Standing Charges

Energy For All would reverse the present perverse situation where people pay less per unit of energy if they use more of it – and pay more per unit the more we cut down on what we use. 

This huge injustice is a result of the Standing Charge on our bills and prepayment meters.  As part of the Campaign for Energy For All, Fuel Poverty Action is campaigning for Ofgem to stop loading extra charges – like the cost of failed suppliers – onto this part of our bills, the part no one can avoid no matter how much we cut down. And then we want Ofgem to abolish standing charges altogether, and instead, provide a band of energy free. 

Take Action to end Standing Charges

Fuel Poverty Action has launched a letter writing campaign to Ofgem CEO Jonathan Brearly, the big boss at the energy regulator, to demand action on a grotesque injustice, which was just brought to our attention.

So far, over 1,300 Energy For All supporters have written to Ofgem in support of the standing charge demand. Click here to join our letter writing campaign, and get in touch if you’d like to help take it further. Just write to [email protected] with “Standing charge” in the subject line.

The TUC backs ending the standing charge

Based on our work, the TUC is advocating an end to the Standing Charge, saying “regressive Standing Charge should be abolished, to avoid penalising low-income households – many on pre payment meters. “

You can read their full report here and the executive summary here.

Fuel Poverty Action Media Coverage on Standing Charges

Chronicle Live: New call to scrap standing charge as families struggle with energy rises during cost of living crisis

“An energy campaign group has made fresh calls for standing charges on electricity and gas bills to be scrapped, as many customers struggle with soaring prices. A new survey by Fuel Poverty Action  shows that nearly 81% of customers support the idea of scrapping the charge on every customer’s energy bill, which must be paid regardless of how much they use.” 28 July 2022

This is Money: Is it time to scrap standing charges? A third are expected to be in ‘fuel poverty’ by Christmas, as heightened bills push households over the limit

The Daily Mail’s This is Money spoke to us about unjust standing charges. Ruth London of Fuel Poverty Action said: ‘It’s unjust to put more and more load on the part of the bill that no one can avoid no matter how little energy they use. The standing charge is a killer for people who have cut their energy use to the bone but still face heavy daily charges. “ 22 July 2022

Alexa Waud appears on BBC News
Fuel Poverty Action’s Alexa Ward highlights unjust standing charges and extra costs for people on prepayment meters. 
“Right now, people who use a lot less energy are actually paying a lot more for the unit cost, and that’s because of something called the standing charge …. People in the UK who have reduced their usage down to next to nothing are still having their meters tick away with the standing charge, and they are paying for it. This is especially true for people on pre-payment meters. They have experienced the most price discrimination because they’re the people who are least able to pay and they’ve seen the highest price rise.” 16 May 2022

She also appeared on Times Radio , Talk Radio, LBC News, and the Jeremy Kyle show.

Ruth London also appeared on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme to discuss the standing charge and how inflation is hitting the poorest hardest. 18 May 2022

The Guardian: Cut ‘unjust’ electricity standing charges, UK regulator urged
The headline piece on The Guardian’s website begins: ‘Fuel poverty campaigners have written to Britain’s energy regulator urging it to take action to reduce electricity standing charges, which it says are discriminatory.’ 28 March 2022

Over the following couple of days, this was followed by a dozen more articles and broadcasts, ranging from the Morning Star to the Howard Hughes show on Talk Radio, from inews and the Scottish Sun to Energy Live News and technotrenz, from LBC radio to the websites  Simplyswitch and Thisismoney. 

Press Release: FPA tells Ofgem: standing charge discrimination must stop now. 
Fuel Poverty Action has sent a letter to Ofgem challenging new discriminatory policies in advance of this Friday’s price cap rise. Fuel Poverty Action reports that the administrative costs of taking on customers from failed energy suppliers has been loaded onto the fixed, standing charge element of energy bills, which nobody can escape. It puts lives at further risk as people who are already rationing heat and power are forced to pick up the tab for industry failures, which Ofgem sanctioned. Read more 28 March 2022