First Utility

First Utility Information

Company History

First Utility is the seventh largest energy supplier in the UK, a position previously held by Utility Warehouse. Making the Warwick based company the largest supplier outside the Big 6. By September 2014 the company had a market share of 2%. However by September 2015 Fist Utility now holds 4% of the market, with 765,000 households equating to 1.5 million customers. While the Big 6 continue to lose market share, from 91% to 86.6% across the same period, its clear to see a majority of these customers are seeking avenues new, and First Utility sits at the forefront of the independent supplier market growth.

The company was launched in 2008 by co-founders Mark Daeche, Darren Braham and Marcus Citron as a spin-out from First Telecom. In January 2012 the company appointed the former lastminute.com CEO Ian McCaig as its new CEO.

Facts and Figures

Main Facts
Question Answer
Date they became a registered supplier 2008
Fuels supplied Dual Fuel & Electricity Only
Warm Home Discount provided No
Location Warwick, England.
Number of Employees 650*
Number of Customers Over 1 Million
Turnover £282,731,000

*based on figures from November 2014.

Positioning

Unlike the Big 6, First Utility does not generate electricity, instead purchasing it from international markets. First Utility has a 10 year energy partnership with Shell Energy Europe to source electricity and gas from the trading division of Europe’s largest oil company. As part of this agreement Shell receive a small equity stake in First Utility. First Utility previously used the global financial services firm Morgan Stanley This partnership shows First Utility wish to maintain their position for offering customers competitive rates in the market.

First Utility’s growth has been led by its low-priced energy tariffs. Since 2008, First Utility has saved its customers over a collective £100m by continuously offering low prices. It has been the cheapest energy company on the market for a staggering 23 out of the last 35 weeks during 2014.

In October 2013, First Utility pledged to help UK customers save on their bills by not raising energy prices for the 2013/2014 winter period. 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.”
First Utility was announced as the title sponsor of Rugby League’s elite club competition, the First Utility Super League for the next three years. As First Utility seeks to build its brand and challenge the other Big 6 energy companies, First Utility will receive significant television exposure. Millions of families passionately support their Super League team and in turn First Utility’s passion is to help these families save on their energy bills. Alongside the Super League, First Utility is building on the legacy of the Rugby league World Cup held on our shores in 2013.

First:Utility
UK Average

Source: ElectricityInfo.org

The independent supplier also aims to make its innovative technology a benefit to its customers, offering smart meters, mobile apps and home automation. The Smart meter is provided and installed for free. You can download their account management app for free as well. About ten percent of First Utility’s customers have smart meters fitted, which is about ten times the national average.

 

Key Personnel

Name Title Previous Work History
Ian McCaig CEO – Chief Executive Officer Former CEO of Lastminute.com, current board member of Childline.
Darren Braham Founder and CFO – Chief Financial Officer Former Corporate Finance Director of Atlantic Telecom.
Bill Wilkins CIO – Chief Information Officer Previously Senior Engineering Director at Sun Microsystems in the USA.
Ed Kamm Chief Customer Office Former President at lastminute.com.
Martin Moir Director of Sales Previously oversaw Business Development at Npower

Press and Social Media

First Utility has launched a national TV, digital and radio advertising campaign. First Utility wants to challenge the dominance of the big six energy businesses: E.ON, npower, British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power and EDF.

Ed Kamm, the chief of customer service at First Utility, said: “Millions of households in the UK are overpaying for their energy and still think the choice lies between one of the big six providers.

“This campaign is about showing them that First Utility is a credible alternative who cares about its customers and does all it can to offer low prices.
“In a market where advertising has not given consumers any sight of the people and personalities behind the brand, we believe that this ad stands out from the crowd.
“It communicates that everything we do is about helping consumers spend less on energy, reflected in the catchphrase, ‘we put our energy into lowering prices’.”

First Utility survey results
Area of performance Star rating
Customer service First Utility Customer Service Rating
Value for money First Utility Value for Money Rating
Bills (accuracy and clarity) First Utility Bill Accuracy and Clarity Rating
Dealing with complaints First Utility Dealing with Complaints Rating
Helping you to save energy How First Utility rates at helping you to save energy
Customer score 54%

Source: Which? Consumer Information