Who are First Utility Energy?
First Utility is an energy supplier in the UK, providing gas and electricity to millions of homes. While for many, that’s all they’ll want and need to know about First Utility Energy, they’re worth knowing about as they are unique in the way they go about their business.
First Utility are the biggest energy provider not to be part of what is known as ‘the Big Six’. ‘The Big Six’ refers to the UK’s six largest energy suppliers, consisting of British Gas, E.ON, EDF Energy, Scottish Power, Npower and SSE. The last two were scheduled to merge in 2018, making it soon known as ‘the Big Five’.
Considering their relatively small status, there’s a lot more to First Utility Energy than meets the eye. First Utility Energy doesn’t generate electricity. Instead, they purchase energy wholesale from the international market and then sell it on, with the company being owned by Shell as of the beginning of 2018.
While the ins and outs of the economics of this model may be very complicated, what it means for customers is actually very simple– at least this is the case for many customers – cheaper bills at the end of the month. For example, in 2012, First Utility Energy released the cheapest fixed-price deal on the market and their great value iSave plan debuted back in September 2009.
A brief history of First Utility Energy
The company launched in 2008 and gained public attention by being the first energy supplier in the UK to offer smart meters to its customers. This technology has now become a synonymous and vitally important part of the First Utility Energy brand. Today, many major energy providers have followed in their footsteps to roll out smart meters and their money-saving benefits to their customer bases.
Other major landmarks in the history of First Utility Energy include their sponsorship of the Rugby Super League in 2014, the doubling of their customer base through 2011 to 2015 and, of course, their purchase by Shell earlier this year.
How smart meters impact you as a customer
As the first ever company to bring smart meters to the UK, this technology is more than just a part of First Utility Energy’s history – it represents the company’s forward-thinking attitude when it comes to saving energy and lowering your bills. The technology involved in a smart meter may be advanced and complex, but the way it all works certainly isn’t.
Smart meters track your energy usage automatically, meaning there’s no longer any need for your bills to be estimated or to rely on infrequent meter readings to find out how much you owe.
This has several advantages. The first is pretty simple: it’s a lot more accurate. You’re paying for exactly the energy you use and no more, which is a pretty great feeling. Therefore, there’s a lot more incentive to reduce your usage when you know it is going to have an immediate impact on your wallet.
Speaking of reducing your usage, that’s also made a lot easier as well. Often, we don’t realise how our energy usage could be improved because during your busy week, keeping track of how much and how often you’re using gas or electricity can fall low on your list of priorities.
Using My Energy Usage – an online account with First Utility Energy – you can accurately see when you are using more or less energy throughout the week with half hourly readings. This way, you can understand where you can improve and save. You can even view how your energy usage compares to the average weekly usage in similar homes, so you can see just how well you’re getting on in terms of keeping costs down.
These half-hourly readings also allow you to identify any unknown issue with your energy usage. If something you’re not aware of is causing your energy to spike, then you don’t have to wait months for a meter reading to discover not only that there is an issue, but that you have a huge increase in your bill waiting for you. Sometimes the unpredictable does happen and with First Utility Energy, you can be sure that it doesn’t take too long for the existence of a problem to be identified, thus preventing things from getting out of hand and having too heavy an impact on your bank balance.
Not only that but smart meter installation is easy. It causes little if any inconvenience and takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes depending on a few factors, such as whether you want a dual installation and the general state of your already existing meters. Regardless, everything here is made to be as quick and easy as possible.
What else does First Utility Energy offer?
One of First Utility Energy’s selling points is the ability to get both your electricity and gas from one provider for a lower price than if you were on a single fuel deal across two providers. This is due to the fact that dual fuel tariffs tend to be cheaper than single fuel tariffs. Think of it like buying in bulk. It’s also extra convenient too, as you only have one company, one single point of contact and one set of paperwork to deal with. This, alongside the smart meter, makes First Utility Energy about as hassle-free as possible.
Furthermore, First Utility Energy is easy to switch to and you can even include broadband as part of your deal, with discounts for already existing energy customers. Line rental is included and there are no upfront charges. There’s also a great variety of broadband deals here, just as there is with call and energy plans.
So, how do they stack up against the competition?
In practical terms, First Utility Energy largely operates in the same way as ‘the Big Six’ for customers, but have made a name for themselves through innovation in both their business practices and technology. Unfortunately for them, much of their competition clearly thought their ideas were very good too and they are available elsewhere now.
First Utility Energy is known for excellent customer service and convenience, and the discounts they offer to incentivise customers to go all in with them – electricity, gas and broadband – are substantial.
In terms of how their prices stack up, your best bet is to check that out using Hoppy’s free and easy to use comparison tool. As far as options outside of ‘the Big Six’ go, First Utility Energy has proven themselves time and time again to be a creative, forward-thinking and formidable opponent.