In this edition of “Meet the small suppliers”, we take a look at First Utility, the biggest of the small suppliers.
The independent supplier has built its brand around providing a cheaper option for consumers fed up with the big six and the “old-fashioned, slow and monopolised” energy market. The approach seems to be working and in September 2014, it was announced that First Utility had signed up its one millionth customer.
In addition, the supplier came second in the uSwitch Energy Awards 2014 in terms of overall customer satisfaction. An impressive achievement, particularly given that this was the first year that small suppliers were included in the survey.
First Utility tells us about saving people money and shaking up the industry
To get a better idea about what First Utility stand for, we sat down with their Chief Customer Officer Ed Kamm.
Can you tell us a bit about First Utility’s background?
EK: We were founded in 2008 with a mission to refresh the energy industry and give consumers a better deal. Since the late ’90s the energy market has been characterised by low customer engagement, a lack of innovation and little regard for the needs of the customer.
We wanted to change that and put the customer first with a simple proposition – to save people money on their energy bills. We do this by always offering low-priced tariffs, helping our customers use less energy through insights and technology, and campaigning for industry change to challenge unfair practices.
What makes you different from other suppliers on the market?
EK: We genuinely want to help our customers spend less on energy, which is why we put our own energy into offering low-priced tariffs. We also want to help our customers use less by giving them the insights and control to use energy in the most efficient way. Our “My Energy” tool, for example, lets customers compare their usage to others and gives them information that is targeted to them.
We’re also on a bit of a crusade to shake up the energy market to make it work better for consumers; we’re delighted to see our Fix the Switch campaign lead to switching time being halved from five weeks down to just two and a half to make it easier for consumers to get a better deal. We’re doing a lot more behind the scenes too to help keep costs under control and protect the interests of consumers.
Can you describe First Utility’s philosophy in a few words?
EK: Quite simply we’re putting the customer first and helping put them back in control of their energy spend.