and how good they are with money management. Having one lead bill payer can result in them getting bad credit score from missing payments so spend time ensuring this is the right option.

Using a student bill splitting company such as Resooma Bills, Split the Bills or Glide. They set up all the utility bills for you and then put them into one easy bills for each housemate – so you’re only responsible for your own bills. You also only need to deal with one supplier rather than 4 or 5 different direct debits.

Resooma are currently offering a free Google Mini for each house that signs up this summer – Get your quote here and then use code BILLSMINI19 at checkout.

How can I save money on gas and electricity?

These tips should cut costs and help save the planet at the same time.

  • Cook in bulk to save electricity and gas spend on the hobs and the oven (it’s also cheaper for you to buy food)
  • Layer up before turning up the heating.
  • Replace your lightbulbs with energy efficient LEDs. They only cost around £2.
  • Only run the washing machine or dishwasher when they’re full rather than running only a few items at a time
  • Dry your clothes outdoors or on a clothes horse rather than using a tumble dryer. They can cost as much as £100 a year to run.
  • Don’t leave your chargers plugged in and turned on as electricity still flows through the charger

Can I change gas or electricity supplier as a tenant?

If you pay your energy company directly for your gas and electricity, then you can choose your energy supplier (that’s set out in consumer protection law). This is the case in most properties.

If your landlord pays the bill (you have ‘bills included’ in your rent), then they choose the supplier. Students in halls tend to have their bills included but remember to still be energy efficient to reduce your carbon footprint.

When do I need to start paying for bills?

You’re liable to pay for the utility bills when your tenancy starts, even if you’re not living in the property over the summer months. For students, most tenancies start on 1st July.

Who are Resooma and why should I use them?

We are a company run by Cardiff University graduates who understand how sh** co-living can be at university. So our mission is to make the whole living arrangement easier and stress-fee. So first we help you search and rent homes on our property platform, and then we help you set-up your house and bills with Resooma Bills. Our bill splitting platform is for students who don’t want the aggro of chasing payment and getting a mark on your credit score for unpaid bills. We set up all your utilities (gas, electric, water, wifi, TV licence) for you and then give each housemate one easy bill for their share.

If you get set up before September 2019, you can get a free Google Mini for your new home! Get your quote here and then use code BILLSMINI19 at checkout.