Standing charges appear on almost all gas and electricity bills. However many people are not aware of what these standing charges actually are or why they are paying them.
Compare energy suppliers and save money in five minutes!
Standing charges appear on your gas and electricity bills as a daily fee from your energy supplier. These standing charges remain the same regardless of your gas or electricity usage. They pay for things like meter readings, and keeping your house connected to the mains electricity and gas supply.
There will also be costs related to government schemes included in your standing charges. Examples of these schemes include ones that aim at CO2 reduction and ones that are designed to help homes in need.
With most tariffs, you’ll pay a daily standing charge of between 5-70p per fuel. Your electricity standing charge will be around the same as your gas standing charge with most suppliers, but it’s always worth looking at the small print when you’re comparing tariffs to be sure.
Standing charge rates can vary from tariff to tariff with the same supplier.
Despite floating the idea a few years ago, Ofgem have not imposed a limit on how high a standing charge can be. However, the overall energy price cap they do enforce does account for standing charges. The total amount charged by an energy supplier in a given year may not exceed £1,138 (as of April 2021 until September 2021. Source: Ofgem). This includes the unit/kwh price for gas and electricity respectively, as well as the standing charge.
This applies to direct debit customers. For prepayment customers, the cap is set at £1,156.
Prepayment meter users still have to pay a standing charge. The amount will come out of any credit on the meter, and so if you have a prepay meter, it’s important to keep it topped up, even if you’re not using any gas or electricity (if you go on holiday, for example). If you don’t you could end up owing your supplier money. Read our guide on what to do if you are in debt to your supplier for more help and information.
Yes. There a few energy plans that offer standing charges of £0. You will still see your standing charge displayed on your energy bill but it will be listed as £0.
This will vary depending on the amount of time that you spend in the property over the course of the year. If you property is not lived for the majority of the calendar year then switching to a plan with no standing charges could be a great way to save you money as you won’t be paying anything for gas and electricity whilst your house is not being occupied.
Whilst standing charges are a good idea if you don’t spend much time in your property, it is worth noting that the rates you will pay for your electricity will be much higher when you do use energy.
If you are in your household permanently, or for large parts of the year, then it wouldn’t make economical sense for you to switch energy to a deal with no standing charges. You will find much more competitive rates on energy plans with standing charges. This is because deals with standing charges will often charge you less per unit than those without.
The best way to make sure that you’re getting a good deal on your gas and electricity rates is by running an online price comparison. All we need is your postcode and your energy usage and we can show you all the deals that you could be saving money on. Our free and impartial energy comparison tool allows you to compare hundreds of the best gas and electricity deals from all of the energy suppliers in the UK.