Small energy companies
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 6 of 20
First Utility is an independent energy supplier which launched in 2008. First Utility is the largest energy supplier outside of the Big Six.
First Utility quickly increased the number of its 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 it still offers to customers.
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 11th of 23 energy companies rated by 8,917 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey - the biggest of its kind.
First Utility customer
"Bills clear and simple to understand with all required information available."
The table below shows the breakdown of First Utility's score from our latest survey.
|First Utility survey results|
|Area of performance||Star rating|
|Customer service and complaints handling|
|Value for money|
|Bills (accuracy and clarity)|
|Helping you to save energy|
(Survey: October 2016, responses of 250 First Utility customers.)
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 Utility
First 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 highly rated the clarity and accuracy of its bills.
Other companies are rated more highly for customer service.
Other companies are rated more highly for customer service. Less than half (47%) of complaints to First Utility were resolved that day or the next working day in the first half of 2016. The best suppliers manage more than three-quarters. Only 84% were resolved in eight weeks.
When we investigated how long First Utility takes to answer the phone to its customers, in our snapshot call-waiting investigation we were left waiting on its customer service line for just over six minutes. Yet First Utility managed to answer its sales line in under half the time.
It was much faster at answering our live chat queries, taking 16 seconds on average.
Pros: One of the most competitive suppliers out there
Cons: Needs to work on its customer service
First Utility fuel mix
First Utility gets its fuel from:
- 19% Coal
- 33% Natural Gas
- 13% Nuclear
- 28% Renewables
- 7% Other
(Note: This information was correct January 2017.)
First Utility prices
The graph above shows how First Utility's standard tariff and its cheapest fixed tariff compare with the cheapest fixed energy tariff available over the past year.
As you can see, First Utility customers in autumn 2017 could have saved money by switching from First Utility's standard tariff to its cheapest fixed deal. Previously, the cheapest tariff wasn't that much cheaper than the standard tariff - it even matched it in early 2017.
First Utility in the news
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.
First Utility offers a service called ‘My Energy’ that shows you where you are using energy in your home and how you can save it. It also allows its customers to compare their energy use with their neighbours, and claims that its research shows that customers’ energy consumption is reduced by around 5% in the first month after they are compared to their neighbours’.
In December 2016, Ofgem revealed that First Utility had the third highest price differential between their standard tariff and cheapest deal, though only 9% of their customers were on standard tariffs – compared with 74% of British Gas customers.
Don't pay your energy company more than you need to. Use Which? Switch to find the cheapest gas and electricity deals.