Energy customers worried their bills will be high this year could breathe a sigh of relief after hearing that British Gas has committed to freezing its prices this winter – a move that some experts say could encourage other providers to do the same.
Last week, the energy supplier promised to maintain the price of its standard variable energy tariff until April 2017, which will go a long way to helping alleviate financial burdens for some of its six million customers.
This step has been met with support, particularly by Citizens Advice which says it will “provide some relief” to those paying lots for their energy bills.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of the organisation, said British Gas could motivate other members of the Big Six energy suppliers to also freeze their costs.
“Larger energy firms didn’t pass on savings when wholesale prices were going down, so those savings can be used to support customers now that wholesale prices are rising and the pound is down,” she stated.
Ms Guy also noted that while British Gas’ commitment to restricting the rise in energy bills is welcome, the government should also help with household finances.
She asked for a more permanent way to reduce standard tariffs, such as switching low-income customers who have been on standard tariffs for a long time to cheaper deals.
As well as maintaining costs for the next few months, British Gas has also launched a new offer that enables customers to fix their energy bills for three winters in a row.
It also wants to bring its smart meters to more customers, claiming that this will provide bill payers with more information to keep their costs down by reducing the amount of energy they use.
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