What is a standing charge?

A standing charge is a fixed amount you pay for every day you are connected to a gas or an electricity network. You also have to pay for the gas and electricity you actually use.

Today, standing charges are really just one way suppliers can choose to bill you.

Standing charges used to cover costs like meter reading, maintenance and the cost of keeping you connected to the network, as well as, in the case of gas, the emergency gas service.

If you don't get charged a standing charge, you will pay two different rates for the gas or electricity you use. Usually with a 'two tier tariff' there is a higher price for a given number of units in each quarter. Once you have used this number, the price reduces. For example, with gas, you might pay 2.5 pence per unit for the first 1400 units used each quarter, and 1.5 pence for each unit used over and above the first 1400.