Another of the major energy suppliers has announced a cut in the price of gas, prompting calls for the others to follow suit.
But although SSE’s announcement will bring a little cheer to its customers, there has been criticism that its headline-making move will not come into effect for another two months.
Eon got the ball rolling last week with a 5.1% cut to its standard gas tariff, and SSE has now followed suit with a 5.2% cut. It is thought this will save an average of £32 a year for customers on its standard tariff.
“When we announced our price freeze [in March 2014], we promised that we would not increase prices but would cut them if we could – and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” said SSE’s Will Morris.
“This is our third successive reduction in household gas prices and shows our commitment to getting prices as low as we can and to fight for customers in a fiercely competitive market.
“Wholesale energy prices account for an ever-smaller proportion of the bill and there are different cost issues affecting electricity and gas, but I am pleased that we will be able to bring down gas prices three months before our current price freeze is due to end.”
But Ann Robinson, of Uswitch, gave the news only a lukewarm welcome.
“Not only is this another token-gesture cut but why should customers have to wait until after Easter to see reductions to their bills?” she said.
“Lower prices are good news but prices can and should be cut much further. Consumers should be seeing bill reductions of at least 10% – around £120 a year – on both gas and electricity, given record low wholesale costs.”
Ms Robinson also called on the other suppliers to step up to the plate.
“As three of the Big Six suppliers have now lowered standard prices twice since the start of 2015, the pressure is now well and truly on EDF, Npower and Scottish Power to follow suit.”
Stephen Murray, at Moneysupermarket, added: “These price cuts are long overdue in view of the sharp falls seen in wholesale gas prices over the last year. And while this is, of course, a step in the right direction, it’s disappointing customers have to wait until the end of March, when the winter is almost over, to see the savings come into effect.”