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A fall in gas prices is on its way, but is it enough?

energy prices

All of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers have now announced gas price cuts, as have a number of the smaller suppliers. They took their time, and it’s some welcome news, but do you think these price reductions are enough?

Today, EDF and British Gas became the last of the Big Six energy companies to announce they are reducing their standard gas prices. EDF will drop their price by 5% from 24 March and British Gas will drop by 5.1% from 16 March (British Gas announced a previous drop of 5% in August 2015).

Gas price reductions from the Big Six are:

  • British Gas: 5.1% cut to standard gas price from 16 March
  • Npower: 5.2% cut to standard gas prices from 28 March
  • SSE: 5.3% cut to standard gas price from 29 March
  • Scottish Power: 5.4% cut to standard gas prices from 15 March
  • EDF: 5% cut to standard gas prices from 24 March
  • Eon: 5.1% cut to standard gas prices from 1 February

Price drops are always welcome news, but we’re not convinced it’s enough.

Worried about costs

The latest stats from our Consumer Insight Tracker reveal that 63% of UK consumers are worried about energy prices. And we know that this is a sentiment that will certainly ring true with many of you.

We’ve had an overwhelming response to our Fair Energy Prices campaign. More than 355,000 of you have signed the campaign, and many of you shared with us your concerns about energy bills

We’re still in winter and no one should have to decide whether they can afford to heat their home when it gets cold. We need action sooner, not later.

Competition concerns

In 2015 our research found that household energy bills should be reduced to reflect lower wholesale energy costs. And then last month, we saw in the news that wholesale gas and electricity had fallen by nearly a third in year to a five year low.

There are many people in this country, particularly the vulnerable, who struggle to pay their energy bills in winter. While we’re pleased to finally see these price cuts from the Big Six, the similarity between the cuts announced raise some serious concerns about how competitive the energy market really is.

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So what now?

Well, this morning the Secretary of State for Energy, Amber Rudd MP, said:

‘It’s a good start but the Government expects all suppliers to pass on reductions in the costs of supplying energy to consumers.’

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating the energy market for some time now. We’re expecting an announcement on its final proposals for fixing the market imminently. With the average customer score for satisfaction from their energy company being just 53%, and the fact that price cuts are not being seen across all energy suppliers, it’s vital that the CMA fix the broken market sooner, not later.

So are you pleased to hear a reduction in energy prices? Or do you think that more needs to be done?


I have been ripped off by Age UK via e-0n. I am disgusted.

You are not alone

This really is iniquitous if you were badly served by a voluntary group. I would suggest that you complain to Ofgen if you can’t get satisfaction from the supplier.

Age UK is being investigated by Ofgem over this issue.

Paul Frew says:
21 February 2016

I keep intending to switch suppliers, but due to age and infirmity never seem to get round to it. It is on my list of things to do. However, making people switch demonstrates the insanity of Thatcherism. Renationalise, with no compensation.

C.A.B. would probably help you if asked, also your local council might also help. It’s certainly worth a telephone call to see if they provide such a service; why not try their main switchboard and ask?

Maureen Geddes says:
22 February 2016

I was persuaded to switch last year and it was a nightmare. Why do we have to ? Why cant all providers offer a fair price? Why do we have to have all these suppliers?

There’s probably a case for legislation here – Ofgen don’t have nearly enough power and complaining to them is a lengthy rigmarole as I know from past experience.

Have been with EDF for a number of years, and I have joined the trend and switched to OVO energy, I found it quite easy to change and I am saving £19 per month.

These people are purely rip off merchants, contacted me to say they could offer a cheaper rate and then said only if I greased their palms with a £30 penalty fee for both the gas and electricity, to change . Wrote to complain twice and heard back nothing.

It’s like printing their own money

george mcdermott says:
23 February 2016

The big six could have cut energy prices long ago.but are doing it in march when weather gets better it should be cut now, the tariffs are a joke.you wouod need to be a mathematician to work them out.it is a disgrace.privitisation at its worst.these companys give not a jot about customers.being robbed.just profit.

[This comment has been tweaked to align with our Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Something needs to be done about the poor people who are locked into deals and can’t take advantage of the falling prices; especially as they probably only took out the ‘deal’ because they were struggling with the costs of heating their homes.

It is shocking that energy firms charge so much. I don’t want silly gimmicks like loyalty points and variou silly reward schemes. I just want a good basic price per unit and bills I can easily understand. EON is a German firm and the whole lot of them should be nationalised.

I recently saw an ad on TV for OVO and this said it had been deemed a good supplier by Which. Can I just say that has not been my experience of OVO. I was with them for one year and couldn’t wait to switch as the customer service was /i s so bad. Emails sent but no replies, hanging on the phone for up to 30 minutes before any answer and then the person on the phone was usually unable to help and made promises of reply which never happened. Most recently, after I had switched suppliers, they sent my final bill which I paid via bank transfer. This was done on 24/12/2015 but still they say I have not paid it. They even went so far as to have a Debt Collector contact me with the usual veiled threats this brings. I am not concernd since I have adequate proof of payment, nevertheless it is usually the elderly who are given this treatment and I am sure many would pay the extra money rather than fight it.
I ask this of Which. Why are you giving this company the benefit of your good name when, in my experience, they do not deserve it?
I still rate Which very highly.

Jackie Rushton says:
26 February 2016

Something needs to be done to make sure these companies are brought to task, it’s a disgrace that they are ripping off the vulnerable and making huge profits at the expanse of the users. they have got away with this for far too long it’s now time for action.

Advertising and reward points etc is just wasting time and money, they should just reduce the bills which is more truthful then trying to trick us into rewards and lots of advertising. If they are good then word of mouth will win them more customers.

Annoyed at Energy Firms; I work with young people leaving local authority care; they live in our semi-independent flats and have to pay their own bills. We try to help them secure the cheapest tariffs, but they are never eligible for the Warm Home discounts or government schemes. Why? because they are LEGALLY not allowed to claim Income support; instead getting exactly the same amount as that in Personal allowance from their social worker. So they are on the same amount of money at 16 as a 16 year old claiming income support; but because they are ‘looked after’ and unable to claim benefits they lose out. How is that fair? Have tried challenging with the energy suppliers direct, but they don’t want to know. If you don’t tick the box, tough. Failing the most vulnerable in society yet again!

R P says:
3 March 2016

and why not campaign for abolition of charges when switching

Why all this none sense of different tariffs . You can not get a straight answer from any of these companies about charges You should be able to say how much per unit /KWHr do you charge .simple as that , not what is your annual usage, what is your post code all a load of misleading waffle . We don’t need them to tell us if we have 2 bars on an electric fire it will cost more than having one on any idiot knows that .What we want to know a straight answer how much do you charge per unit .

Have you looked at Ebico zero?

I unfortunately am a stroke survivor on my own in the world. After getting nowhere with British Gas I switched to a company called “Green Star Energy”. Once these people knew about my condition (I am unable to read my own utility meters) they offered ,to sweeten the deal, to have one of there own ‘smart meters’ installed so that they would be able to accurately record my utility consumption. I set up a direct debit with my bank for them & I expected them to only charge for the utilities that I have used – which is how I wanted things to be- but I suspect they are taking the complete direct debit from my bank – which is how I didn’t want to occur. I have complained to the Energy Ombudsman & I presume that he has had a go at them on my behalf, as has Age Concern, but I am still awaiting to hear anything from “Green Star Energy” but so far they have been noted for their lack of response, when I want them to arrange to honour their contract which is getting right up my nose. (ANY SUGGESTIONS WELCOME).

According to Switch with Which? Green Star do offer tariffs where you can pay bills in arrears. If you want that rather than preemptive direct debit payments, they should be able to set that up for you.

Hopefully, you ought to be able to phone them about this. If that doesn’t work, try writing letters.

And, if nothing else seems to get their attention, just cancel your direct debit. That’ll work for sure…

I looked into tariffs that allow payment in arrears several years ago when suppliers were pushing up my direct debits even when my account had a healthy balance. These were available but an expensive way of buying energy. Payment by monthly direct debit still seems to be generally regarded as the cheapest way to buy energy.

Smart meters will show exactly how much electricity and gas costs each day and reading meters is unnecessary, but that will not change the monthly payment unless the supplier or customer takes action. With e.on my monthly direct debits were put up unnecessarily whereas with Ovo I have been able to adjust my monthly payments online and the company has not yet told me that it intended to change the payment.

I hope you find a good solution, Richard, but if you are able to manage an account online and adjust your payments, you should be in control. I do like Derek’s suggestion of cancelling a direct debit to secure attention.

With Scottish Power, my gas is a little bit cheaper under preemptive DD payments, but not by a vast amount.

That’s interesting. Do you have an online account?

Yes I do.

My case was complicated by Enstroga offering to take over by my gaz and leccy from SP, only to then tell me that they couldn’t really do the gas, because they not no account with the gas wholesaler.

Meanwhile, my fixed tariffs with SP had ended and I’d cancelled my DD with them. So my gas then default to SP’s SVT, until I arranged to move to another year’s fixed tariff with SP. At first, they offered to sign me up to one with payment in arrears, but we subsequently changed to to preemptive monthly DD’s.

Throughout this, SP were always easy to contact by phone but it took several weeks of trying before I was able to get through to Enstroga. Never mind, it won’t be long before it’s time to move from them to another supplier…

A changed to SP with the supply starting at the beginning of December. The first payment by DD came out in January. I regard that as paying in arrears and, as far as I recall, this has generally been the case with my suppliers – except a small one, GB Energy. They, like other small suppliers I’ve approached, require a payment up front which gives them working capital at my expense and also a stache of cash in the bank that can be misused before they cease trading.

Thanks Derek. I cannot remember if I compared the costs of different tariffs when I moved to Scottish Power. I landed up with them as a result of a collective switching scheme. I hope you don’t have them pushing up your direct debits when you have a large credit balance.