MILLIONS of households face soaring energy bills this winter.
Energy bills are set to increase by £1,578 from October 1, but some people could see their bills rise by even more.
This is because some households are on standard variable tariffs – rolling contracts that have no fixed rate.
The new price cap which comes in from October 1 means those who pay for energy bills by direct debit will see their bills increase by an eye-watering 80% from £1,971 to £3,549 on average a year.
The rise will hit 24million households, with over nine million more having moved on to the standard variable tariff since October last year.
This is because more than thirty energy suppliers went bust.
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But the price cap is based on the typical dual fuel bill and the exact amount you pay will depend on your use.
That means your bill can be more or less than the price cap depending on the amount of energy you use.
What is the standing charge?
Standing charges cover the cost of running and maintaining the energy network, a bit like line rental with a landline phone.
It also absorbs the cost of collapsed energy suppliers.
Part of it also covers the green gas levy to help reach net zero emissions by 2050 and the costs of the Warm Home Discount scheme, which offers low-income households money off bills.
On top of those costs, energy bills are also subject to VAT of 5%, which has not changed, despite calls for the tax to be scrapped temporarily.
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There are also regional variations in your standing charge and unit price, though overall you can't be charged more than the cap amounts.
It costs more to transport electricity to rural areas or to regions far from where it is generated.
That means the south of England often has higher standing charges as well as remote parts of Scotland and Wales.
Energy distribution networks run the supplies of gas and electricity to homes and this cost can vary in different areas, which energy suppliers then reflect in the price.
So the same supplier might charge a different unit price or standing charge from one are to another, even on the same standard variable tariff.
How to get help with your energy bills
Unfortunately, there isn't an awful lot you can do to escape rising energy prices.
However, there are always schemes and funds available to hold your hand throughout the price hikes.
For example, there are plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you're struggling, like the British Gas hardship fund which can lend you up to £1,500 free cash towards bills.
There's also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you're on a prepayment meter.
In terms of council funds, the Household Support Fund helps families with the rising cost of living, has been extended.
This help could include cash grants to pay bills or cover food costs – the help will depend on where you live.
For example, residents in Blackpool can get as much as £300, depending on their circumstances.
To find out what support is available in your area, contact your local council.
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Make sure to check your bills if your energy supplier went bust and you've been switched over to a new one.
The Sun has previously reported customers have seen payments taken from both their old and new suppliers.
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