Standing Charge

As a prepayment customer I would like to know if a standing charge is for all customers, whether prepayment, or direct debit etc? At the moment I am being charged £2 a week, yet I probably top up £10 a week. I am a single person on my own in a 1 bedroom flat. What is this standing charge for? Does every customer have to pay it?

It’s easy to get a quote on for each scenario…

All customers pay a standing charge.

Pre payment standing charges are higher than credit meters/direct debit customers.

You can confirm this by checking the quotes.

Why should prepayment customers have a higher standing charge? approx 20% of my payments is ‘standing charge’ The most vulnerable people are on prepayment meters because they don’t want to be in debt! Also prepayment customers cannot run up a debt as it is paid for in advance. Also, I think you’ll find other certain suppliers do NOT have a standing charge depending on the tariff and how you pay your bills.

If there’s a tariff with zero standing charge please do let me know. My grandad’s home is empty as he’s in a care home.

I guess the increased standing charge is to cover the increased costs associated with them?

@“Eleanor at Bulb” ?

You’ll have to do a search but I have seen no standing charges with certain energy suppliers! BUT that is with direct debit payments only!

Hey all.

Previously, @“Rory at Bulb” has given a short explanation to why prepay meters have a higher standing charge.

He said:

"Prepayment meters bring a whole new set of challenges. The team has learnt how to deal with brand new behind-the-scenes operational tasks that credit meters do not require.

This is partly because there are more external parties involved in supplying your energy:

  • Payzone and Paypoint that make it possible for you to top up at your local shop.
  • Siemens that handle the transfer of funds and the delivery of keys and cards.
  • The network service provider that transfers information between the two.

The cost of the extra operational tasks also means that prepay customers are often forced to be on a more expensive tariff. At Bulb, we’re working to streamline these tasks so we can offer a better deal for our prepay members.

The further into our prepay mission we get, the more we’ll be able to reduce the rates for these members."

@phillyzippy if other suppliers do not have a standing charge, their unit rate will be significantly higher. I don’t know of another supplier that has no standing charge but it is entirely possible.

Yes, every member has to pay a standing charge. It covers the costs listed by Rory above. Getting energy to your home makes up about 40% of your energy bill.

Elanor, thanks for your detailed explanation! Explain this… you say: “This is partly because there are more external parties involved in supplying your energy” i.e. costs incurred by using Paypoint/Payzone as in your explanation. What are the other parts?

So, If I left the UK and went abroad for six months and used no electricity. Although it is being supplied and I have turned off every plug and the mains switch turned off at the distribution board in my house, I would still pay a standing charge. I wouldn’t be using Payzone or Paypoint as I’m abroad. So the Paypoint/Payzone comment doesn’t come into force as I’m not in my house using electric.

Can you answer this: what is the remaining standing charge for? (whether I am at home or 4,000 miles away and not using Bulb electricity) I still pay a ‘standing charge’


“As a rule of thumb…
If your home is empty for nine months or more per year, it’s worth checking whether a zero standing charge tariff wins for you.”

Phproxy, that’s interesting… 9 months eh?

Heya @phillyzippy

All good questions.

A standing charge covers the cost of installing and maintaining the infrastructure that gets energy from the grid to your home. There are 26 million homes (and many more buildings including businesses and schools) that need energy across the UK. So as you can imagine, it costs a lot to keep this all going.

Yes, you will pay a standing charge whether you are at home or away. This is because we are charged by network operators per meter point. Meaning that we would be losing money for each meter point that we do not apply a standing charge to.

@phproxy is right, you might find a supplier that offers a very low standing charge. Just make sure you check the unit rates though. If the standing charge is very low, the unit rate is likely to be high. But do have a browse around, you might find a better deal for you.