Npower to cut average prices by 5.2%
Big Six energy provider npower said it will cut its average prices by 5.2%, which will reduce its standard domestic gas tariff by £32.
The firm, owned by German power group RWE, said the reduction will apply to around 1.2 million customers, and means that on average the annual standard npower domestic gas tariff falls to £591 per year, from £623.
The cut from npower follows similar cuts from rival Big Six providers SSE and E.On last month.
Npower RWE chief executive Paul Coffey said: "This cut in gas prices is welcome news for many of our customers. We have balanced the wholesale price fall against increases in the other costs we are charged."
The power firm said the reduction will take effect from March 28.
However, as the cuts will not come into effect until after the winter it leaves the firm open to criticism that its customers will not get the greatest benefit from the reduction.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at price comparison service uSwitch.com, said npower's price cut was a "token gesture".
She said: "Consumers will be exasperated at yet another small cut from the big six which, quite frankly, is too little too late.
"Hard-pressed customers should be seeing double-digit cuts to bills to help stay warm and keep the lights on this winter."
Major provider ScottishPower has also announced similar price cuts to its rivals.
Martin Lewis, founder of price comparison website Money Saving Expert, said: "Baaah - so now the fourth of the big six sheep has bleated and followed the others in cutting prices.
"Yet again though the amount is trivial - a reduction of £32 a year, just 5% on gas only not electricity, and nothing close to the drop in wholesale prices.
"The real picture here is that even after these small cuts come into effect the vast majority of households in the UK will be massively overpaying for their energy."
Major energy markets argue their prices are competitive and their investment costs are high.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating the energy market since last summer.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "The price drop is a step in the right direction for the sector but energy suppliers shouldn't just draw a line in the sand here.
"Wholesale costs have plummeted drastically in the last year and it's only fair customers see the benefits of that. Other firms must now act urgently and slash their bills."