Npower follows in footsteps of rivals as cuts gas prices

GERMAN energy provider Npower has been forced to follow its competitors and cut household gas prices by seven per cent from March 26.

This month has seen a string of gas providers reduce prices and out of the “big six” only EDF Energy and Scottish Power have yet to make the move. Eon cut its prices by six per cent on Monday.

Chief of Npower retail Kevin Miles said: “We always aim to offer competitive prices to our customers and we have lowered our gas prices although our profits halved in 2009. The combined profit from supplying nearly 6.8m accounts and operating nine power stations was equivalent to just 9p a day for each customer account.”

Customers will see an average fall of £50 on their annual bill as a result of the change, the company said.

The company is also making changes to its discount structure for those customers who pay by direct debit. For dual-fuel customers, the discount remains at £100 after 12 months using the payment system. But for gas-only customers, the discount rises from £20 to £50, and for electricity-only customers the discount doubles to £40.

Regulator Ofgem told gas providers to slash prices back in February, after accusing the companies of not passing on reduced wholesale costs.

Npower, which saw its profits halve last year, questioned whether it was the right decision by Ofgem to pressure energy companies last month. “The market is working. UK customers have the cheapest prices in Europe,” the company said.