Gas and electricity Updated:
A price war in the energy market could be on the cards after Co-operative Energy announced it is to lower its prices next year.
The ethical gas and electricity provider, which has attracted more than 16,000 customers since its launch in May 2011, is to reduce its gas and electricity charges for most customers by an average of 3% from 1 February 2012.
The move will save the average household around £35 per year.
The newest supplier to the market said the move had been driven by its pledge to provide customers with a 'fair and transparent' deal, and was also a swift reaction to the recent fall in wholesale energy prices.
The action has been praised by Energyhelpline.com, particularly as it could be the trigger for further price cuts across the domestic energy sector.
"This is a welcome Christmas present for Co-operative Energy customers and a shrewd PR tactic as the company can rightly claim to be leading the market on price cuts and delaying price rises," said Paul Green, chief executive of the independent price comparison service.
"The announcement has also focused attention on the fact that wholesale prices are falling and will no doubt leave many consumers wondering why, if Co-operative Energy can give a commitment to reducing household energy bills, then why can't the Big Six providers?
"The call to put customers before profits resonates with what many are thinking and could be a powerful way of attracting new business.
"Although a new challenger in the market with a small customer base at present, the Co-op is a big consumer brand and there is the possibility that this move could herald a much-needed round of price-cutting in the domestic energy sector."
The positive news comes shortly after SSE confirmed it would compensate customers who were wrongly persuaded on their doorstep to switch their gas and electricity supply to the company.
From January, the provider is implementing a sales guarantee for household energy customers under which anyone who shows that they switched their energy supply to SSE after being given inaccurate information or being misled will have any resulting financial loss made good.
All 400,000 existing customers who SSE signed up through the doorstep sales channel between October 2009 and July 2011 will receive a letter to make them aware of the guarantee and to let them know what they need to do if they believe they have suffered any financial loss.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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