OFGEM, Energy Minister, and fuel-poverty charity give ‘two-cheers’ to 5.3% cut in price of SSE gas

Gas ring imagePerth-based utility giant SSE today become the second of the Big Six vertically-integrated energy suppliers to cut its household gas prices in less than a week.

SSE will reduce domestic gas prices on its standard tariff in Great Britain by an average of 5.3% from 29 March – three months before its self-imposed price ‘freeze’ is due to end.

This latest reduction will save a typical household gas customer on the standard tariff £32 per year* compared to existing prices.

Last week E.On announced a 5.1% cut in its household gas price.

Will Morris, Group Managing Director, Retail at SSE, said: “When we announced our price freeze, we promised that we would not increase prices but would cut them if we could – and that’s exactly what we’ve done. This is our third successive reduction in household gas prices and shows our commitment to getting prices as low as we can and to fight for customers in a fiercely competitive market.

“Wholesale energy prices account for an ever-smaller proportion of the bill and there are different cost issues affecting electricity and gas, but I am pleased that we will be able to bring down gas prices three months before our current price freeze is due to end.”

Despite the price cuts, SSE has lost 300,000 domestic energy customers in current financial year.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “While this is welcome news for SSE’s customers, I want to see customers of other companies feel the benefit of lower wholesale gas and electricity prices. Cost savings should be passed on in full, and I have written to the UK’s leading energy suppliers to urge them to say how they plan to lower energy bills for households and businesses.”

The national fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland has called for other utility companies to follow this example in making cuts –  urging them to do so before the heating season ends.

 Norman Kerr, Director of Energy Action Scotland said: “Cuts to home energy bills have been overdue given the recent fall in wholesale costs and so the cuts in gas prices announced so far are a move in the right direction. Other companies must now follow in making cuts too.

“We would also like to see electricity prices fall, particularly as there are many households in Scotland which are off the gas grid and so rely on electric heating.

 “The timing as well as the level of cuts is important.  We want to see cuts in fuel prices kick in before the end of winter and while the heating season is still in force.

 “People struggling with fuel bills and keeping warm at home need this help as soon as possible.”

Dermot Nolan, Chief Executive of OFGEM, said “This is a move in the right direction, but if the market is as competitive as suppliers claim we would expect to see further price cuts.

“We referred the market to the Competition Authority because we feel competition is not bearing down fast or hard enough on consumers bills.”

The investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been examining the energy market for 18 months and is due to report its findings by June this year.

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