BLOG: Big six cut bills but households still shell out more for energy
The UK’s ‘big 6’ energy suppliers – npower, British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Scottish Power and SSE – have now all confirmed they will be cutting their prices following the rollback of Government levies on household energy bills announced late last year.
On the surface this appears to be good news for consumers, especially as the average household energy bill will have rocketed by £792, from £472 a year in 2004 to £1,264 a year by this March.
However, a closer look at the figures reveals a disappointing outcome for customers. According to analysis by uSwitch.com, consumers will in fact be worse off than before.
The comparison site has calculated that the cuts announced by suppliers average out at 3% or £40, making the average household energy bill £1,264 a year. But this still leaves consumers paying £53 or 4.3% more for their energy than in January last year when the average annual bill was £1,212.
In addition, the cuts will only partially reverse price hikes some suppliers announced last year. SSE, for example, has said it will cut bills by 3.5% from March but this won’t be enough to counter the 8.2% price hike in November.
Another frustrating result for consumers is that some suppliers will not be implementing cuts for a further three months. British Gas customers, for example, will have to wait until 24th March, meaning they will miss the benefit on their winter bills.
As uSwitch’s Ann Robinson points out, this proves there is only so much the Government has been able to do to help consumers. She says it’s time for consumers to help themselves by shopping around and considering smaller suppliers.
With a £274 difference between the cheapest and most expensive tariffs on the market, she might just have a point.
Joanna Faith is editor of Your Money