EDF Energy is to cut gas prices by 5 per cent from 7 February, the first major energy supplier to respond to a 10 per cent drop in underlying wholesale costs due to mild weather and declining economic activity.
The "Big Six" energy suppliers increased tariffs last autumn, with EDF raising gas prices by 15.4 per cent in November, as wholesale prices jumped, helping to push inflation to a three-year high.
Consumer groups called on other firms to follow suit after a prolonged period of price rises since the last round of tariff cuts in spring 2010.
Mark Todd, director of price comparison service Energyhelpline.com, said: "EDF has thrown the first punch in the energy price war to come."
So far, only two smaller suppliers, Co-operative Energy and Ovo Energy, have cut prices.
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