EDF has joined British Gas, Scottish & Southern Energy, E.ON and npower in cutting gas prices, offering its customers a four per cent reduction.
Like many of the other Big Six which have already cut prices, EDF's reduction will not come into effect until near the end of March, which industry experts have said will be less beneficial to consumers who by then will be turning down their thermostats following the UK's coldest winter for 30 years.
Scottish Power is the only one of the Big Six remaining which has not yet cut its gas prices this year, before the introduction of new tariffs being announced at the end of the month.
Industry experts have calculated that the various price cuts will not make a drastic difference to consumers' energy bills – typically about £50 a year – so they will do little to counteract a 16 per cent increase in energy debt over the last two years, as identified by uSwitch.
Consumers now owe their energy suppliers £728million, the comparison website has found, with 5.5million UK households in debt to their provider, at an average of £132 – this marks a five per cent increase on last year, and a 16 per cent rise compared to 2008.
Consumers had to withstand a 42 per cent increase in energy bills in 2008, but last year's price cuts only amounted to an average four per cent reduction in bills, to match this year's average cut, thus far.
Commenting on energy prices, Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, says that the impact of the 42% rise in energy prices in 2008 "cannot be underestimated," that "consumers are still feeling the pain and subsequent price cuts have done little to ease this."
Energy debt can be a barrier to switching energy providers in search of a cheaper deal, but Ofgem has been working to minimise the number of switches blocked for this reason, Ms Robinson continued.
"Households will have to adapt if they are to protect themselves from spiralling energy bills," she said. "There are two key steps to this - make sure you are paying the lowest possible price for your energy and cut down on the amount of energy you use."
© Fair Investment Company Ltd