British Gas set to press ahead with price cuts

The gas watchdog, Ofgas, looks set to give British Gas the green light next week to press ahead with controversial selective price cuts which will see 1 million low-income households largely excluded from reductions. Clare Spottiswoode, the regulator, is thought to be keen to reach a conclusion on the price package before British Gas plans to implement the cuts on 12 January. Ofgas will give its provisional ruling on the price cuts before Christmas, though the document is unlikely to appear until next week.

Centrica, the demerged British Gas supply business, has proposed cuts of around 9 per cent, worth to pounds 28 off the average bill, for 16 million homes which pay by direct debit or settle their accounts promptly. The reductions are the result of drop in transportation charges paid to Transco, the pipeline network. However the proposals would see charges frozen for 1 million homes which use prepayment meters, with very small reductions for a further two million low income households. British Gas said it would wait for the outcome of the Ofgas probe into prepayment meter charges, but is understood to have asked the regulator to widen the price gap with direct debit customers.

Next week's consultation paper will clear the main prices cuts to most homes and is expected to endorse British Gas's claim that prepayment meters cost much more to run. The decision would face strong criticism from the Gas Consumers' Council (GCC), which has lobbied to reduce the disparity between different types of customer. John Battle, the industry minister, has also made clear the government's concern that domestic energy competition should not lead to an increase in "fuel poverty".

It also emerged yesterday that the GCC has complained to Ofgas about new concerns over domestic competition trials in Scotland and the North- east of England.

The GCC said it had received 963 complaints from customers who had switched from British Gas to new suppliers, of which almost 400 involved Eastern, one of the largest independent gas companies. The GCC said some homes had asked to cancel contracts, but had been moved to new suppliers against their will.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power