E.ON refuses to budge on gas bills

13 February 2009

E.ON has become the latest energy provider to cut electricity bills, with more than four million people due to receive a 9% reduction from the end of March.

Although the majority of the firm’s customers will benefit from the cut, it has not announced any reductions to gas bills – which increased by a total of 31% last year.

The move follows British Gas confirming it will slash its standard tariff gas prices by 10% from 19 February and Scottish and Southern Energy unveiling price cuts of up to 9% from March. Most recently, EDF Energy announced it was cutting the cost of its fixed-rate energy tariff by an average of £65 a year.

E.ON, which has around 5.5 million customers in the UK, increased electricity bills by 9.7% last February and by 16% in August.

Graham Bartlett, managing director of E.ON’s retail business, says: “We know our customers are facing difficult times and we are continuing to monitor the market to ensure the prices we offer our customers are as competitive as possible.”

The cut will mean the average bill for standard customers will fall to £1,253 - £44 cheaper per annum - according to moneysupermarket.com.

However, E.ON won't be cutting gas bills at this time despite the cost of crude oil decreasing significantly since its peak last year. Bartlett says its gas tariff is one of the cheapest on the market.

Energy experts have criticised both Scottish and Southern Energy for announcing price cuts months ahead of actually implementing them.

Gareth Kloet, head of utilities at Confused.com, says: "E.ON has made its announcement two months before the changes will become effective. With the cold weather continuing, it's not what customers want to hear. Coupled with the fact it is not decreasing its gas prices, this announcement leaves a lot to be desired."

There is also anger that gas bills won't be cut in March.

"Although the decreases seen so far are a step in the right direction, energy users have already paid through the nose for their winter energy consumption,"explains Scott Byrom, utilities manager at moneysupermarket.com.

"Many consumers will hope for further price cuts on the horizon, and with three more energy giants yet to put their cards on the table, we can expect more providers to respond with similar price cuts."

Byrom adds that it is crucial that people are aware of how the providers are altering their prices: E.ON's cut is just to electricity, British Gas cut gas only and Scottish & Southern reduced prices on both.

"My advice to consumers is to arm themselves with information on their current provider, tariff and consumption, in order to make the right choice when shopping around for the best deal," he says. "There are definitely savings to be had out there and consumers should be proactive in looking to reduce the cost of their bills."

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