Electricity Guide for Share Houses

This Savvy electricity guide for share houses gives you useful tips and hints for splitting energy bills between multiple tenants. 

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, updated on July 27th, 2023       

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Understanding how to split bills, manage energy usage, and communicate effectively with housemates can lead to a smoother and more cost-effective living experience. This electricity guide for share houses provides helpful hints and tips for how to manage your bill payments with housemates. Whether you're a seasoned housemate or new to the share house experience, this Savvy guide will help you to split your bills fairly and make informed decisions about how to manage your energy bills.  

How to set up an electricity plan in a share house

The way that you manage your energy bills in a share house will depend on a number of factors. These include: 

  1. The number of housemates involved
  2. The relationships within the household, eg. are all housemates single, or is there one couple sharing with singles?
  3. The type of energy plan that each housemate is comfortable with
  4. How electricity is jointly used in the household for heating, cooling, hot water, and major appliances such as fridges and freezers
  5. Personal energy usage considerations

Before getting an electricity plan for the share house, it’s important to make a few fundamental decisions about the type of electricity plan which would suit everyone. Here are a few questions to discuss: 

Questions to resolve before deciding on the most suitable energy plan: 

  • Do we want a fixed price energy plan that locks us into using one electricity provider for a set period of time, or do we want more flexibility to switch retailers without exit fees?
  • Is having a time-of-use tariff important so we can take advantage of off-peak electricity prices?
  • Do we want to pay our electricity bill monthly or quarterly?
  • Do we want an energy plan that allows us to monitor our energy use through an app or website, or would we prefer a no-frills cheap electricity plan?
  • How do we want to pay our electricity bill? By direct debit? Online? At a post office in cash? Through a phone app?
  • Is having a green energy plan important to us? Are we prepared to pay more to have a GreenPower or carbon-neutral plan?

Once you’ve resolved these issues, you’ll have a fair idea of the sort of electricity plan that may be suitable for your household. Next, it’s time to consider whether everyone in the household should pay an equal amount for their power use. 

Should everyone pay the same amount for electricity usage in a share house?

This can be a complex question, because it depends on how many parties are involved, and the exact nature of the share house arrangement. Here are some conversation-starters to help you make a joint decision about how you are going to split your power bills: 

Electricity usage considerations: 

  • Do you all use power at a similar time of day? This may depend on whether all parties work or study away from the home, or whether anyone works from home, and so uses power during the day when other parties are absent.
  • Do you all have daily showers at home? Some housemates may habitually shower at their sports club or gym, or at the home of a partner or parents.
  • Do you all use similar appliances or power-hungry devices? This will depend on how your share house is arranged. For example, is there a split system air conditioning unit that cools just one bedroom? Does anyone have exclusive access to a heater that may use a lot of power for the benefit of just one housemate?
  • How often do you use power-hungry appliances to wash and dry your clothes? Some housemates may play sports or belong to clubs or do other activities which require more frequent washing of clothes or uniforms.
  • Do any of you have unique power usage habits? This may include the need to regularly use medical devices, or leisure habits such as frequent online gaming which may involve extra power use.

Understanding how each party in the share house uses power is the first step to deciding is all housemates should pay the same proportion of the electricity bill.  

Having an open and honest conversation about the questions above will help you jointly decide if you should split your power bills equally, or allocate different proportions depending on your lifestyle habits and needs. 

Practical tips for paying your share house energy bills

Now that you’ve decided what type of electricity plan you want, and what proportion of the bill each housemate is going to pay, it’s time to decide on the practicalities of paying your bill.  

Here’s some steps to follow to make sure your bills are paid on time and the lights stay on! 

  1. Allocate one person to be the named account holder, and to make sure the electricity and other joint household bills are paid on time.
  2. Compare electricity bills using Savvy’s free comparison service. Just enter the type of electricity plan that is required, and your location, and then compare a number of plans before deciding which one offers the best deal.
  3. Decide how housemates are to be notified that bill payments are due. This could be by posting the bill in a communal area such as on the fridge, or in a group chat message. Make sure that all housemates are aware of the importance of paying their share of the bill on time.
  4. Use a bill-splitting app that includes notifications of when money is due, such as Splitwise, Splittr, Venmo, or SettleUp, to name just a few. These apps can help with sharing joint expenses with friends or housemates and can include reminder notifications when bills are due to be paid.
  5. Decide as a group what action will be taken if a housemate doesn’t pay their part of the bill on time. The account holder should not be continually left out of pocket if not all housemates do the right thing.

Remember – it is up to each housemate to pay their fair share of the electricity bill. Energy providers won’t split bills, so the account has to be in a specific person’s name. By paying your fair share of bills on time, you can all enjoy the benefits of a happy and harmonious share house.

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