EDF Energy to cut gas price by 5%
- 11 January 2012
- From the section Business
EDF Energy is to cut its typical gas bill for UK domestic customers by £38, or 5%, from 7 February.
The move, affecting 1.4 million customers, follows a sharp fall in the price of wholesale gas over the winter period due to the mild weather.
EDF increased its gas bills by 15.4% in November in response to rising wholesale gas prices.
The move to cut bills is the first by a major supplier and is likely to be followed by other energy companies.
The company did not announce any cut to the price of its electricity bills, which rose by 4.5% in November.
"What customers want more than anything else is fair, clear and transparent prices. We know they want action rather than words. That is why we are the first major supplier to announce a cut and were the last to increase prices," said Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy.
The company said that the wholesale price of gas had fallen 9.2% since it announced it was putting up bills on 10 November last year.
The typical bill will fall by about £38 a year, according to price comparison website Uswitch, with the average dual-fuel customer paying about £1,203 a year.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has called on the rest of the major suppliers to follow suit and cut their prices.
He said he had previous been concerned that prices had gone "up like a rocket and down like a feather" in response to wholesale prices.
Some smaller suppliers have announced price cuts of some tariffs or cancellation of price rises in recent weeks.
EDF has been one of the most active in marketing price changes. It was the last of the six major suppliers to raise prices this autumn. Last winter, it held its prices until March amid widespread price rises.
However, the price cut comes as an annual customer satisfaction survey carried out by the consumers' association Which? showed EDF second bottom of the "big six" energy suppliers.
In all, 43% of customers said they were satisfied with the company's service or likely to recommend it to others.
Of the big six suppliers, only one, Scottish and Southern Energy, received a score of more than 50%, getting 51%.
Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, welcomed EDF's upcoming price cut.
"Now the pressure is on for the rest of the major suppliers to follow suit. But as our survey today shows, there remain huge problems with customer service in energy as well as high prices," he said.
This report suggested that, when customers had gripes about their energy company, some 90% of unsolved complaints were not taken to the energy ombudsman for resolution.
The ombudsman can get involved if the complaint has been outstanding for eight weeks, or if the supplier sends a letter saying the two parties are in deadlock.
Some 95% of complaints looked at by the ombudsman are upheld and 70% of them receive financial redress, Which? said.
Meanwhile, Adam Scorer, of watchdog Consumer Focus, said the price cut could push others into following suit.
"This is an overdue but nonetheless welcome move. The cut is not enormous given the scale of increases last year but it creates some important momentum in the market," he said.
"Wholesale prices are at their lowest point in almost a year and the trend is down. Underlying market fundamentals - especially wholesale prices - should determine the price consumers pay. These fundamentals have clearly changed in the energy market and retailers should respond."