Other energy companies reviews
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 11 of 31
First Utility launched in 2008. First Utility is the largest energy provider outside of the 'Big Six', supplying almost one million homes.
First Utility quickly increased its number of customers after coming into the market, thanks to market-leading energy deals.
First Utility was the first UK company to start introducing smart meters, which all energy companies must have offered to their customers by 2020.
In October 2018, it acquired the customers of Usio Energy Supply after the smaller supplier stopped trading.
Can you save money by switching to First Utility? See how its prices compare by using Which? Switch to find the cheapest gas and electricity.
First Utility customer score
First Utility comes joint 12th out of 31 energy companies rated by 8,761 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey - the biggest of its kind. The other company in 12th place was Ebico.
First Utility customer
'First Utility are incredibly easy to deal with, simple and efficient... just supply the reading to the site and it's all done.'
First Utility score breakdown
Below we reveal the breakdown of First Utility's score from our latest survey. Keep reading to find out what its customer service is like, plus how its standard and cheapest tariff compare with the cheapest on the market.
Find out how First Utility compares with other energy companies – click to see the full results of the best and worst energy companies.
Which? verdict on First UtilityFirst Utility is the largest of the smaller suppliers. Set up in 2008, it grew rapidly, thanks to its competitively priced deals that often topped the energy-deal tables.
First Utility customers like the accuracy and clarity of its bills, and its efforts to help customers understand and reduce their energy use.
In fact, 44% of customers said the accuracy of bills is excellent. This is one of the highest proportions of any company included in our survey.
More than half (56%) of customers also said it's 'good' or 'excellent' at helping them understand and reduce their energy use. This score is positive, but the highest rating firm for this category was Utilita, who were rated good or excellent by 75% of its customers for the same service.
Its standard tariff isn’t usually good value, but it does offer some cheaper deals. The cheapest deals go to smart meter customers.
First Utility customer
'I have always received excellent service from First Utility. I'm kept up to date, I'm informed if my payments are reduced, and now have a smart meter fitted so they can collect my readings.'
First Utility has an app where customers can input their own meter readings, so there shouldn't be any estimated bills.
Customer service, both phone and online, scored four stars.
First Utility customer
"User friendly website and a quick and efficient live chat."
When we tested how long First Utility takes to answer the phone to its customers in our snapshot investigation, we were left waiting on its customer service line for over 11 minutes, on average.
It was much faster at answering our live chat queries, taking 2min 44sec on average.
Pros: Customers generally think its bills are accurate.
Cons: Its standard tariff can be more than £300 a year more expensive than the cheapest dual-fuel deal.
First Utility electricity sources
First Utility in the news
October: First Utility was chosen by Ofgem to take on the 7,000 customers of Usio Energy Supply, after the smaller company stopped trading. Ofgem said First Utility is offering Usio Energy's customers a 'competitive tariff' and will honour all credit balances.
September: First Utility, along with three other companies, is being examined by energy regulator Ofgem over how it deals with customer complaints. This follows Ofgem's complaints handling survey which showed some suppliers have 'unacceptably low' customer satisfaction for complaints.
June: Shell, owner of First Utility, announced a 5.9% price rise for around 165,000 customers. This will add £67 per year to the average customer’s bill.
Customers on the variable tariff – First Variable – will see their bills increase from 23 July. Customers on fixed tariffs won’t be affected by the price rise.
First Utility blamed the rising price of wholesale energy and policy schemes for the increase.
March: Shell completed its acquisition of First Utility - this including both the energy and broadband businesses. The new CEO of First Utility, Colin Crooks, said First Utility is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell and will 'build on the trusted relationships we've built with our millions of forecourt customers'.
December: Shell bought First Utility and said it plans to ‘grow and develop’ it to compete with the 'big six' energy firms. Shell already suppliers wholesale gas and electricity to First Utility, and other energy companies.
February: First Utility announced a 9.7% price rise on its standard variable tariff, coming into effect on 1 April. This will add around £102 onto the average bill. First Utility blamed the rise on ‘significant increases in wholesale and industry costs over the past year’. It expects 13% of its customers to be affected.Don't pay your energy company more than you need to. Use Which? Switch to find the cheapest gas and electricity deals.