E.ON has announced it will reduce its standard gas price by an average of 3.5% with immediate effect, equivalent to two weeks' gas use or £24 off an annual gas bill.

The energy company has also launched the UK's cheapest energy tariff, it claims, with a one-year, dual fuel fixed product that is available from today and is open to new and existing customers alike.

Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.ON UK, said the cut was made to reflect the overall drop in wholesale gas prices and expenses that customers will face this winter.

"While oil prices have slumped, the gas price has remained volatile - some days up, some days down," he explained. "However, today we've taken steps so we can make a price cut on our standard gas tariff at the same time as offering customers, existing and new, the chance to sign up to the UK's lowest priced energy tariff. As we have always said, where it is possible we will try to pass savings on to our customers."

Commenting on the current political environment in the UK and in particular the widespread discussion of Labour's proposed "price freeze", Mr Cocker said: "Given the possibility of a price freeze we are undoubtedly taking a risk today but we always put our customers first.

"We have made this decision knowing that our ability to recover costs, should the market outlook change in the months or years ahead, may be limited, but we urge all political parties to recognise the realities of the energy industry and help us to continue to do the best for all of our customers. This includes all parties committing to accept the outcome of the current Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the energy industry when that completes at the end of this year to provide energy companies with the all-important political and regulatory certainty we need in order to be able to plan and run our businesses efficiently.

"For our part, we've once again delivered against our government energy saving obligations ahead of the relevant deadline, in this case March 2015. In addition to helping to improve the housing stock of Britain so that customers can live in warmer homes, we're making a real difference to our customers by installing smart meters and further continuing our work to help all of our customers use and pay for no more energy than they need."