Thursday, February 08, 2007

British Gas Take The Plunge At Last!

Hello My Friends,

I hope you're well despite the snow and cold - I was supposed to be travelling to North Yorkshire today to meet my good friend Stan the Man but we have agreed to postpone.

I will tell you more about Stan the Man next week - he is an absolute star!

So good news today at long last from BG - 17% price reduction on domestic bills for gas and electricity from March 2007 - wehey!!

The group says it will cut gas prices by 17% and electricity by 11%. It added that the average annual dual fuel bill would fall by £167 to £953.

British Gas's move has raised expectations that other energy companies might also cut their prices.

The company, owned by Centrica, has been criticised for its high tariffs, which consumer groups say affect vulnerable consumers.

Since 2002, British Gas has increased gas prices seven times and electricity tariffs six times, while it last cut prices in the spring of 2000.

Experts suggest the latest reductions could help the group hang onto its customers.

Supplier switch

More than four million people switched their electricity or gas supplier last year in a bid to cut their bills, recent figures from energy regulator Ofgem showed.

If wholesale prices fall further this year, then we will pass those price reductions on to our customers
Sam Laidlaw, Centrica chief executive

British Gas would now be offering the "lowest prices on the street" to customers, as well as introducing a new social tariff for "very vulnerable customers", Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw said.

Centrica announced last month that it would be cutting its prices as wholesale prices had fallen.

But, while welcoming the drop in prices, consumer groups criticised Centrica for failing to pass on a 50% drop in wholesale prices to consumers.

The firm had "decided to boost its profits rather than pass on potential savings", Paul Green of Energyhelpline said.

"In the next couple of weeks, we expect all the other major suppliers to announce price falls," he added.

"All the suppliers are likely to follow British Gas by passing on only a small part of the wholesale price falls to their customers.

"This will cause a growing feeling of outrage among consumers as they struggle to pay their winter gas and electricity bills."

Add into the mix the fact that British Gas lost over 1 million customers last year and are being forced to reduce their staffing levels as a result by 1300 employees being made redundant, its not difficult to see why BG are saying that they are offering the best consumer deal - which is not actually the case anyway so don't be fooled and jump to them for your utility supply.

Further cuts?

However Centrica's chief defended the company's decision not to pass on the whole of a 50% drop in wholesale prices on to customers.

"We don't go and buy our gas purely on a day-to-day spot basis; we go out and have to buy our gas on a long-term basis," Mr Laidlaw told the BBC.

"If wholesale prices fall further this year, then we will pass those price reductions on to our customers."

British Gas is the first UK company to announce definitive price cuts so far, after a round of increases from various suppliers.

Last week, Scottish & Southern Energy announced it would be cutting its prices, but declined to say by how much and when.

Make Good Choices - don't use Uswitch and hang on to see how the other energy suppliers react over the coming weeks - there will be some better deals very soon!

From Your Friend The Energy Angel

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