Headquarters Warwick, England
Who are they?
First Utility are the UK’s largest independent energy supplier outside of the Big Six, giving them a market share of 3% with over one million household and business contracts. The company was launched as a spin-out from First Telecom in 2008 by co-founders Mark Daeche, Darren Braham and Marcus Citron; however, is now headed by former lastminute.com CEO Ian McCaig. Although the company do not have a generation business, they do have a very good relationship with international oil company Shell, meaning they have an intermediary in order to purchase oil from the international wholesale market.
In late 2014, First Utility made a big step on behalf of the whole energy industry, forcing the commonplace switch time from 4-5 weeks to 2.5 weeks, making the switching process easier for the general public. They have also developed an extremely interesting technological device that allows you to remotely monitor and control your home energy usage. This smart thermostat has been named ‘Cozy’ and is available on most First Utility tariffs upon request.
In relation to the Big Six, First Utility exceeds the majority of the customer service criteria; however, because of their underdog status, the bar is set a lot higher for independent energy companies. To say that First Utility is the largest independent energy supplier in the UK, their customer service ratings are extremely average, which may cause them problems in the future. According to Which?’s 2015 customer satisfaction survey, First Utility came 10th out of 22 with a score of 64%, which, for a Big Six company this score would be more than desirable; however, if independent companies wish to challenge the Big Six, they need to go above and beyond these levels of mediocrity.
First Utility are the provider of a wide selection of fixed and variable tariffs, including their 'First Fixed November 2017 v14', 'First Variable Direct Debit', and 'First Fixed November 2018 v2', each of which provide varying terms of price protection. Their 'First Fixed February 2019', for example, provides a static unit rate until February 2019, and depending on what happens within that time period with regards to wholesale market volatility, could be an extremely intelligent option. As searched on 10th November 2016, the unit price for First Utility’s ‘variable’ tariff in the Nottingham area is 16.291p per kWh of electricity and 2.904p for gas, whereas in Dundee is 15.758p for electricity and 3.04p for gas.