British Gas has been criticised for not doing more to help hard-pressed households – on the day it announced a 5% reduction in gas prices.
The move means 6.9 million British Gas customers will see their bills trimmed by an average £35 a year, and is expected to trigger a raft of similar reductions from rival suppliers.
However, uSwitch consumer policy director Ann Robinson accused Britain’s biggest energy supplier of “short-changing” its customers and claimed the price cuts should have been far bigger given the continued cheap cost of wholesale energy.
She said: “British Gas is the biggest energy supplier so they should really be market leading, setting the trend for the others to follow suit.
“Although the price cut is welcome, I wanted them to do far more and almost shame the other companies into taking action. But instead we get a price cut that is far smaller than it should be. It short-changes their customers and lets the other suppliers off the hook.”
“I want all of the suppliers to give customers a decent price cut to reflect what has happened to wholesale prices.”
“We have seen these prices falling; they are at a really low level. And we are not talking about months – it has been well over a year now.
“The reason suppliers give for not cutting prices more is that they buy their stock in advance, and thus was purchased at a pricier level, but that excuse no longer holds water.
“Now is the time for big suppliers to treat customers fairly.”
British Gas declined to respond on Ms Robinson’s comments but, in a release about its cut, did point to the fact that this was the second such reduction this year.
In the release, British Gas MD Mark Hodges said: “British Gas is committed to offering competitively priced products, and the price cut we’re announcing today demonstrates that. It’s the second price reduction from British Gas this year, bringing bills down by an annual average of £72.”
How energy suppliers have changed their gas prices this year, according to uSwitch:
British Gas – down 5% (twice)
E.ON – down 3.5%
ScottishPower – down 4.8%
Npower down 5.1%
SSE – down 4.1%