Last week, big six supplier SSE announced that it would freeze its gas and electricity prices until January 2016.
This was a welcome commitment according to Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch:
“After another winter of rationing heat and hot water to cope with rising bills, SSE customers have at least been offered the peace of mind they desperately need.”
Now the big question on many UK consumers’ minds is whether the rest of the big six — British Gas, npower, EDF Energy, ScottishPower and E.ON — will make similar moves.
Rumours of a freeze
A decision by Credit Suisse, a global financial services firm, to lower its estimates for British Gas’s parent company Centrica was announced with the explanation that after SSE’s move, British Gas “has to follow suit.”
Citing that SSE has a 16% share of the UK market, and British Gas a 30% share, The banking firm went on to predict that the energy supply industry will not increase its prices for domestic until 2016.
British Gas raised its prices by 9.2% last November. In March, the supplier announced it would begin offering free electricity to customers on Saturdays.
Ministers vote against Miliband’s freeze
Meanwhile, MPs failed to provide enough support to a Commons motion regarding the controversial price freeze for all energy suppliers — it was defeated in a vote yesterday by 27 votes.
The 20-month energy costs freeze was proposed by Ed Miliband last autumn, amongst a flurry of energy price rise rumours.
The promise that it would save households up to £120 a year was met with criticism.
Angela Knight, Chief Executive of Energy UK, said that it would also put a freeze on investment money required to build and renew power stations.
At the time of the announcement last year, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing likened the proposal’s repercussions to be similar to that of California’s in 2000, when widespread blackouts occurred.