Change Name on Energy Bills: Quick & Simple Guide

hands exchanging an electric bill for cash

You want to protect the people closest to you, particularly if they aren’t in a position to ensure regular payment of their energy bills. Perhaps someone close to you wants to pay your gas and electricity bills? How would you switch the name on the account, or the payer's payment details? Find out how to best protect the vulnerable by ensuring their bill payments are made promptly while they stay warm and cosy at home.

7 Common Reasons to Change Account Name or Bank Details

There are many reasons why you might want to pay the electric and gas bills of your loved ones. There are also many motives to change the name that appears on the bills. Alternatively, you may prefer to retain the current account holder’s name, but just change the payer and his or her bank details. Here are the 7 most common reasons for changing the details on your account:

  1. One breadwinner: Perhaps you’re the chief income earner in your household and your loved one isn’t working or can’t pay the bills. It makes sense to switch the former’s name and payment details for the latter who won’t be paying the bills.
  2. Elderly, disabled or infirm: If the homeowner is elderly, disabled or infirm, it’s difficult to ensure uninterrupted payments for energy bills. Perhaps somebody else could make the payments while retaining the account holder’s name? The bill payer also has the option of adding his/her name to the account.
  3. Joint homeowners: You and your partner are both the homeowners, or at least one of you has moved in with the other. You want both of your names to appear on the gas and electricity bills.
  4. Breakup or move out: A break up in a relationship or a household member moving out will change the responsibilities for paying energy bills. You’ll either want to remove the existing homeowner from the bills or add another one.
  5. Landlord’s tenants: You’re a landlord and you need to update the name and payment details on the account as and when new tenants move in, replacing the previous bill payers.
  6. Splitting student bills: You’re sharing a student house and you’ll want each member to appear on the bills. Alternatively, you may just want to or change the payer’s bank details based on who will be responsible for paying them.
  7. Paying bills after death: When somebody close to you passes away, there’s a lot to be done. Depending on whether the deceased's house will be occupied or unoccupied, managing the utility accounts can be a little tricky. Find out what you’ll need to do, step by step in our Utilities Bills after Death guide.

Change Account Holder, Bill Payer, or Both

In simple terms, there are three different combinations where at least one change is made on the customer’s energy account. Let’s recap what they are:

Combination Account holder’s name Bill Payer’s name and bank details
1 Change  No Change 
2 No Change  Change 
3 Change  Change 

We’ll explore each of these 3 combinations and what they mean for you...

Combinations 1 & 3: Different Account Holder

When? This is when the account holder, registered as one of the homeowners, will be changed. Either that person will be removed and replaced with another account holder, or a second account holder will be added.

What? What will change is the name or names that appear at the top of the energy bills.

How? Follow these steps to make a quick name change of the account holder:

  1. Access your online account.
  2. Choose 'My account details' from the menu.
  3. Go to the 'Personal details' section and click on the (+) button to open it.
  4. Fill in the form with the changed name and click on 'Update name'.
  5. Now that your name is updated, access your account again with the new details and go back to the 'My account' details page by repeating steps 2 and 3.

Combination 2: Different Bill Payer

When? This is when a different person will be paying the energy bills, separate from the person named as the account holder.

What? What changes is the payer’s name and bank details, but not the name that appears at the top of the bills.

How? Follow these steps to change the details of the person who will be paying the bills:

  1. Access your online account.
  2. From the menu, choose 'My Account' and enter your email address.
  3. Go to 'Manage your Direct Debit' in your account.
  4. Go to the 'Personal details' section and click on the (+) button to open it.
  5. Go to “Bank Details” and change the bank details and the name of the cardholder.

The energy supplier may require some form of authorisation to make any change on the account from any of the 3 combinations listed above. That authorisation can come in the form of consent (either orally or in writing) or via a lasting power of attorney.

Consent is the most frequent form of authorisation needed to make a change on the account. Consent will need to be given by both the current account holder and the incoming account holder or the new payer (ie the new person who´ll be paying the bills). This consent may have to be given either orally or in writing, depending on the requirements of the energy provider.

Oral consent

The consent from both parties can often be given orally over the phone with both of you being present. This makes the process quick and easy. Just call the energy supplier’s freephone number and the supplier’s agent will record the consent given from the two of you.

Written consent

Some suppliers may not accept oral consent, requiring instead consent to be given in writing. This would be done via a Letter of Authority. This is a letter in which both the current account holder and the other party (or parties) agree to the change being made on the account.

You must both sign it and email it to your supplier as an attachment, either in JPEG or PDF format. Selectra has saved you the hassle by creating a template for you to use.

Download your Letter of Authority here.

Lasting power of attorney

It may arise that the account holder is unable to give consent to the change on the account, either orally or in writing, due to a lack of mental or physical capacity. In this event, you would need a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

With regard to the energy account, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets the account holder (the infirm person who lacks mental capacity) appoint someone else, such as yourself, to help manage their account on their behalf.

What does an LPA look like & how do I get one?

There are two types of LPA: A Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA. You’ll need the former. Before it can take effect, it must be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

Once registered, you will have the same powers to manage the account as the incapacitated account holder. This can include the ability to receive all energy bills sent to an address of your choice, submit meter readings and pay the bills.

How do I tell the energy supplier I have an LPA?

The energy supplier will need evidence of your authority to act for the account holder. This is likely to be the original LPA that has been completed, signed and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. In addition, they may ask for proof of your name and address.

Alternatively, they may request a photocopy of the LPA, on the condition that it is a certified copy. That means it has to be signed and stamped on every page by a solicitor or a notary to confirm that it is a true copy of the original.

Help with energy billsIf you are struggling to pay, there are several government schemes, grants and aid available to help with your energy bills. If it’s a relative who is facing financial difficulty, they can take full advantage of these. Some of the government help available include:

 Warm Home Discount
 Winter Fuel Payment
 Cold Weather Payment
 Pension Credit