EDF and Scottish Power cut gas pricesBut critics call for energy market investigation

11 March 2010

The last of the ‘big six’ energy suppliers have cut their gas prices, but experts say the latest round of cuts shows how little competition there is in the energy market.

Scottish Power and EDF have both said they will cut gas prices later this month, following similar cuts from British Gas, Eon, Npower and Scottish and Southern.

This herd-like behaviour of the ‘big six’ energy suppliers has prompted experts to call for a Competition Commission investigation into the state of the energy market.

Experts are also urging Brits to check whether they’re on the cheapest deal, following the price changes. You can follow all the latest energy price cuts and find out which energy supplier offers the cheapest tariff in your area using Which? Switch.

Scottish Power price cut

Scottish Power will cut gas prices by an average of 8%, or £66 per year for the average customer, from 31 March.

Scottish Power's director of energy retail Raymond Jack highlighted the fact that Scottish Power’s different tariffs vary significantly in price, by advising customers to check they are on the best deal available to them.

He said: ‘By making simple changes to the way they pay and by choosing to manage their account online, Scottish Power customers could make further savings of up to £382.’

Scottish Power is also offering automatic rebates of £50 for vulnerable customers who heat their homes with electricity.

EDF price cut

EDF will cut its gas prices by 4% from 26 March. As a result, it says its typical customer will be £26 a year better off than if they were with British Gas.

The energy giant previously cut its gas prices in October 2009, and said it’s the only supplier to have cut its prices twice in the last six months.

EDF’s Martin Lawrence said: ‘Our customers have already benefited from the lowest dual fuel and gas-only prices, among the major suppliers, throughout the coldest periods in December and January when they needed it most.’

Our annual energy companies survey rates the best and worst energy companies, including customer scores for British Gas, EDF, Eon, Npower, Scottish and Southern and Scottish Power.

Price war hopes dashed

The succession of five price announcements in less than a week, with each of the ‘big six’ energy suppliers offering similarly small cuts, has prompted calls for an investigation into the energy market.

Consumer Focus' energy expert Audrey Gallacher said: ‘The energy market should be offering Premiership levels of competition – unfortunately it is kicking around in the lowest levels of Sunday League.

‘Any hope is now gone of the genuine price war this market needs so badly. The shouts for an independent investigation by the Competition Commission should now be deafening.’

Time to switch

Head of switching at Which? Switch Alison Morrison said: ‘Now that all of the ‘big six’ have cut their prices, the playing field is level, so it’s the perfect time to compare energy tariffs and switch to a cheaper deal.

‘By entering your postcode and usage information in our energy calculator, you can find out which energy company now offers the best tariff to suit your needs.’

Lower your gas and electricity bills

You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.

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