SSE announces energy price cut
Scottish and Southern Energy customers will see their gas bills reduce by 4% and their electricity bills by 9% on 30 March.
The cut comes a few weeks after British Gas became the first company to cut its energy bills, with a 10% reduction on its standard tariff gas prices due to be introduced on 19 February.
Last year Scottish and Southern Energy's eight million customers saw their bills increase by 14.2% (electricity) and 15.8% (gas) in April, and by 19.2% (electricity) and 29.2% (gas) in August.
The energy provider, which is the second biggest in the UK after British Gas, says that the falls in wholesale energy prices in October 2008 have been maintained and paving the way for price cuts. The announcement was part of the firm's interim management statement, which revealed it remains on course to deliver “sustained growth” in the years ahead.
Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish Southern Energy, says: "I am pleased with the financial and operational progress we have made so far in the second half of this financial year, including the announcement of a cut in prices for our energy customers.”
Scottish & Southern Energy's cut means that, from 30 March, households with an average energy consumption can expect to see a £66 drop in their annual dual bill with standard prices falling to £1,193 a year, according to moneysupermarket.com. In comparison, British Gas dual tariff customers will see their bills fall to £1,245 per annum from 19 February - £52 more expensive.
However, Scott Byrom, utilities manager at moneysupermarket.com, says British Gas' online tariff Websaver1 is still be the cheapest product on the market at £1,059 per annum.
Gareth Kloet, head of utilities at Confused.com, says the cuts do not go far enough.
“Scottish & Southern Energy has made the announcement almost two months before the changes will become effective, consequently missing the severe cold weather that the country is currently suffering from," he explains.
"Customers are not just concerned about what they might pay in the future for their energy but, more importantly, they are worried about whether they can afford to switch on the heating now, when they need it the most."
The advice to Scottish & Southern Energy customers, as well as those still waiting for their energy provider to reduce their bills, is to use a utlity comparison service to see if they could get a better deal elsewhere.
However, it may also be worth waiting to see how other energy suppliers react - more cuts are expected and opting for a fixed tariff now could prove a mistake down the line.
"Although a decrease is certainly a step in the right direction, British households have already paid through the nose for their winter energy consumption," says moneysupermarket.com's Byrom.
"Many consumers will hope that there will be further price cuts on the horizon and with four more energy giants to show their hand, we can expect more providers to respond with similar price cuts. It will also be interesting to see whether British Gas retaliates at some point with a further price drop to retain its crown as the UK's cheapest energy supplier."