British householders have been hit year after year by rising energy prices, but there are hopes today that a price war could see the pressure on bill-payers easing.
E.ON has become the first UK energy firm to respond to the fall in wholesale prices by announcing an average price cut of 3.5 per cent in gas tariffs.
Though the drop equates to just £24 off the average annual bill, or the equivalent of two weeks' gas use, switching to a fixed-price tariff could save customers as much as £200. Furthermore, industry analysts expect the other Big Six suppliers to drop their prices in a bid to stay competitive.
Pressure on energy suppliers has been building of late, with the Treasury last week launching an investigation into why householders were not benefiting from the 30 per cent fall in oil and gas prices that has occurred over the past 12 months.
E.ON UK is so far the only supplier to react with a price drop, and despite admitting that it was a risk given Labour's price freeze proposal, Chief Executive Tony Cocker told the Express: "Today's 3.5 per cent cut to our standard gas price and the launch of the UK's cheapest energy tariffs, our one-year fixed product, demonstrate that we fundamentally believe in doing the right thing for our customers.
"We have made this decision knowing that our ability to recover costs, should the market outlook change in the months or years ahead, may be limited."
Experts throughout the industry welcomed the news, with Mark Todd, of price comparison site energyhelpline.com, saying: "It's a small but important move. We urge other suppliers to follow suit and go bigger."
What do you think? Will you be switching to E.ON or waiting to see how the Big Six respond? Leave your comments below...