British Gas and EDF become last of the 'Big Six' to cut energy prices

 
Kathryn Gaw
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British Gas has cut prices three times since the start of last year (Source: Getty)

British Gas and EDF Energy have announced price cuts of 5.1 per cent and five per cent, respectively.

The energy giants have become the last of the ‘Big Six’ to offer reductions to their customers in recent weeks, following Npower, E.ON, SSE and Scottish Power.

This is the third time that British Gas has lowered its prices since the start of last year, and chief executive of energy supply and services Mark Hodges said that taken together, the cuts should bring the average household energy bill down by £100 per year.

"Competitive pricing is the way to retain existing customers and win new business in this hard-fought market,” he added.

However, the announcements have already been met with scepticism. Critics have pointed out that the companies waited until the coldest months had passed before offering the reductions, while others pointed out that there is still a huge difference between the wholesale price of gas and consumer pricing.

“In many ways, these price cuts are a nightmare for consumers,” said Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis. “They give people the false sense of security that they’re getting a reasonable deal, yet these amounts are paltry and trivial - a reduction of around £30 on the typical bill, nothing close to the drop in wholesale prices.

“It is also worth looking at the fact that all of the firms have cut prices by similar amounts - it’s as if the first mover sets as a discount and the rest take it as a signal that they can get away with doing that little and still be protected because the rest of the herd isn’t doing any better.”

British Gas's price change takes effect on 16 March, while EDF's kicks in on 22 March.

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