Npower has today become the fourth energy provider to announce price cuts this year, but the drop doesn't take effect until 16 February and the 5.1% reduction only applies to gas.
Today's news will shave £35 per year off Npower's average £1,204 annual dual fuel bill for those who pay by monthly direct debit. (Join our free Cheap Energy Club to find the cheapest tariff for you.)
But customers can save far more by switching to a cheaper deal. Our top pick for the cheapest short fix costs £919/year for the average dual fuel customer paying by monthly direct debit from Extra Energy – a saving of £250 on Npower's standard tariff even after factoring in the price cut.
The reduction will apply to all customers on Npower's standard gas tariff – including those on a prepayment meter – whether dual fuel customers or gas-only.
Electricity-only customers and those on fixed tariffs – which usually lock you in at a set price and don't change when a supplier increases or decreases price – won't benefit from the price reduction.
Npower says it is making the cut as a result of a fall in the wholesale price of gas. However, it adds that savings it has made from this have to be balanced against the rise in energy transportation and distribution costs it has faced.
It's the fourth big six energy supplier to announce it is shaving gas prices following political pressure to do so:
- British Gas is cutting gas prices by 5% from 27 February (see the British Gas to cut gas prices MSE News story).
- E.on cut gas prices by 3.5% on 13 January (see the E.on cuts gas prices MSE News story for more).
- Scottish Power is cutting gas prices by 4.8% from 20 February (see the Scottish Power trims standard gas price MSE News story).
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'These cuts are trivial'
Martin Lewis, founder and editor of MoneySavingExpert.com, says: "The fourth of the big six power companies has bleated and followed the other sheep into the pen. In almost cartel-like fashion, Npower has cut its gas price by 5.1%, similar to Scottish Power and British Gas, and unlike Eon, which put its new price in place instantly, the other three are all doing it in mid to late February – so they can keep the rate high for more of the high-use winter period.
"I continue to be concerned that the news of the price cuts will give people a false confidence they're on a good deal. That simply isn't true as while Npower is cutting its standard price for someone on typical usage to £1,169 per year, the market's cheapest deals are about £915 a year on the same usage – showing quite how outrageously expensive standard tariffs, which most people in the UK are on, are.
"With the wholesale price of energy having come down by about 20%-30% since the start of 2014, and the prices of the cheapest switchers' deals having dropped more than 10%, these cuts are trivial. The urgent warning is for everyone to do a comparison (using a site that includes all tariffs – as the Cheap Energy Club does) to check if they’re overpaying and which their cheapest is."
Wholesale prices 'under review'
Paul Massara, CEO RWE Npower, says: "Today's announcement means we can get the benefits we are seeing in the wholesale market to our customers' pockets as soon as possible. We have balanced this wholesale price fall against increases in the other costs we are charged.
"If there are further falls in wholesale prices, we will keep these under review to see if we can cut further."