Martin Lewis has called for standing charges on energy to be cut, describing the £300 a year bill as a “moral hazard”.

The Money Saving Expert said the charge “disempowered” customers, and made cutting energy usage less effective.

Customers must pay the fixed standing charge on top of their energy bills, regardless of how much gas and electricity they use.

As a result, even if you use no gas or electricity you will be charged around £300 anyway.


Taking to Twitter, Martin called for the charge, which is used to maintain the energy grid, to be reduced.

He said: “The high energy standing (daily) charges are a moral hazard and should be reduced.

"It is outrageous that people have to pay £300/yr just for the facility of having gas & electricity even if they use none."

Due to the high standing charge, the Money Saving Expert warned that customers who were actively looking to save money by cutting their usage were saving "proportionally less and less by reducing usage".

He added: "I have long campaigned for lower standing charges. MSE is submitting a consultation on this about shifting some of the cost the the unit rates.

"The reason Ofgem mandates firms to have high standing charges in the price cap is because they use it to pay for the 'fixed costs' of energy (distribution, transmission etc) - which it believes should be mostly shared equally.

"It is especially loaded onto the electricity standing charge as that is 'more universal'."

Martin went on to say: “One stumbling block is the argument from Citizens Advice, an organisation I have great respect for. 

“Its concern is that if you shift the burden, some vulnerable people with disabilities and medical issues that make them high users will suffer.

“Of course the correct solution to that is lower the standing charge but give them separate support.  Yet that would involve an energy market that wasn't broken and the regulator and government to operate in concert. 

“So we're in a chicken and egg situation.  Still on balance I think the fair thing to do is lower the standing charge (and campaign for help for the high using vulnerable at the same time). 

“Yet I wanted to bash this out quickly as I saw much debate on it after my earlier tweets, and I wanted to explain some of the bigger picture.”