By Ben Salisbury
The price reductions announced by four of the “big six” energy companies this week has not made as much difference to the best-buy tables for gas and electricity as might be expected from the huge fanfare given to the cuts and the self-congratulatory tone seen in some of the statements and adverts from the utility suppliers who have cut prices.
What has happened?
On Wednesday EDF Energy announced a five per cent cut in gas prices from February 7th. The following day SSE said it would cut gas prices by 4.5 per cent from March 26th and British Gas announced a cut of five per cent in its electricity prices with immediate effect.
On Friday npower became the fourth of the “big six” to announce a price cut this week. It will cut the cost of gas by five per cent from February 1st. The other two companies, E:on and Scottish Power have remained tight-lipped so far.
Why has it happened?
However, although it is the big suppliers that have attracted the headlines this week, it should be noted that it is possible that none of them would have lowered prices if it had not been for the actions of smaller suppliers. Admittedly the mild winter and lower wholesale costs have played a part too.
The Co-op announced a three per cent cut in gas prices and Ovo Energy cut the price of its dual fuel tariff by five per cent. Ovo also cancelled planned price increases in November.
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Are the cuts as good as they seem?
The big six suppliers certainly did not cancel price increases in the autumn. They raised prices by an average of over ten per cent for gas and by nearly as much for electricity. The price cuts announced this week recover barely a third of the price increases they made between August and October last year.
So, have the price cuts made much difference to the best-buy tables and which supplier represents the best value now after the price cuts have been factored in.
The latest analysis from price comparison website uSwitch.com, based on a medium user consuming 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas with bill sizes averaged across all regions shows that First: Utility are top of the best-buys:-
It is important to bear in mind that these prices will vary by region and that you need to check the unit prices that apply to where you live. This guide shows you exactly how to work out youe energy usage and apply it to any tariff to work out exactly how much your gas and electricity will cost.
|First: Utility||isave dual fuel V9||£1,030|
|Ovo Energy||New energy fixed||£1,061|
|ScottishPower||Online fixed energy May 2013||£1,070|
|npower||Go fix 10||£1,078|
|EDF Energy||Fix to March 2013||£1,080|
|E:On||Save online 11||£1,106|
|British Gas||Online energy||£1,142|
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