Utility Warehouse is the largest gas and electricity supplier outside of the big six. It rivals their customer numbers with more than 600,000 clients after its acquisition of Electricity Plus and Gas Plus from Npower. They claim they don’t waste money on advertising, preferring to have their name spread by word of mouth and their authorised distributor network.
Utility Warehouse Reviews
A quick google search will bring up plenty of Utility Warehouse reviews. However, are the hundreds of positive reviews accurate? We decided to take an in depth look at the supplier and seperate the truth from the hype to find out: is Utility Warehouse really that good? Customer reviews of Utility Warehouse have kicked up quite a bit of controversy on the internet lately.
Utility Warehouse rewards its customers and distributors for promoting the company to family and friends. Many people feel that these authorised distributors are skewing the customer reviews for Utility Warehouse by leaving glowing reviews to increase their income.
The Money Saving Expert discussion thread on the company ran to 447 pages and in the end, had to be shut down as it caused too much conflict between consumers who either evangelically defended the company or demonised it.
By comparing reviews from a variety of sources, we can hopefully provide a more balanced review of the company for customers who are thinking about switching.
In the case of Utility Warehouse customers should be especially cautious of Trustpilot reviews as this is the case where there is most potential for bias. The company was rated overall at 80% with 60% of its customers rating it excellent. Customers were generally pleased with the customer service although many complained that their savings were not as significant as they imagined that they would be.
For Utility Warehouse, the Which? and Citizens Advice surveys are a more reliable source of reviews. Which? has rated Utility Warehouse number one out of the 31 energy companies on the market in 2018. They have 79% positive reviews overall in the poll and were rated four out of five stars in almost all of the categories including customer service.
This is not the first year that Utility Warehouse has scored highly in the poll where it consistently does well. The last time that Utility Warehouse came first was in 2011. It is worthwhile to note that although Utility Warehouse ranked highly in Which?’s poll, it is not a Which? Recommended Provider of gas and electricity.
In fact, the only company which has this accolade at the moment is Octopus Energy, a new small independent supplier. The reason for this, according to Which?, is that the company fails to score well in the procedures and practices category.
- To be rated as a Which? Recommended Provider, an energy supplier needs to:
- Be one of the highest ranked companies by their customers
- Have no fines or sanctions brought against them by regulatory bodies, such as Ofgem and the Advertising Standards Authority, in the past year.
- Follow procedures and practices Which? thinks are in the best interests of the consumer. Some examples of these are complaints processes, billing, customer service and account management.
- Have better than average performance for call and online waiting times, and complaints.
- Pass the Which? final price analysis.
- Have a variable or fixed tariff in the cheapest part of the market for low, medium and high users for the average user across Great Britain. They also must not have a variable or fixed tariff in the most expensive band.
Utility Warehouse also came 8th in the Citizens Advice survey where it earned 3.75 out of 5 stars. Citizens Advice analyse some of the most concrete data on the market, thereby being relatively impartial. It reports that out of 100,000 complaints to Utility Warehouse, only 114.7 of those ended up being dealt with by an outside body. This means that complaints were effectively resolved within the company’s complaints procedure.
Regarding customer service, Utility Warehouse also fared pretty well. Customers managed to get through to a customer service agent on the telephone in 4.16 minutes on average - much better than some of the worst performing big six suppliers that left customers waiting on the phone for more than 30 minutes in some cases.
94% of customers had accurate billing more than once a year, and 98.5% were pleased with their switch which was carried out in less than the 21-day maximum. As an added note in the last four years, two complaints about its leaflets misleading customers have been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Overall, the company has generally favourable reviews on almost every review website. It would be unfair to credit this solely to the distribution agents. In fact Which?, following claims of results being influenced, recalculated their reviews of the site and even without the responses of the distributors, the company still had a score of 74%.
Utility Warehouse: The Clubhouse Account Login
Utility Warehouse has a different approach to the account login. You can, of course, do the usual things that you can do with most online energy portals such as: pay your bills, track your usage and edit your personal information. However, the Utility Warehouse online account has some extra added functionality.
With the Clubhouse, customers who have an account can also earn cashback and save money on their electricity bills at a variety of big brand high street names such as Marks and Spencers, Argos, Thorntons, Debenhams and Boots.
There are two ways to earn cash back - using a CashBack card or using the exclusive online members' area in The Clubhouse. If you would like to log in to your account in the Clubhouse now or see a full list of the Cashback Partners, you can do so by clicking on the button below:
Utility Warehouse also has a Clubhouse app which customers can download from either the Apple store or Google Play store. With the app it is quicker and easier to check how much cashback you have earned, find the nearest retailers and keep track of how much you’ve saved.
Utility Warehouse's fuel mix has some variations from the average UK energy mix. You can see the full energy mix for the company below. Utility Warehouse sources the majority of its fuel from natural gas. The national average is 44.1% whereas Utility Warehouse is 90.1%.
It is not the best company for those who want to do their bit for the environment.
They use 7.3% renewable energy which is 21.5% less than the national average. Keeping in mind that various small independent suppliers are using 100% green energy, it would be wiser to do an online price comparison and go with one of these companies if that is one of your priorities.
As mentioned above, Utility Warehouse prefers to use network marketing than spending a lot of money on advertising.
They want their customers to recommend their service to their family, friends and neighbours. However, they also offer an incentive scheme for people who sign up as distributors with them, and they currently have more than 31,800 distributors throughout the country.
People who want to participate in the scheme pay a fee which is refunded if they sign up 12 or more customers in 90 days. They then earn a commission for each customer and income based on a percentage of their customers’ spend.
There are many claims of people earning considerable money with the scheme and others who claim that it is a scam and that earnings are nothing like some of those projected on the internet.
Utility Warehouse is helping its customers install smart meters to make it easier for them to monitor their usage, save money and top up more easily.
These will be rolled out region by region and Utility Warehouse has a special page on their website where customers can register their interest to have these meters installed on their property.
They also have a special offer for customers to replace all of their existing light bulbs with LED ones which they will send someone to install them on your property.
Customers who sign up for either Gold Energy or Double Gold tariffs can take advantage of this offer.
They also claim that if customers keep their services with Utility Warehouse they will never have to pay for another lightbulb again as once they need to be replaced they will send a new bulb in the post.
Led Lightbulbs use 15% less electricity than traditional bulbs meaning that customers can save more money.
Utility Warehouse also have their "Business Club" which offers a variety of tariffs for small and large businesses.
They currently supply more than 30,000 small and medium businesses.
The Utility Point business tariffs work in much the same way as their domestic ones. The more services you contract with the company the cheaper the prices become.
With business plans customers also receive a cashback card which saves customers on general between 3 and 7% on all shopping.
According to Utility Warehouse, customers using the cashback card only for domestic purchases can save £414 a year based on an average monthly spend of £650 on the card. As businesses can use the card for business purchases the potential for savings is much higher.
The card works like a pay as you go card. You load it with money and can use it in high street shops such as Sainsbury's, M&S, Argos and Boots.
The business contracts with Utility Warehouse have no exit fees so owners aren't tied in to long contracts. This is great for small businesses and startups as their needs may be less predictable.
Utility Warehouse offers contracts to businesses which use up to 292,780kWh (about £10,000 of gas) and electricity meters profiles with the number 01,02,03 or 04.