Gas energy bills
EDF Energy has dropped its gas prices by five percent, leading to calls for other big suppliers to do the same (Reuters/Charles Platiau)

Pressure is mounting on all "big six" energy suppliers in Britain to slash their gas prices after EDF Energy announced a five percent cut.

EDF said a drop in wholesale prices had allowed it to cut tariffs after it previously imposed a 15.4 percent price hike in November.

The five other leading energy suppliers - E.ON, RWE npower, Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy and British Gas - will be under pressure to do the same.

"Households have faced real difficulties this winter after last year's global gas prices pushed up bills," energy secretary Chris Huhne said.

"Some big energy suppliers were quick to pass on rising costs last year and it is only right that they should now pass on cost reductions to hard-pressed householders as quickly as possible.

"I urge the remaining five large energy suppliers to follow suit and give consumers some respite this winter."

Huhne urged consumers to send the big energy firms "a clear message by voting with their feet and taking their business elsewhere".

Consumer rights group Which? is also calling on all the energy giants to slash prices with its affordable energy campaign.

"This gas price cut will be welcome news for millions of consumers with already squeezed household budgets. But it follows a hike of 15 percent," said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd.

British Gas has refused to comment on whether if it will follow EDF's lead.

A spokesperson for RWE npower did not rule out the possibility of a price drop but would not be drawn.

"We constantly monitor the long- and short-term wholesale energy prices to ensure we offer customers competitive products and tariffs and that review process is continuing," he told International Business Times UK.

Announcing the five percent cut, EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said energy consumers wanted "action" as they struggled to meet high energy costs.

"What customers want more than anything else is fair, clear and transparent prices," he said.

"We know they want action rather than words. That is why we are the first major supplier to announce a cut and were the last to increase prices."

On 6 January, independent energy supplier Ovo Energy dropped its gas prices by five percent.

Households have been choked by rising energy prices, which kept inflation at around the five percent mark throughout 2011.