Two More UK Retailers Cut Gas Prices by 5%
Two more commercial and domestic electricity retailers in the UK have announced that they are dropping gas prices to their customers. In separate statements issued on February 11, British Gas, owned by Centrica, and EDF Energy said that they would reduce prices by 5.1% and 5% respectively.
In its statement EDF Energy says the reduction is linked to a drop in wholesale prices. It blames higher costs for not reducing the cost of gas supply further.
"Despite improvements to operating efficiency, external costs included in a customer’s electricity and gas bills have increased, some significantly," it said. "This has limited the size of today’s gas reduction and the company’s ability to pass on falls in wholesale electricity costs."
In its statement, Centrica did not mention wholesale prices, instead saying that the reduction was part of a drive to remain competitive in the market. The company also pointed out that this is the third time it has reduced the price to British Gas customers since 2015.
"Taken together, our three price reductions will bring the average household’s annual energy bill down by almost £100," the head of the company's supply business in the UK & Ireland, Mark Hodges, said. "British Gas will be cheaper than 95% of the market, for a typical household on a standard dual fuel tariff. Competitive pricing is the way to retain existing customers and win new business in this hard-fought market."
Centrica's reduction will benefit 6.8mn customers saving them an average of £31, the company said. EDF said its cut would benefit 900,000 customers' average standard gas price by £31.
The reduction from each firm will take more than a month to come into effect, by which time the high consumption period will be largely over with the arrival of spring. British Gas will implement its reduction on March 16; EDF's reduction will begin from March 24.
The two companies are the last of the Big Six to cut their prices. They all say the reductions would have been bigger but that the wholesale price of gas is only a small element of the overall bill; and that other costs and levies are beyond their control.
The six are currently the object of a regulatory probe by the Competition & Markets Authority, whose findings are expected next month but are not due legally until June.