Fresh call on the government to put an end to standing charge

Almost 81% of energy customers support the idea of scrapping the standing charge on bills, according to a new poll

Fresh calls have been made for the abolition of the standing charge on energy bills.

A new survey by the campaign group Fuel Poverty Action (FPA) shows nearly 81% of customers support the idea of scrapping the standing charge, the charge of around 44p per day on every customer’s energy bill, which must be paid regardless of how much they use.

The FPA has written to Ofgem about the way the costs of failing suppliers have been loaded on the standing charge, which is a “grotesque injustice”.

Recently, Jonathan Brearley, Chief Executive of the energy regulator, said the regulator will look at whether the cost of the standing charge could be cut.

Fuel Poverty Action has also called for a free band of energy for every household to cover their more urgent needs.

Founding Member of Fuel Poverty Action Ruth London said: “The standing charge is even higher in some parts of the country, and it mounts up frighteningly quickly.  People on prepayment meters are often forced to find money to pay this charge before they can even turn the lights on.

“People who cut their use down to the bone in a bedsit end up paying more per unit of energy than those who are heating a mansion.”

An Ofgem spokesperson said: “Our top priority is to protect consumers including making sure bill payers pay a fair price. We regularly engage with suppliers to ensure they are treating and billing consumers fairly.

“Suppliers are free to set the standing charge and unit rate, as long as these do not breach any licence requirements and it is for the supplier to explain and justify any price changes to the affected customers. Our CEO confirmed to parliament recently that the issue of standing charges is something we are currently looking at closely.”

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