Thousands of households have been warned they could face a shock rise in their energy bills in the coming weeks.

Those coming off fixed-rate deals will soon see their standing charges rise.

The current average standing charge for electricity across the UK is more than 80% higher than it was at the same time last year, according to charity Centre for Sustainable Energy.

It is expected to rise again in April when the new energy price cap comes into effect.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Standard charges are a daily fee applied to gas and electricity bills designed to help pay for the cost of running the energy network.

You will be charged a standing charge whether or not you use any gas or electricity.

A fixed-rate deal allows you to pay the same standing charge rate across the full year.

However, those whose fixed-rate deal is now coming to an end will see a large rise in their standing charge shortly.

There is not much you can do to avoid the rise when coming off a fixed-rate deal, though you can shop around to see if you can find a more competitive price for your energy bills.

Martin Lewis has previously given advice on how customers who pay by direct debit can save up to £200 on their energy bills.

Firstly, he recommended all viewers send regular meter readings. This will help energy providers charge you the correct amount for the energy you are using, and prevent them from estimating your bill, which can lead to you being overcharged.

If you think you are being overcharged based on providing regular meter readings then you can use an online direct debit calculator. This will work out how much you should be charged based on your usage.

Martin Lewis said calculator results had been “very powerful” in getting energy providers to reduce your direct debit charges, and he recommended calling them up with your results.

Lastly, if you still think you are overpaying, you can request to be moved on to a variable direct debit where you will only pay exactly what you have used.

However, this means your bills will be much higher in the winter, when you will not have the “smoothing effect” of having paid more in the summer while using less energy.

The Money Saving Expert also warned that paying when you receive your monthly bill could be up to 10 per cent more expensive than regular direct debit payments.