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Other energy companies reviews

Utility Warehouse

By Sarah Ingrams

Article 29 of 29

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Utility Warehouse

Utility Warehouse brands itself the discount club and offers energy bundled with other utilities. Is Utility Warehouse the best energy firm for you?

Utility Warehouse is one of the largest energy firms besides the Big Six, and currently says it has more than 600,000 customers. It became an energy supplier in 2013, after buying its initial 770,000 customers from Npower. 

Utility Warehouse doesn’t advertise heavily, but relies on agents and customer recommendations instead. Its 40,000 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 and broadband. It charges customers for these in one monthly bill. Customers can benefit from discounts, the more services they take from Utility Warehouse.

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 seventh out of 30 energy companies rated by 7,429 members of the public in the annual Which? energy customer survey.

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

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 scores consistently well each year, though this year it missed out on the top rankings. In 2018 and 2011, Utility Warehouse achieved the highest customer score out of all the energy companies included in our survey.

It’s one of seven suppliers this year to score a full five stars out of five for both online phone customer service and value for money.

It scored a respectable four stars out of five on every other area of its service we asked customers about.

Though Utility Warehouse did not qualify to be a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) for energy, it is a WRP for both broadband and mobile.

Utility Warehouse has the joint-second highest proportion (with Ecotricity) of customers rating it good or excellent for helping them understand and reduce their energy use.

It’s currently offering free LED lightbulbs, fitted by its experts, to customers who buy its Gold or Double Gold bundles. Utility Warehouse says these help reduce a home’s electricity costs by 15%.

Customers are positive about Utility Warehouse’s customer service - especially online.

However, in our customer waiting times investigation, Utility Warehouse took over a week, on average, to respond to our emails. 

It was much faster on the phone. It picked up calls in 1m 41s on average – faster than the average phone waiting time across the 38 energy firms we investigated.

Utility Warehouse receives low levels of complaints, perhaps explaining its four-stars-out-of-five-complaints-handling rating in our survey. But it’s not the speediest firm to resolve complaints; less than half were resolved within two days in the first six months of 2018, according to its data.

Customers rated its prices as good overall, and a couple told us that it pays cashback when you shop at certain retailers.

Utility Warehouse’s business model is unique, with customers also working as ‘agents’ to recruit new customers. These agents 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 combining all the utilities you bundle together, ranked highly for online service

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

Utility Warehouse fuel sources

Utility Warehouse prices

The graph above shows how Utility Warehouse’s value tariff compares with its own cheapest tariff and the cheapest tariff on the market. Its value tariff allows you to buy just energy, while its cheapest tariff – often called Double Gold – requires you to buy a bundle of services to get the cheapest rates.

As you can see, customers on Utility Warehouse’s value variable tariff would always have saved money by switching to the firm’s cheapest deal. However, the cheapest deal often involves bundling several household services together, broadband, for example, so might not be an option for everyone. 

Customers could always save more by switching to the cheapest deal on the market overall.

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

Utility Warehouse in the news

 

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 is being investigated by energy regulator Ofgem for the way it handles customers who are in debt.

Ofgem is examining 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

 

September: Utility Warehouse increased prices for customers on its variable tariffs. Those on its Double Gold and Gold tariffs buying dual-fuel saw an 8% price rise. Customers on its Value variable tariff saw a 3% increase.

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