EDF Energy and ScottishPower have both confirmed they will cut gas bills – but commentators say it’s a case of too little, too late.
The two suppliers are the final firms from the 'big six' to announce price cuts. Find out how other suppliers have changed prices
EDF Energy will reduce gas bills for customers by 4% from 26 March, while ScottishPower will introduce a more generous cut of 8% from the month’s end.
However, the cuts have provoked outrage – largely because they are being introduced at the end of the costly winter period.
Gareth Kloet, head of utilities at confused.com, says: “This is yet another example of energy companies having a ‘spring sale’, the equivalent of discounting winter clothing at the end of the season - too little too late.”
He adds: “It’s hard to believe that these huge companies are able to advertise the fact that they are cutting prices, when they are failing to actually proceed with the cuts until sometime later - when it's likely to have less benefit to the customer.”
EDF Energy, which has over five million customers, reduced electricity bulls by 8.8% last year. However, in 2008 it hiked bills by nearly 25% while gas customers saw their bills increase by just under 35%.
ScottishPower, meanwhile, reduced electricity bills by 3% and gas bills by 7.5% in 2009. The previous year the supplier put electricity bills up by 23% and gas bills by 49%.
Even taking into account cuts this year, household energy bills have ended up around £280 higher than two years ago, according to uSwitch.com.
"It’s worth pointing out that while all six major suppliers have announced cuts only one – British Gas – has already implemented it," adds Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com. "The other suppliers’ customers won’t be seeing the reductions until towards the end of March."
She predicts that, following these cuts, suppliers will hold off making any more changes to their prices.
Raymond Jack, ScottishPower's director of energy retail, says: “We understand that household budgets are tighter as a result of the economic recession and recognise our customers are concerned about the effect of the recent cold weather on their heating bills. With this in mind we are pleased to be able to pass on lower prices and offer additional support to those most in need.”