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Utilita

By Sarah Ingrams

Article 24 of 25

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Utilita

Utilita is a medium-sized energy supplier which specialises in pay-as-you-go (PAYG) prepayment smart meters. Is Utilita the right supplier for you?

Utilita says it offers ‘smart pay as you go energy’ and has been installing smart prepayment meters for more than 10 years. Now 88% of its customers have one, it claims.

Thanks to its smart metering technology, Utilita’s customers can top up online, by mobile app and text message, as well as over the phone or at a PayPoint outlet.

Set up in 2003, Utilita now has 600,000 customers, many of which it claims have joined it through word of mouth. It claims to keep things simple with a ‘fair price’ and ‘easy-to-understand product’.

Tempted by Utilita? Find out if you could save money by comparing gas and electricity deals with Which? Switch – our independent energy comparison site.

Utilita customer score

Utilita came fifth out of 31 energy companies rated by 8,761 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey. 

Customers were particularly satisfied with the accuracy and clarity of its billing and value for money, both of which are rated an impressive five stars out of five.

‘Utilita's simply an easy supplier to deal with, and it's done what it said it was going to do.’

Utilita Customer

Utilita score breakdown

The graphic below shows the breakdown of its score from our latest survey.

Find out how Utilita compares with other energy companies - see the full results of the best and worst energy companies.

Which? verdict on Utilita

Utilita equals the top-scoring energy company’s star ratings for most categories, including billing, phone customer service, complaints handling and value for money. Although Utilita’s customers aren’t quite as positive about its online customer service.

‘Took too long to respond for something important.’

Utilita customer

When we conducted a snapshot investigation into energy company customer waiting times, it took Utilita 1min 33sec to respond to live chat messages, on average. That's not long to wait but the fastest firm responded in 10 seconds on average. Plus its live chat was unavailable on several occasions we tried.

Utilita also had low levels of complaints per 1,000 customers in the first half of last year, compared with other energy suppliers, and resolved an impressive 75% of them within two days in the first three months of the year.

‘I have no complaints; when I have phoned them they are always helpful.’

Utilita customer

Utilita has four main tariffs. Its Premium tariffs are pricier but don’t require you to have a smart meter: 

  • Its flagship tariff Smart Energy (which has unit rates which reduce after you’ve used a certain amount of electricity and gas each month) 
  • Its basic tariff Premium Energy 
  • Premium E7 for those on Economy 7 
  • Smart E7 for anyone on Economy 7 that wants a smart meter. 

‘I have smart meters so I can check daily what I use and the charges.’

Utilita customer

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Pros: Fairly fast to respond on live chat, has low numbers of complaints

Cons: Its live chat isn’t reliably available. You’ll need a smart meter to access its cheapest tariffs

Utilita electricity sources

Utilita in the news

2018

September: Energy regulator Ofgem revealed that it's examining how Utilita, and three other energy companies, deals with customer complaints. This follows the results of Ofgem's complaints handling survey which found some suppliers have 'unacceptably low' customer satisfaction for complaints.

February: Utilita told customers it will increase prices from 1 April. This will add £41 per year to the average customer's bill.

2017

December: Utilita had refunded customers more than £3.61m, which it had overcharged them. Energy regulator Ofgem said Utilita failed to cut the prices of prepayment tariffs for some of its smart meter customers sufficiently when the price cap was introduced in April. Utilita said around 348,000 customers were affected due to technical issues and have been reimbursed.

September: Utilita announced a price cut, reducing the average dual fuel customer’s bill by 1.8% (or £19.17 per year).

April: Utilita increased its electricity prices and cut its gas prices, resulting in an overall £30 increase per year for the average customer. It blamed rising wholesale electricity prices, the government’s prepayment price cap and the cost of government schemes.

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