Utility bill responsibilities

Andrew asks:
(updated on Friday, April 24th 2020)

I still can't find a definitive answer to who pays fixed charges on electrical and gas bills. Under the Residential Tenancies Act tenants are responsible for all outgoings that are exclusively attributable to their occupation of the premises or to their use of the facilities. Fixed charges apply regardless of whether there is a tenant in the property or not. So technically it should be paid by the landlord. But since tenants are able to choose their own power provider, the contract is usually on their names...?

Our Experts Answer:

If a tenant has an account for supply of reticulated electricity or gas, their account includes line charges.  That is simply the way the suppliers operate.  The same goes for telephone line rental and usage.  However, bottled gas supply is split into two parts – a line charge for bottles (rented by the owner) and gas usage (paid by the tenant).  Likewise, water infrastructure is a fixed cost for the owner but the metered usage is payable by the tenant.

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