One of the UK's major energy suppliers offered a glimmer of hope for cash-strapped households today by announcing a cut in tariffs.
EDF Energy increased its gas bills by 15.4% in November but says it will now cut them by 5% after a 9.2% decline in the one-year wholesale gas price.
- EDF to cut gas prices by 5%
- Speculation that British Gas may reduce prices
- Move follows fall in wholesale gas price
The move follows speculation over the weekend that British Gas owner Centrica is considering a 10% reduction in households energy bills.
EDF was the last of the major suppliers to raise its energy prices in the autumn and is the first to announce a cut.
Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert.com creator, says: "It's nice to see prices trickling down somewhat, though of course this move isn't close to making up for the mammoth hikes we saw at the end of last year.
"And as energy companies are like sheep it's likely the rest of the companies will follow, trickling their prices down a little too. However let's remember, as there's no electricity price cut, this is only likely to slip bills down on average by around two to three percent.
"Far more important for most people is to ensure they're on the very cheapest tariff which can save over 20%, and that they take advantage of the raft of free insulation offers that are out there at the moment."
EDF says an average dual fuel bill customer with typical consumption paying by monthly direct debit will face a bill of £1,137 a year, compared with the current figure of £1,218 a year for British Gas.
The cut in prices, which will be introduced on 7 February, comes after several years of price hikes by EDF.
Last November the supplier increased its tariffs for gas by 15.4% after a previous 6.5% rise in February the same year.
It also increased prices in 2008, by 12.9% in January and 22% in July, and in 2006 it brought bills up by 14.7% in February and 19% in July.
Previous price cuts took place in July 2007, by 10.2%, and March 2010, when they went down by 4%.
Chief executive Vincent de Rivaz says: "What customers want more than anything else is fair, clear and transparent prices.
"We know they want action rather than words. That is why we are the first major supplier to announce a cut and were the last to increase prices."