British Gas has announced today that it is cutting its gas prices by seven per cent, with immediate effect.
As the UK's largest residential energy supplier, the move from British Gas is likely to spark a price war in the energy market.
British Gas estimates that the price cut will benefit eight million households, and will make it the cheapest gas provider across the country, regardless of how customers pay, in addition to being the cheapest electricity and dual fuel provider.
The reduction will cut an average £55 off British Gas customers' annual gas bills, the supplier claims, and follows two previous reductions in the last 12 months, bringing their average bill down by £187 a year.
Announcing the gas price cut, and commenting on recent fears about record winter energy bills, Phil Bentley, British Gas managing director, said:
"I'm pleased we're able to offer our customers some extra help with this gas price cut - and that we're able to do this while it's still winter, allowing our customers to really feel the benefit."
Comparison website uSwitch.com has calculated that the price cut from British Gas will cause its average customer's dual fuel bill to drop from £1,202 to £1,147, but that this is still 26 per cent higher than it was in January 2008.
Following the gas and electricity price increases of 2008 – when they rose an average 42 per cent – suppliers only dropped them again by four per cent in 2009.
However, uSwitch adds, British Gas has cut its prices more than any other supplier in the last 12 months, and it welcomes today's announcement, the first energy price cut of 2010.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, says: "This is the news that we've all been waiting for - expectations of a price cut have been in the air for some time now, but finally consumers get to see the colour of suppliers' money."
She added: "Now that British Gas has made the move other suppliers will be under pressure to follow suit."
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