Holding their head offices in Warwick, England, First Utility was only founded in 2008 but has quickly risen to be the seventh largest business of its kind – but the strength of their competitors mean they still only have market share of around 1%.
They brand themselves as offering the UK’s cheapest gas and electricity tariffs, saying “there is a better way” and guaranteeing to beat the standard tariffs of the “Big Six” energy providers – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE (amergement of Southern Electric and others).
As the largest energy supplier outside the industry-dominating “Big Six”, First Utility are relatively unique in not producing any of their power themselves – instead, they purchase it from the international market. The lack of overheads has enabled to company to undercut the prices of many of their competitors, and much of their custom is brought in through having some of the lowest prices in the industry.
Although the business is classed as being independent, there are some big names who back the company – investment bank Morgan Stanley are believed to own around 10% of First Utility’s shares, with a number of hedge funds believed to also have stakes.
Recently, First Utility has begun to focus on a more aggressive marketing strategy, with sponsorship of Rugby League’s top division, the Super League, being their first major move. The company’s website boast that the next steps at differentiating itself from the competition will be through a pioneering use of smartphone apps – though precisely how they will achieve this remains to be seen.