Student Bills 101 – A handy guide to energy, bills and more

We get it – energy bills aren’t the most exciting thing about university life. We also know that life can be expensive for students, and you’ll want to make the right choice for the planet.

We’ve pulled together a guide to give you the energy basics. From finding a great deal and tips to save money on energy bills, to cutting your carbon footprint and splitting your bills with your housemates, we’ve made you a crib sheet. That way you can get on with more important things (like working out how to avoid 9am lectures).

Making energy easy for students

We have a great range of low-cost, easy to manage energy tariffs, and all our dual fuel tariffs come with zero carbon electricity as standard. That way you get a good deal and you’re doing your bit to help Britain achieve Net Zero.

Energy that helps you lower your carbon footprint

We're proud to be Britain's biggest generator of zero carbon electricity. We don't just sell it - we make it! Some energy companies talk big when it comes to achieving Net Zero, but we're doing everything we can, including generating the right mix of wind, nuclear and solar electricity to make sure we're powering the nation every day. We're serious about Britain achieving its Net Zero target and you can be a part of our journey.

All our fixed home energy customers get zero carbon electricity as standard.

First things first - busting the jargon with key energy terms and phrases

French? Italian? Energy? Sometimes it can feel like us energy suppliers are talking a different language. Here are some of the key terms and phrases you might come across when doing your energy homework;

  • A tariff is an energy contract. It’s the same as a mobile phone or broadband contract, but for energy
  • A fixed tariff locks in the price you pay for each unit of energy you use, for the length of the contract (usually 1 or 2 years). 
  • A variable tariff means your prices can go up and down. So, you might find that a good deal now isn’t such a good deal in 6 months
  • A dual fuel tariff means you’ll have both your gas and electricity on the same tariff, and is generally easier and cheaper. If your house only uses electricity you’ll get a single fuel tariff
  • Exit fees mean you’ll need to pay to cancel your contract early. 
  • Pay As You Go is a handy way of only paying for the energy you use. You’ll need a smart meter but once you’re set up you can see what you’re using, what you’re spending and it’ll make it much easier to split your bill with your housemates
  • 'Green energy' might not be what it seems. Some suppliers really do generate renewable or green energy, but not everyone. Other suppliers buy things called REGO certificates to 'greenwash' their dirty energy, so what you think you're getting isn't as good for the planet as you thought. We're proud to be Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity from wind, nuclear and solar.(1)

Shopping around for an energy deal - what you need to know

Getting a quote for a great deal is simple. You can do it all online and all you need to hand is:

  • Your address / postcode
  • Your current energy provider (ask your landlord or letting agent, or see if you’ve got a letter from them)
  • Some info about your house (like how many bedrooms there are)

Don’t have a bill to hand? No worries – you can get a quote without one.

You might get letters through the post from the old energy provider, or to the old tenants. Don’t worry about them either; they have to write to the new tenants, but you’re free to shop around and find the right deal for you.

Already with EDF? Even better! Just give us a call on 0333 200 5100(2) and we’ll find the best deal for you

We've got a very handy guide on energy switching - changing from one supplier to another - which may be helpful too. 

Picked your perfect tariff? Great - the rest is up to us!

  1. We'll talk to your current provider so you don’t have to
  2. We'll get in touch when we need a meter reading(s)
  3. We'll let you know when you’re fully on board
  4. You can start managing your energy online or on our handy EDF app. It’s that easy.

Managing your student energy bills – our top tips

There are a couple of things you can do to make your life easier when it comes to managing your bills. A bit of admin now could save you stacks of time in the future when it comes to managing energy in a house share or with your flatmates.

  • Register for MyAccount so you can do all your energy admin online, 24/7. Get the app from the App Store or Google Play
  • Put your names on the account. Adding everyone’s names will mean you can all talk to your supplier about your energy. That way if someone moves out, you can keep on top of things
  • Find your meter(s) and take a reading the day you move in. That way you only pay for the energy you use (and not the tenants before you). It’s always best to send readings when we ask for them so you get accurate bills (but if you’ve got a smart meter you don’t need to – they do the hard work for you!)
  • Pay by Direct Debit so you don't have to worry about surprise bills (it's also the cheapest way to pay!) Your energy spend will get evened out over twelve months and payments will be taken automatically each month


Student bill splitting

Splitting the bill with your housemates used to mean sitting around the table with a paper bill and a calculator. Not anymore! Splitting your bill is easy with apps like Splitwise. Or if you have an account with a bank like Monzo you can create a shared tab or a standing order that will pay your share automatically each month.

Plus if you're already paying by Direct Debit you can just set up a regular monthly split to whoever is paying the bill - no more chasing people for money.

Tips to save on student bills

  • Small changes can make a huge difference – boiling less water, doing one less wash a week and turning your thermostat down could save you £69 a year
  • Turning off the lights when you go out sounds simple enough, but it'll also save you £11 a year
  • Unplug appliances at the wall – this alone could save you £35 a year!
  • Get smart home tech and you can control your home from anywhere. Left the heating on and everyone’s at lectures? A smart thermostat lets you turn the heating off from your phone. On your way home and want to turn the lights on? Smart lighting means no more fumbling around for the light switch. Shop for for smart bulbs starting from £9.99, or smart heating kits from £199.99 on Amazon or online.
  • With our Easy Online + BoilerCare tariff you can get boiler insurance for just a few extra pounds a month. Or you could pick a maintenance and support plan to make sure you're not in for a cold shower. Ask your landlord about your boiler's service history and to see if they have cover in place already
  • Get a smart meter so you can see what you’re using, in real time. Seeing what you’re using in pounds and pence could help you change your habits and save money

There are loads more ways you can save, and not just on your energy costs. You can shop around and save on other utilities like your water, internet etc. Energy is our thing though, so we’ve rounded up even more energy saving tips for your whole house.