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One Utility Bill • 10 mins

Split the bills with the ultimate bills guide

Bills How to moving house
Split the bills with the ultimate bills guide

Jump to a section:

Utility bills you need to pay
How energy bills work
How Unlimited Energy deals work
How energy bills are calculated
Is it best to switch energy providers?
How to sort the broadband in your new house
Guide to broadband types
TV licence fee
Is the TV licence a utility bill?
Do I need to pay the TV licence?
TV packages
Water bills
Council tax
How to split the bills with your partner, housemates or parents

If you're one of the thousands of adults in the UK who share their utility bills and other expenses, the odds are you've come up against the dilemma of the best way to split the bills.

Even if you come up with a system, finances get complicated when there are so many shared bills to cover.

Share this guide to get a system in place, or you could always just put all your utility bills payments in a bills package.


Utility bills you need to pay

  • Energy
  • Water
    • You might be on a water meter or a flat rate, and it's important to figure out which one.
  • Broadband
  • TV license and/or TV package
    • Your TV license is a utility bill you need to pay if you want to watch live TV.
    • Live just means watching TV as it's broadcast on any platform.
  • Council tax (not always in a private rental, depending on your tenancy agreement)

This guide covers all the main points to consider when it comes to sorting and understanding your bills.

If you'd rather save the time and brain space, a bills package from One Utility Bill cuts out all of this faff. 

How energy bills work

Energy is most people's biggest household bill, after rent and council tax. Getting the right deal here will have a big impact on your outgoings. It's worth being clear what you get from different suppliers before you sign up.

Capped energy deals explained

(AKA the bills you pay directly to an energy supplier)

A capped energy deal is something almost everybody is familiar with. It's the deal you get when you get your energy directly from a supplier. This is how it works:

  • Your monthly payment is based on an estimate of what the supplier thinks you'll use
  • If you use more energy than predicted over the course of your contract, you'll get a bill for the difference, or a rebate if you use less.

Unlimited Energy deals explained

Unlimited Energy, sometimes called uncapped energy, is available from bills package companies like One Utility Bill. It basically means you don't need to worry about your energy usage.

  • Quotes for Unlimited Energy often look more expensive than a capped energy deal, but it's not a like-for-like comparison; they're completely different services
    • It will look like you can get a cheaper electricity deal, but you're not getting the same deal at all. You'll pay for every unit of electricity and gas you use from a traditional supplier.
  • A truly unlimited Unlimited Energy deal, like the one you get from One Utility Bill, can be a huge weight off your mind in a house share, especially if you live with people who have very different approaches to saving energy 😬
  • Unlimited Renewable Energy is available from One Utility Bill, thanks to our partners Octopus Energy and Rebel Energy.
    • When you're set up with our partners you'll get 100% renewable electricity. 

How does Unlimited Energy work?

There's a rundown of Unlimited Energy over on our services page, but a quick way to think about it is like an unlimited contract for your smartphone.

  • You get unlimited electricity usage, and unlimited gas too! You don't need to worry about huge bills because you've used 'too much'.
    • Especially great in winter - no more worries about the heating
    • If you're a high-energy household this can be especially good.
  • You don't get a refund for being under a limit 'cause there is no limit
  • It usually costs more than a pay-as-you-go option, but you get more from the service.
  • You can get a fixed energy deal or a rolling contract.

Of course Unlimited Energy isn't for everybody, which is why we offer a capped energy deal too.

Check out our energy saving tips:

Unlimited Energy doesn't mean we don't love the planet, that's why we partnered with renewable suppliers to offered Unlimited Renewable Energy our customers.

Check out our tips for being more energy efficient at home, so you're using as much energy as you need, not way more than you need to.

How energy bills are calculated (and what's an energy tariff??)

The cost of your energy bills is made up of a few different elements, you're not just paying for the energy you use.

You're charged for your energy based on the tariff you agreed to when you signed up. The tariff is the price you pay per kWh (kilowatt hour) of gas or electricity you use.

On a fixed tariff you agree to a set rate for each unit of energy you use, and on a variable tariff the price per unit fluctuates with energy prices and the energy price cap.

Your energy bill is calculated using:

  • The cost of wholesale energy
    • Wholesale energy costs shot up during the energy crisis, which is why energy prices got so high so quickly.
    • Demand for electricity went up as people avoided using gas due to high prices, which meant that electricity also got more expensive

  • Costs of running the energy network
    • Maintenance of such a huge network is a lot of work, and is paid for by the standing charge - this is the daily rate you pay to be connected to
    • Maintenance of such a huge network is a lot of work, and is paid for by the standing charge - this is the daily rate you pay to be connected to

  • Fees and supplier profit.
    • Energy companies are businesses - which means they have to cover operating costs and turn a profit, so they bake these costs into their prices too.
  • VAT
    • Like lots of other daily costs, Value Added Tax is added to your energy bills at a rate of 5%.
    • Energy companies are businesses - which means they have to cover operating costs and turn a profit, so they bake these costs into their prices too.

How are you charged for energy bills? (and what's a meter reading?)

Meter readings let your energy provider know how much power you're using each month.

You submit the readings from your energy meter to your provider, so they can keep your bills up-to-date and adjust your monthly payments if you're using more or less energy than predicted.

Here's a guide to meter readings so you can submit the right info to your supplier.

If you have both gas and electricity, you'll have a gas meter and an electricity meter.


Is it best to switch energy providers?

Switching between energy providers usually offers access to different energy tariffs/energy prices, and depending on the supplier you choose, you'll be getting the exact same thing from the energy network.

  • An exception would be if you decided to go with a renewables-only energy supplier, which would make a difference other than price.

Since the energy crisis almost everybody has been on the standard variable tariff (SVT), which means there hasn't been much difference between suppliers. Here's more information about how the price cap affects the standard tariff, if you're curious.

Energy suppliers are offering fixed tariffs again but with wholesale costs expected to keep falling, they might end up being more expensive than the standard variable tariff.


How to sort broadband in your new house

A speedy, reliable broadband package is essential, but it's easy to run into problems meaning you end up with slow or over priced broadband, or even live for weeks without it!

Unlike other household utility bills, which you can get sorted a bit later if you need to, broadband can take up to three weeks to get set up, so it's best to start thinking about it ASAP!

Quick reference guide to broadband types

Know exactly what you're paying for with this quick reference guide. Cheaper broadband isn't always better broadband, so make sure you know what you're paying for.

Meet fibre broadband AKA standard fibre broadband

  • Sometimes called fibre broadband or FTTC (fibre to the cabinet)
  • The fibre cable from the broadband network runs to a cabinet near your home (the green boxes you see in the street) and then connects to your home with copper cables.
  • The copper cables are older and unreliable, which is what makes this type of broadband slower than full-fibre broadband
  • Copper broadband cables are older technology which is being phased out, and full fibre broadband is becoming more common.

Meet full-fibre broadband

  • Also called FTTP broadband: Fibre to the Premises.
  • The cables that connect to your home are 100% fibre, which means faster and more reliable broadband, with no old cables slowing it down.
  • This is becoming more and more common, and will be standard almost everywhere in a few years.

Meet ADSL broadband

  • ADSL = Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. Catchy.
  • You don't usually find this type of broadband outside of rural areas.
  • ADSL uses only copper wires, so is much slower and less reliable than connections that use fibre broadband.
  • The wires connect to telephone lines, rather than directly to an independent broadband connection, making it even slower.

TV license and TV packages for your new house

Is the TV licence fee a utility bill?

Nope! Utility bills are classed as payment for essential services like water, energy and by most definitions, broadband is classed as a new utility bill because it's so essential for daily life. 

A TV Licence isn't essential, because you only need it if you plan to watch TV in a particular way.

Do I need a TV licence?

TV licence pays for the production of BBC content, and also for the maintenance of the network that broadcasts live TV.

If you don't use BBC iPlayer or watch live TV on any platform, you don't need to pay for a TV licence. 

You need a TV licence if you or anybody in your household wants to:

  • Record or watch TV on any channel on any TV service (e.g. Sky, Virgin Media, Freeview. etc.).

  • Watch shows "live" on streaming services, things like ITVX, All 4, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video...etc.

  • Use BBC iPlayer

Do I need a TV licence in a house share?

  • If you live in a house share or flat share with your own separate tenancy agreement, you'll need your own TV licence.
  • If you live somewhere with a joint tenancy agreement, you only need one TV licence for the whole property. 

Taking a few mins to check if you need a TV licence now could save you a fine later!

Easy TV packages 

A TV package is an optional extra, and not strictly a utility bill. 

But they're a popular choice because they can be a super cheap way to stay entertained. There are loads of channels so there'll be something for everybody. A TV package can be especially cost effective if you're splitting the bills.

Lots of TV packages include streaming services like Netflix, so it can sometimes work out as a better deal than paying for all the services separately.

  • You can get a decent TV package even if you have a tight budget
    • A really basic package will still include loads of amazing TV that you can't get for free.
    • If you know you'll get the use from it, you can pay extra for loads of premium features like movie and sports channels.
  • Even a really basic package includes loads of amazing TV that you can't get for free.
  • If you know you'll get the use from it, you can pay extra for loads of premium features like movie and sports channels.
  • Sports and movies can be a great shout if you're the place everyone gathers for a night in.
    • And it works out waaaaay cheaper than cinema trips or watching the match at the pub


Easy water bills for your new house

Water bills cover the cost of managing the water supply to your home. This includes the water that comes from the taps, and the waste water that drains from your home.

  • If you have a water meter, you'll pay water bills based on your water usage.
    • A water meter can be stressful and cause arguments over the cost, especially if you have a large family, or live in a house share. Not everybody loves a short shower as much as we do.
  • If you don't have a water meter, you'll pay a flat rate for water, usually monthly, no matter your usage.

If you have a water meter and want to end your water worries, check out our Unlimited Water service.


How to split your Council tax  bill

Council tax is like any other bill if you're a homeowner, but if you're renting and sharing with other people it gets a bit trickier.

If you're splitting the bills with housemates council tax might be included in the rent, or it might be another monthly expense you need to share.  

  • If you and your housemates have a joint tenancy agreement, the council tax probably isn't included in the rent and you'll need to pay it yourself and split this bill between you.
  • If you all have individual tenancy agreements, the council tax is usually covered in the rent.

Make sure you double check with your letting agent or landlord - council tax bills can soon add up if you make late payments or fall into arrears. 

How to split the bills the easy way

Sharing the cost of bills, whether with your partner, family members or in a house share,  can quickly get more complicated than it needs to be.

  • If one organised person is lead tenant, you need to figure out what everybody owes by splitting each monthly payment, and then cross your fingers that they pay on time every month.
  • Or there's setting up a joint bank account, which is complicated if  somebody moves out, so it's only an option for couples, family or friends who know they'll be living together for a while.

If you get it wrong, and fall into arrears or make late payments, your credit score can be affected making loans, mortgages and even rental properties and mobile contracts more difficult to get.

Your credit history can be affected for years if you miss a payment all together, so it's important to keep on top of it.



Ways to split your bills with other adults

Direct debit payments for bills

Here's a quick rundown of direct debits, how they work, and why they're usually a better option than card payments for paying your bills. 

  • Direct debits are an instruction to your bank to make regular payments for a product or service.
    • You need to be told in advance how much will be taken and how often before you agree to it.
  • Every direct debit is covered by the direct debit guarantee,
    • Among other things, this guarantees that if the wrong payment is taken or is taken on the wrong date, you're guaranteed a full refund.
  • You won't miss a payment because a card is lost or expired, making it more reliable than card payments.
  • You always have the option to cancel a direct debit at any time.

Paying your bills via card payments

These work in almost exactly the same way as a direct debit: you agree an amount to pay and how often you'll pay it.

But your card payment won't go through if:

  • Your card expires
  • You cancel your card after loss or theft 

Missing a payment can affect your credit rating, and could mean that some services like broadband get cut off.

How to split the bills with your partner or housemates

Split the bills the old fashioned way

  • This method depends on one super organised person putting together a spreadsheet, or leaving a lot of reminders around.
  • Payments have to be updated manually when the cost of a bill changes, or in the case of a house share if someone moves out. 
  • It's definitely a workable solution, but if you're not super organised, it's easy to miss payments.

Split the bills with your bank

Some banks allow you to split bills with an in-app feature. This solves the problem of chasing housemates for payments or worrying you've forgotten to pay someone back. 

  • You still need to set up with every supplier individually.
  • Your payments might still come out on different dates

Split the bills with a bills package

A bills package is the ideal option to include all of your utilities in one monthly payment and split the cost with other adults in your household.

Most options allow you to build a package that includes:

See which utilities you can include in a bills package and get a quote, if this sounds like something you'd find useful.


Other information about bills we think you'll like:

Energy saving tips

More info about your household energy usage

Save energy with Short Shower Power

Fix your energy bills with Unlimited Renewable Energy

Improve your home's EPC rating