Hats off to British Gas?

British Gas is cutting gas prices by 10%. It's just a shame it hiked them 50% last year.

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The cut will take effect on February 19, and represents the first gas price reduction by a major energy supplier since 2007. It certainly marks a departure from last summer, when most providers turned up the heat on their customers with a 20% price increase. British Gas whacked theirs up by 35%, on top of an existing 15% hike already imposed in January.

The news may ease concerns over swathes of the population slipping into fuel poverty as the winter draws on. A spot of confidence in our energy supply is always heart-warming, especially when half of Europe has been suffering with no heating in the wake of Russia's energy spat with the Ukraine.

To be fair, the British Gas price cuts haven't come about entirely voluntarily. Energy providers had regulator Ofgem on their case at the end of last year, demanding pledges to cut household bills to reflect changes in wholesale energy prices - linked to the price of oil, which has nose-dived from the peak it reached last summer. It only makes sense that punters should reap the benefit. The other ‘big six' energy suppliers are likely to follow the British Gas lead.

Such price drops are of course welcome and may well continue, but we shouldn't chuck away our mittens and scarves just yet. The Russia-Ukraine situation may not affect us much now, given that we don't import a significant amount of gas directly from Russia, but if it results in driving Russia's current customers towards our suppliers in Scandinavia, we may find the sudden surge in demand pushing our wholesale prices back up. Makes you long for the days when all the gas we needed came from the North Sea, doesn't it?

British Gas reckons the 10% cut will save customers £84 off their annual gas bill. Of course, removing another 40%, to cancel out the 50% hike of last year, would be an even warmer gesture.


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