Scottish Gas puts savings in pipeline with electricity cuts

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SCOTTISH Gas has cut electricity prices by an average of ten per cent.

Today's cut follows the company's ten per cent reduction in gas prices, which came into force in February this year, and means customers will save around 132 a year on dual fuel bills.

Energy giant Centrica, which owns British Gas and operates as Scottish Gas north of the Border, said the reduction would affect 4.5 million customers across the UK and made it the cheapest electricity supplier in Britain.

Managing director, Phil Bentley, said: "We want to do what we can, when we can, for our customers. When we were able to cut gas prices earlier this year, we did. I'm pleased we are now able to cut an average ten per cent from our standard electricity prices and continue to help our customers during this economic downturn."

British Gas reported a 379 profit for 2008, with Centrica's total operating profit for the year 1.94 billion across all its businesses. But the results represented a 34 per cent drop for the firm's UK residential arm, which was blamed on volatile wholesale prices.

The company sparked outrage in 2007 when it posted a 571m surplus, driven by delays in passing on lower wholesale costs in the first half of the year.

And delays in passing on savings remains an emotive issue.

Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP John Barrett last month launched an attack on energy companies for failing to pass on a fall in prices to consumers.

He said energy companies had to be more honest and transparent about how they calculated gas and electricity bills and pass on savings more quickly. Mr Barrett said he was tabling a Commons motion calling on the Government to take action if companies refuse to pass on price cuts to families.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Mike O'Brien welcomed the price cuts He said: "It's important to see energy companies passing on wholesale price cuts to their customers."

Today's cut means all Scottish Gas electricity customers on standard tariffs – including those with pre-payment meters – will see a reduction in what they pay.

The average annual dual fuel bill for customers is now 1,127, making it the cheapest in the UK for customers who pay by monthly direct debit, the company added.

In February, Scottish & Southern Energy, which owns Scottish Hydro Electric, cut average electricity prices by nine per cent and shaved four per cent off the average gas bill.

The company, the UK's second-biggest energy supplier with more than one million customers in Scotland, said that the average dual fuel user would save 66 a year as a result of the price cut.