Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

SSE Joins EON to Cut U.K. Natural Gas Bills as Fuel Costs Slump

SSE Plc became the second of the U.K.’s six biggest utilities to cut household natural gas prices this year after wholesale costs plunged to their lowest since 2010.

The Perth, Scotland-based company’s 5.3 percent price reduction, effective from March 29, will reduce annual energy bills by an average of 32 pounds ($46), SSE said Wednesday in a statement. EON SE’s U.K. unit was the first supplier in this latest round to announce price cuts on Jan. 20. Neither utility has cut electricity bills.

Consumer lobby groups have criticized utilities for not passing on to customers a 34 percent drop in wholesale gas prices in the U.K. last year. Utilities say they don’t pass on the full extent of declines or increases in the wholesale market because they have to cover fixed costs.

“SSE has taken a step in the right direction and I urge other suppliers to follow suit,” said Amber Rudd, secretary of state for energy and climate change, said in a statement.

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority is investigating U.K. energy companies in an industrywide probe into competition among suppliers that started in June 2014.

“While recent price cuts by EON are a step in the right direction, we believe there is scope for further cuts to energy bills by suppliers,” Dermot Nolan, the chief executive officer of the U.K.’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, said Wednesday.

SSE last cut prices by 4.1 percent in January last year.

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