First Utility is the largest independent energy supplier in the United Kingdom
First Utility is the seventh-largest utilities supplier in the UK. With one million customers, they are the first-biggest provider after the big six. They supply both gas and electricity.
The energy supplier has built its brand around being the answer for those fed up with the big six, saying that the energy market is 'old-fashioned, slow and monopolised'.
First Utility have stated that they "challenge, rather than accept outdated policies" surrounding domestic energy. By doing this, they have created an easier way for consumers to find and switch to a better gas and electricity deal.
1 million customer accounts
In September 2014, the supplier reached a milestone of 1 million customers. At the news, uSwitch Director of Consumer Policy stated:
"This This is a significant milestone for First Utility and evidence that small suppliers are at last beginning to drive competition and make the energy market work for consumers.
“The growing popularity of companies like First Utility shows that small suppliers are here to stay, thanks to the excellent deals they are offering. If the big six energy providers are to keep hold of their customers, they’ll have to look at introducing more competitive prices and improving their customer service.”
First Utility energy had less than 200 responses in our latest independent YouGov survey, so we can’t show a customer service rating.
Why we like First Utility
First Utility offers UK consumers 'permanently low prices', and its iSave Everyday tariff comes with a price promise that it will always be less expensive than any of the big six's cheapest standard plans.
The independent supplier also aims to make its innovative technology a benefit to its customers, offering smart meters, mobile apps and home automation.
In October 2013, First Utility pledged to help UK customers save on their bills by not raising energy prices for the 2013-2014 winter season. The supplier challenged the big six to follow its lead and promise to freeze prices for the winter season for their own customers.
At the time of the price pledge announcement, First Utility CEO Ian McCaig stated: "First Utility is genuinely focused on reducing energy costs for consumers and our promise to hold down prices until after the winter lessens the worry about heating their homes during the coldest months of the year.
“Our promise will protect families from feeling the brunt of energy cost increases during the coldest months. As the largest UK independent, we believe we have a responsibility to loosen the hold the Big Six has on the UK energy market for the benefit of the hard pressed consumers and our winter price hold supports this ambition."
In April 2013, First Utility announced a price rise for current customers, who were set to be automatically switched from the company's cheapest tariff on to a substantially more expensive tariff. This move pushed up the average annual dual fuel bill for these consumers by 18%, or £200 per year.
At the time, First Utility Founder Darren Braham noted that the increases had been held off as long as possible, and highlighted that — unlike many of the big six, who raised prices in autumn and winter — they waited until after the colder winter months to announce the rise.
In May 2012, First Utility released the cheapest fixed-price deal on the market, under-cutting the winning Big Switch tariff offered by The Co-operative Energy.
The move meant First Utility had the cheapest fixed price tariff as well as the cheapest variable tariff (the iSave V9) on the market at the time.
First Utility released the iSave plan in September 2009, which undercut the average household energy bill at the time by 14.5%.