First Utility might well be one of the newest energy companies in the UK, launched just nine years ago, but it’s developed a well earned and sizable user base. Today they’re the largest energy company outside the ‘Big Six’ providers of British Gas, EDF, npower, E.ON, Scottish Power and SSE.
That remarkable growth has come off the back of a few things, most notably competitive pricing, smart advertising and innovative technologies. For examples of the latter, look no further than smart meters, which were introduced to the UK by First Utility.
If you’re one of the 826,000 thousand First Utility customers, you’ll know just how good they can be, and how hard it can seem to find the latest news from the company. That’s why we’ve put together this guide of the latest First Utility news from October 2017, so you can keep up to date with everything the company has to offer. Let’s go.
An 85-year-old First Utility customer who joined the company in 2014 who agreed a £70 per month direct debit over the phone only to find that they would be paying £78 per month because they were not able to access the internet has complained to the Telegraph.
Because he was not able to switch his deal online, he was automatically moved on to a more expensive tariff in what remains a significant flaw for energy companies.
By increasingly relying on the internet to switch and manage accounts, tens of thousands of older people without internet are tethered to old deals which can cost significantly more than newer deals. A spokesperson for First Utility said: “We are sorry that Mr M found it difficult to successfully switch his tariff online and we apologise for the undue stress he experienced during the process.”
Strong competition in the UK’s domestic energy market gas caused a drop in customer numbers at First Utility. Total customer numbers fell by 6% down to 826,000 in the first half of the year, but its gross margin rose to 14.4% from 9.9%.
At the same time the company revealed its full-year results for 2016, which showed a pre-tax loss of £12.7m, compared with a modest £1.7m profit in 2015. It paints something of a bleak picture for the company, but its clear that 2017 has been more successful.
The company report a pre-tax profit of £14,3m at the end of June as it moved away from price comparison websites and towards telesales and face-to-face marketing.
More than eight million households are stuck on the most expensive tariffs on their suppliers, according to Ofgem data.
The biggest suppliers are rarely the most affordable, and their most expensive tariffs can be over £300 more expensive than comparable tariffs from other suppliers. Indeed, 43 per cent of British Gas customers and 44 per cent of SSE’s with standard credit meters having remained on the default tariffs since April 2014 or earlier.
First Utility suggest that the eight million households could have saved an average of £453 over the past three years by switching to their cheapest tariff.