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Again, it's regulated by OFGEM, and it's them that regulate what the standard price is determined as, This is why it'll all show at once, is because of how it's regulated, as in effect the standard has been cheaper than what the actual cost has been, and also partly why so many have ceased trading. It's altered every 6 months currently, but with what's happened it's more than likely going to be changed more often so that what happened doesn't happen again. Sure there was something mentioned on news last week that they're looking at doing it every 3 months, and may move more to having different costs at different times of the day, as in more expensive in peak periods. You'll more than likely get tariffs that may have a lesser standing charge but you'll find the unit price is higher. There's a number of things that have hit all at once which is why the costs have gone up so sharply as it'll all get passed onto the consumer, (cost of gas, companys failing, the loss of power over numerous regions recently and the cost to resolve they all have an impact) if you want to read more go onto the OFGEM website, as they're the regulator. The Energy Networks are who deal with individual areas in the UK if there's a power cut, and they then charge the individual supplier for the cost of gas / electric in said area and this is why you'll get slightly different costs depending where you are in the UK.
OFGEM regulate it, so they can't just do what they want, will go up due to the cost to generate the electric, since around 40% of the UKs electric comes from the burning on gas, then there's nuclear, wind, coal etc, at substantially lower %.
I dont think I've ever posted on here before, just long term browser but with some peoples questions and wrong assumptions I thought I would. The reason for the cost increase that is now being passed on to everyone is really down to the cost of gas. This is where people aren't quite differentiating between their supplier and where the gas is actually coming from. The reason why 30 odd suppliers disappeared is because the cost of gas rose so much and the supplier couldn't afford to pay for it, and the big boys and a number of others had hedged for the cost of their gas, so knew what they'd be paying where generally the smaller companies had not. So they were having to pay the big cost, and as customers were paying less than that they didn't have the funds to keep that going. The actual companies that are making the money are those that are getting the oil / gas (Shell and BP) there will be others but they're the obvious 2. It was always going to happen that the prices were going to increase in April based on so many suppliers not trading as this also had to be paid for in some form as well, but the main reason is the cost of gas, as I think its around 40% of the UKs power is generated through gas, and that is partly the answer to why the cost of electric has gone up as well. The choice people have just now is whether to fix just now or sit on the standard just now, there's no right answer, the goverment ignored it and just made it a problem for the future with a "loan" which is of no help to anyone, and I'd assume they'll be hoping the current cost will fix itself, but with what's happening currently, I think it's only going to get worse. It's beyond a point where an energy supplier (Eon, SSE, SP etc) can fix the problem now, due to the actual cost of gas, which is where the issue is with the like of BP/Shell which other than taxing them more due to the millions/billions? they make there's really no solution other than the government doing something. It will have a knock on effect to the cost everywhere as it's not just ourselves living in homes, its business' that have had their gas costs probably about doubling and electric going up by about a 1/3. TL;DR we're fucked unless the goverment do something