A change of tenancy takes place when an occupant moves into or vacates premises.
Under the electricity act, a deemed contract exists between an occupant if they move into a site and begin to use electricity or gas services, regardless of whether an actual contract has been agreed. Conversely, if an occupant vacates premises and does not inform the supplier that they have done so, then they remain liable for the supply until a notification has taken place.
Let suppliers know when you move into or move out of a property
Energy suppliers can charge you for using electricity or gas on a site even after you have moved out as long as the new occupant has not taken responsibility.
We are increasingly finding that suppliers refuse to backdate these changes of tenancy. In both cases, they protect their position, and are able to recover deemed rates from a new occupant, or continue billing an occupant that has left the premises.
It is therefore essential that any organisation planning to move into a site obtains meter details, ideally confirming the address and supplier details from the former tenant, perhaps requiring that a copy of the electricity and gas bills are obtained when leases are agreed.
If the previous tenant is not willing to provide a copy of the bill, then at a minimum the data that needs to be obtained is the Site Address, the Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) for electricity and the Meter Point Reference (MPR) for gas and the corresponding serial numbers.
A contract can then be agreed with the existing supplier prior to occupying the premises.
When a premise is vacated, the organisation will remain responsible for the energy consumed until contact details for the new tenant are provided to the supplier and they agree to take over the supply.
If the supplier is unable to contact them, the organisation will remain responsible for the supply. It is therefore important to validate the contact information provided to ensure that a change of tenancy can be carried out and the new tenant will take over responsibility for the supply.
The details required of the new tenant are:
Date taking responsibility for supply
Final meter read
New Company name
Responsible contact name and contact details
Ideally, these details should be provided to the supplier well before the premises are vacated. 45 days is normal in many supply contracts, with the meter reading provided when vacated.