Written by Michael Foote, Insurance and Finance ExpertMichael Foote is the founder of Quote Goat and has over 13 years experience working in the finance, insurance and currency sectors. Since launching Quote Goat he has appeared on TV as well as many of the largest online publications including Forbes, The Telegraph and The Metro. Prior to Quote Goat, he worked in finance in the city for a number of firms including HSBC.
Company Name: Utility Warehouse
Company Description: Utility Warehouse supply energy to both domestic and business customers
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Who is Utility Warehouse?
Turning its attention to energy supplies in 2013, Utility Warehouse is part of FTSE-250 listed company, Telecom Plus. In the same year it made a bold move by buying 770,000 customers from npower. The £218m deal instantly elevated the brand to sit just outside the ‘Big 6’ energy suppliers, having previously concentrated on phone and broadband packages. Based in North London, the 1,000 strong team manages a current customer base of around 600,000 homes across the UK.
The brand hit headlines again this year when The Guardian investigated claims from Utility Warehouse that suggested its members could earn a ‘life-changing’ income by promoting the brand. The investigation revealed the earnings could be as little as less than £10 per week. While the paper agreed it was possible that certain members could earn substantial money through the referral scheme, there were plenty of pitfalls.
The brand’s mission?
“When you switch your gas and electricity to us, we guarantee you will save money compared to the average of the cheapest variable tariffs available from the ‘Big 6’ suppliers.”
What does Utility Warehouse charge?
Utility Warehouse’s key selling point is guaranteed savings. The catch? You have to sign up to ALL of its services to bag the biggest bill bargains. Still, Utility Warehouse is so certain it can cut your household bills that it offers to refund double the difference if customers don’t see the difference. So you could see your monthly outgoings shrinking. But when it comes to tracking your savings, things could get complicated when your bills are all lumped together.
The overall opinion on review sites suggests users are happy and are consistently saving money. However, in September 2017, Utility Warehouse raised its variable tariff prices, with customers expected to see increases of between 3 – 8%.
Utility Warehouse does offer customers another chance to cut their monthly bills, by offering a cashback card. Partnering with big outlets – think Boots, Sainsbury’s and other big players, Utility Warehouse lets you knock your cashback earnings off your utility bills.
How is the Utility Warehouse customer service?
Utility Warehouse’s customer service generally gets a double thumbs up across the board. Over 1,000 staff members run an efficient headquarters, based in North London. Rated highly on survey sites – accolades from the likes of Which? and Moneywise back up the general consensus that Utility Warehouse looks after its customers well. Like every company, Utility Warehouse has its detractors, but it’s arguably among the best out there.
It came 4th out of 23 energy companies in the 2016 Which? Customer Survey (8,917 respondents), receiving a customer score of 73% – the highest being 78%.
When it comes to the brand’s customer service and complaints handling it performs consistently well in the Which? annual survey. The only sticking point Which? could find was the response time when it comes to call answering. Their records show Utility Warehouse was much slower to answer calls coming through to customer service than those going to the sales department.
On TrustPilot, the brand has an average score of 4/5, with customer quotes including:
‘Utility Warehouse has consistently given me exceptional customer service. The staff there are so helpful and quick to sort any problems.’
‘You are probably the best utility company I have dealt with, but feel you could be a little more flexible.’
‘I am very happy with UW. If I have a problem, you sort it. If I call, you answer (not in a queue for half an hour like Scottish Power, then get cut off).’
What Utility Warehouse tariffs are on offer?
There are a vast range of sub-tariffs on offer at Utility Warehouse, depending on your postcode. The process begins with an individual quote – then tariffs, prices and benefits open up from there based on the following two packages.
- Gold Energy Bundle – includes phone and broadband and a promise to reduce your electricity bills forever. Estimated savings of up to £370 per year.
- Double Gold Bundle – includes phone, broadband and mobile and their lowest energy prices fixed until September 2019. Estimated savings of up to £611 per year.
How green is Utility Warehouse?
Utility Warehouse gets its fuel from these sources:
The UK average is 24.3% for renewable energy, so Utility Warehouse is slightly lagging behind here. With over 75% of Utility Warehouse’s fuel coming from fossil fuel sources, this isn’t the greenest option when it comes to energy suppliers.
Utility Warehouse in summary?
There are savings to be made with Utility Warehouse and the discount club is snapping at the heels of the Big 6 suppliers in several ways. Sitting in 7th place in terms of customer base, the brand has the buying power to secure the best prices.
When you tack on the perks, such as free LED energy saving bulbs and a mammoth cashback scheme, Utility Warehouse seems like a no-brainer. That’s if you can navigate the confusing website and numerous tariff options to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your household. That and the knowledge that your energy is very definitely not the greenest.