Energy company npower fired the latest shot in the growing energy price war today as it announced cuts in gas and electricity bills for six million domestic customers.
The company, owned by German group RWE, said gas prices would fall by 16 per cent from April 30, with average electricity bills also due to fall three per cent.
Npower, which supplies to England, Scotland and Wales, said the cuts would give it the cheapest gas prices in Britain. The intensification of the price war comes after rival British Gas said ten days ago it would cut gas prices by 17 per cent and electricity bills 11 per cent from March 12.
Energy group Powergen also unveiled lower prices for new customers last week, but is yet to announce lower prices for its six million existing customers.
Following British Gas’s move at the beginning of the month, other major energy players including Scottish and Southern Energy and Scottish Power are also expected to follow suit with price cuts shortly.
Npower claimed the cuts would make it cheaper than British Gas for its three million ‘dual fuel’ customers.
But Adam Scorer, campaigns director at independent energy watchdog energywatch, said while they welcomed the decision to cut gas bills, they were unhappy at the delay in making the move until the end of April.
He also attacked npower’s three per cent reduction in electricity costs as "smacking of tokenism".
"Energy consumers wanted and expected a full blown price war, it appears that all they are getting are skirmishes," he added.
"This promise of jam tomorrow suggests energy companies are failing to grasp that they need to provide their customers with better value if they are going to keep hold of them."
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at independent price comparison and switching service uSwitch, also accused npower of being "less than generous" with its customers.