More than half a million Scots are paying hundreds of pounds too much for their energy bills, according to figures.

The affected households are overpaying on gas and electricity by an average of almost £400 a year when their current tariffs are compared to cheaper deals on the market.

This adds up to a total of £387 million annually across Scotland, with residents in Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute and East Renfrewshire among the worst off.

Energy comparison experts say the stark figures demonstrate the importance of shopping around for the best deal.

Kate Morrison, energy policy team manager at Citizens Advice Scotland, said: "Consumers in Scotland can have higher energy bills due to a number of factors, such as network costs, homes that are less energy efficient and the prevalence of electric heating, as well as the way infrastructure costs are split.

"Because of this we encourage all consumers to shop around for the best deal."

The UK Government is set to introduce an energy price cap later this year in a move officials claim will save millions of families £100 a year.

However, comparison sites uSwitch and Which? said these figures - compiled using data from Ofgem and the departments of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) - show that consumers could save far more by switching supplier.

Alex Neill, managing director of Home Products and Services at Which?, said: "Energy customers tired of being slapped with eye-watering energy bills can take the power back into their own hands and radically change how much they pay, simply by choosing a better deal.

“Before the energy price cap comes into effect later this year, anyone still suffering on a poor value standard tariff should take five minutes to compare and switch as they could potentially save hundreds of pounds a year."

A uSwitch spokeswoman added: "Switching is quick, easy and could save households up to £482 a year - far more than any price cap.

"More and more people are taking control of their bills and finding a better deal, but if you are one of the homes still on a standard variable tariff, now is the time to lock in a cheaper deal.”

The data, compiled by renewable energy firm Bulb, looked at the average cost of a standard variable rate tariff with the Big Six energy firms, compared to the cost with Bulb.

In Aberdeenshire, the figures showed that households could save an average of £430.97, while savings of £420.80 could be made in Argyll and Bute and £420.14 in East Renfrewshire.

The area where the smallest average saving could be made was Glasgow - but consumers could still pay around £280 less by switching.

Hayden Wood, co-founder of Bulb, said: "More and more people across Scotland are realising that they are overpaying on their energy bills, and switching away from the Big Six to cheaper suppliers - saving hundreds of pounds as a result.

"Switching supplier only takes a few minutes, and as these figures show there are immediate savings to be made."

All of the Big Six energy firms - British Gas, EDF Energy, E.On, npower, Scottish Power and SSE - as well as Bulb introduced price hikes earlier this year.

The increases, described as "unjustified" by energy minister Claire Perry, were said to be due to wholesale energy costs.

A spokesman for BEIS said: "This government is working to build an energy market that works for all, while delivering clean, affordable energy.

"The energy price cap and our £6 billion energy efficiency scheme put consumers first and will ensure that those most at risk of fuel poverty are protected.

"Energy suppliers need to get on board and improve their efforts to deliver value, choice and excellent customer service."