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1 October 2020

Utility Warehouse

Utility Warehouse brands itself as offering all your essential services in one, and offers energy bundled with broadband, home phone, mobile, home insurance and boiler care. Is it the best energy firm for you?
Utility warehouse logo_new 487856
SI
Sarah Ingrams

 

Utility Warehouse is one of the oldest energy firms besides the traditional six, having been set up in 2013 when it bought customers from Npower.

It currently has around 650,000 customers across the services it sells, all of which are bundled into one bill. It says this approach ‘makes budgeting so much easier’.

Utility Warehouse doesn’t advertise heavily, but relies on agents and customer recommendations instead. Its 45,000 partners (or agents) are given incentives to sign up new customers.

Besides gas and electricity, Utility Warehouse sells contracts for other services including home phone, mobile, broadband, home insurance and boiler care. It charges customers for these in one monthly bill. Customers can benefit from discounts with the more services they take from Utility Warehouse.

It’s also replacing light bulbs with LED bulbs for free for customers who buy all of its services.

Utility Warehouse customers can get a cashback card, which earns cashback at a range of shops (how much depends on the retailer). Members also get cashback at some online retailers, which is paid in their monthly bill.

Find out if Utility Warehouse's prices are right for you by comparing gas and electricity prices using our independent energy comparison service Which? Switch.

Utility Warehouse customer score

Utility Warehouse came joint 14th out of 35 energy companies rated by 7,355 members of the public in the annual Which? energy customer survey.

It shares its position with Tonik Energy, though scored slightly lower on one area of service.

Utility Warehouse score breakdown

The graphic below shows how Utility Warehouse’s customers rated it across various elements in our latest survey.

Scroll down to read the Which? verdict on Utility Warehouse and find out how its prices compare with other energy firms.

We reveal how Utility Warehouse compares with other energy companies – click to see the full results of the best and worst energy companies.

Which? verdict on Utility Warehouse

Utility Warehouse scored well on almost all aspects of service rated by customers in our survey, although it wasn’t among the top-ranked energy firms.

Two years ago Utility Warehouse topped our energy companies table and also received the Utilities Brand of the Year at the 2018 Which? Awards for its mobile, broadband and energy services.

 

Customers were positive about its bills, customer service and value for money, showing that it compares reasonably well against competitors.

Although Utility Warehouse didn't qualify to be a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) for energy, it's a WRP for broadband and mobile.

Utility Warehouse scored a respectable four stars for its bills, both for how accurate they are, and how easy and clear they are for customers to understand.

Joint-ranked Tonik Energy scored slightly better for bill accuracy though, achieving the full five stars, while Utility Warehouse missed out.

Utility Warehouse’s customers’ feedback also gave it a very respectable four-star rating for customer service.

Only one firm – top-scoring Octopus Energy – gained a higher rating for customer service.

But when we included Utility Warehouse in our snapshot investigation into customer waiting times, it only responded to one of our 12 emails within a week. This meant that we had too few responses to give it an average waiting time. Only one other firm had such a poor response rate.

When we phoned, it was slightly slower than average to pick up the phone.

Utility Warehouse receives low levels of complaints, perhaps explaining its four-star rating for complaints-handling in our survey. But it’s not the speediest firm to resolve complaints – just over half were resolved within two days in the first six months of 2019, according to its data.

However, almost all of the complaints it received were resolved after two months.

Finally, customers also consider it good, though not excellent, value for money.

Utility Warehouse’s business model is unique, with some customers also working as ‘agents’ to recruit new customers and they earn money by doing so. These partners might give a rosier view because of that relationship, so we also checked the customer score excluding them. We found that there was no difference this year.

Pros: Single monthly bill bundling all utilities

Cons: You’ll need to buy multiple services to get the cheapest deals which might not work for everyone

Utility Warehouse fuel sources

Think you're paying too much for energy? Use Which? Switch to find the cheapest gas and electricity.

Utility Warehouse in the news

January: Utility Warehouse must pay £650,000 for having overcharged customers in relation to the price cap, energy regulator Ofgem announced.

The firm must refund and compensate 3,430 customers in receipt of the Warm Home Discount after it charged them more than the price cap between January and November 2019.

A system error caused the issue, Ofgem said, which has now been corrected.

If you’re one of the affected customers you will get a refund. Utility Warehouse is also making ‘goodwill’ payments.

June: Utility Warehouse announced 4% increase in customer numbers, taking it to around 635,000 customers in total.

July: Utility Warehouse increased the prices of its variable tariffs by 4.4%. So its Value, Gold and Double Gold variable tariffs cost customers between £47 and £50 more per year, for the average user.

June: It emerged that Utility Warehouse was being investigated by energy regulator Ofgem for the way it handles customers who are in debt.

Ofgem examined if it broke rules on:

  • giving indebted customers appropriate repayment plans
  • doing enough to contact customers at risk of debt
  • installing pre-payment meters appropriately as a means of recovering debt, especially when they are installed under warrant