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How to stay energy smart at university

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Students unpacking boxes in house

If you’re heading off to university next month, chances are there’s lots of things you’re looking forward to more than sorting out your utilities. Things like finding the nearest pub, and working out which local pizza place still delivers after 3am.

But making sure your gas and electric is all set up how you want it is not only vital to keeping the lights on, it could also help save you money and a lot of hassle in the long run.

Getting everything sorted shouldn’t take long either, providing you follow a few simple steps. So why not take a look at our handy guide below? And make sure, where energy bills are concerned, that your uni adventure is as enjoyable and stress-free as it possibly can be.

Get started early

Getting the keys to a new place can be hugely exciting. So while it can be tempting to put all the boring stuff to one side, why not allocate some time early on to get all the ‘necessaries’ out of the way quickly?

The first thing you must do is to take a meter reading – and at the earliest possible moment. Don’t rely on the last tenants to have provided an accurate check. That can get you in to all sorts of problems later down the line if the numbers don’t add up.

Student at home desk

Find a deal that works

Getting organised also means finding an energy tariff that’s right for you. Don’t make the mistake of just sticking with the one already in the house – explore your options and find one that works for your new lifestyle. We offer a variety of tariffs to make sure you can find the best deal for your situation.

You can also save money by choosing options like paperless billing and paying by Direct Debit.

Once you’ve found the tariff, it’s time to get set up. Each energy provider will have a different way of doing things. At E.ON, we want to make sure that moving into a new home is made as easy as possible, so you simply fill out our moving home form with as many details as you can, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Get to know your meter

Chances are that your new property will have one of three-meter types. Find out which one it is and get yourself acquainted. 

- Prepayment meter: A prepayment meter does exactly what you’d expect – it requires you to pay for your energy before you use it. These are fairly common in university areas as it helps landlords and tenants deal with people moving in and out of the property at a rather rapid rate. The meters can be topped up using a smart card, token or key at participating shops, by phone, or through a computer or smartphone app. 

- Standard meter: Standard meters are the ones you see most regularly in the UK. They measure your energy usage in kilowatts, and it’s up to you to keep checking them and providing your energy supplier with how much energy you’ve used. 

- Smart meter: Smart meters have recently been introduced into UK homes to help give customers more control over their energy usage. If your new property has one, great! The smart meter will take care of all meter readings, meaning no more estimated bills. They also enable you to see how much energy you’re using and how much it costs in real time.

Piggy bank

Keep on top of payments

No one likes nasty surprises, especially when it means you have to spend money you hadn’t budgeted for. So be smart about paying your energy bills. Perhaps allocate a time each month where everyone in your house chips in to pay their share, so you’re never left with late payment charges.

And whilst we’re sure your new housemates are all lovely, keep a note of what you’ve personally paid. It might also be worth making sure that everyone’s name is on the bills, so you’re not left solely responsible to pay excess charges and have others ruin your credit score through their own disorganisation.

Finally, keep your energy supplier up to date with your meter readings so you’re not caught short by underpayments. Direct Debits can help you split payments across the year, whilst paperless bills not only reduce clutter, but also make sure you don’t miss payments just because the envelope is lost under the microwave.

And finally…

Just because you’re being organised at the start of term, doesn’t mean you can’t continue being energy smart throughout the year. Keep in mind the various ways to save energy – from energy efficient showerheads to washing clothes at lower temperatures. A quick glance at how energy prices work might help here too.

And there you have it! You’re set up, ready to go and free from energy stress. Now, about that pizza place open until 3am…

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