SSE is now the fifth of the Britain’s Big Six energy firms to have reduced gas prices, following cuts from E.On, British Gas, Scottish Power and Npower. EDF is the only one of the big six yet to announce price cuts.
The Perth-based company – which also trades under the Scottish Hydro, Southern Electric and Swalec brand names – said it would extend by at least six months its previous guarantee not to increase its gas and electricity prices, until July 2016.
The UK’s energy suppliers have been under pressure from politicians and consumer groups to respond more quickly to the recent large fall in oil prices and wholesale gas prices. Wholesale gas prices have fallen by about 25% in recent months following the 50% drop in oil prices.
The industry is widely regarded as being quick to put prices up when costs rise, but slow to reduce them when costs fall.
For that reason, the energy industry is undergoing a full scale inquiry from the UK Competition and Markets Authority – which now also operates an office in Edinburgh – into the way it operates. The CMA inquiry is expected to report its provisional findings in May or June.