Utilita has been around since 2003 and claims to now supply more than 780,000 customers across the UK with "smart metering". They specialise in Pay As You Go (PAYG) tariffs enabling customers to control their budgets more effectively and pay for the energy they use, when they use it.
The company registered in 2003 as Utilita Energy Limited and to date has had 18 directors of which 15 have resigned with some only holding position for a matter of months. Looking more closely, this seems to be some of the same people swapping positions and re-entering the company so we're not entirely sure what is going but it certainly raised a few eyebrows within our team.
Specialising in Pay As You Go energy, they provide customers with a mobile app to manage their energy bills on the go whilst also ensuring they can monitor their energy usage with a clever tool to forecast how many days of energy the customer has left available to them.
They do not utilise green energy, with a fuel mix consisting of 9% coal, 60% gas, 18.1% nuclear and just 9% from renewable sources. Not an energy supplier for those of an environmental disposition.
Pricing isn't cheap either but then prepayment meters notoriously carry higher rates which for us is ludicrous given they are often held by those on lower incomes and therefore in greater need of cheaper energy. According to our records, their average annual bill, for a home using both gas (12,000kwh) and electric (3,100kwh) for a year would be £1,251. That's a staggering £384 a year more expensive than the cheapest standard meter energy tariff at the time of writing. Ouch!.
Ok so we know they're not cheap nor the most green but let's look at their customer service. Surely this is where the value comes from? Isn't it?.
Looking at their TrustPilot page they score 3.5 out of 5 (deeming them as "Average"). Of those reviews, 28% score them 1 out of 5 and 5% give them 2 stars. Essentially, 1 in 3 of their customer base suggesting they are not happy with Utilita.
The main crux of the issue seems to be customer service. Looking at their social media they seem to be filled with complaints of not being able to speak to an agent whilst customers sit in the dark...literally.
The Utilita mobile app has been downloaded over 100,000 times but again the scores don't look great offering up 3.4 out of 5 from 586 reviews.
My own personal opinion is that when conducting an energy comparison, I'd look for alternative solutions. Granted, the scores aren't too bad but with a high price, lack of green energy investment and what appears to be a lacking focus on customer service this feels like a gamble and I'm not sure is worth the risk.
Come on Utilita! Time to up your game.
We'll keep an eye on things with Utilita and keep our review updated should anything change.