Looking to save money on your utility bills? Some companies claim that you can find a better deal if you have all your bills from one provider. Take a look at this Utility Warehouse review to see if it really is cheaper than the rest.
I’m fairly active on Facebook. By that, I mean I read what others have to say, chuckle and then go on about my day. However, I also belong to several groups for my local town. As I scroll past the usual posts about crap parking/driving, complaints about fireworks or pictures of missing cats (along with the obligatory joke about the Chinese takeaway), I often see posts about who is the best energy provider.
I usually take my time to answer these, often pointing people in the direction of price comparison websites or dropping by Octopus referral link into the conversation. But I have noticed a lot of people recommending a company called Utility Warehouse. Apparently, they offer some great deals, so I thought I would check them out.
Who is Utility Warehouse?
Utility Warehouse is a discount club that offers energy bundled with other utilities. According to Which? they became an energy supplier back in 2013 after buying 770,000 customers from Npower. Currently, they are the biggest energy provider outside of the “Big 6”. They also scored top for customer satisfaction out of all the energy providers – although that bar is set quite low…
Who owns Utility Warehouse?
The brand is owned by Telecoms Plus PLC. The company is licensed by energy regulator Ofgem and regulated by Ofcom.
How does Utility Warehouse work?
Utility Warehouse doesn’t advertise as much as other companies. They have a far cleverer way of operating. Instead of bombarding you with TV and radio adverts, Utility Warehouse recruits agents (also known as partners). And who is more likely to convince you to switch providers – a random stranger or a family member?
This type of sales technique is known as Multi-Level Marketing, something I am not a big fan of. You can see how few people actually do well from MLMs.
What does a partner do?
In my relationship, not much. Boom! (Don’t worry, my wife never reads my blog anyway). It’s the job of a partner (or agent) to recruit new customers to Utility Warehouse. Doing so will earn them some commission. Occasionally, you may see a car driving around town with Utility Warehouse splashed all over it which will often belong to one of these partners. But the most common place partners operate from is social media. That is why I would see so many people recommending Utility Warehouse – it was a potential money-spinner for them.
A stairway to success
As a partner refers more people, they move up the ‘stairway’.
- Step 1 – Distributor
- Step 2 – Qualified Distributor – gather 3 personal members
- Step 3 – Team Leader – 10 personal members and 50 customers
- Step 4 – Senior Team Leader – 15 personal members and 250 customers
- Step 5 – Group Leader – 20 personal members and 750 customers
- Step 6 – Senior Group Leader – 25 personal members and 2,000 customers
- Step 7 – National Group Leader – 50 personal members and 7,000 customers
- Step 8 – National Network Leader – 100 personal members and 25,000 customers
As you can see, there is a potential to earn a lot of money as you move up the ladder. But it also takes a lot of work.
Ask yourself this though, are partners looking at saving you money or moving up the ladder?
Is Utility Warehouse really cheaper?
Right, so we all know I’m a blogger. And I know for a fact that some bloggers would promote poking yourself in the eye with a pencil if it meant they could earn some money from it. I try to give a balanced opinion of everything I review but if you believe that, it’s up to you. I can never trust anybody that promotes something in which they receive a commission, so felt the need to see if Utility Warehouse really did provide good value.
Now, bear in mind that I always keep a close eye on my bills (aka tight), so Utility Warehouse would be hard pushed to find me a better price.
Within a couple of minutes, I was on the Utility Warehouse site and saving £644 per year on their Double Gold package. Which was impressive as they didn’t know how much I spent in the first place!
Filling out my details was easy enough and I soon had my quote.
The only issue came when getting a quote for energy. Utility Warehouse provides you with free LED bulbs for joining them, which can help reduce your electricity usage. However, when you get your quote, they automatically reduce your electricity consumption by 15%. This is a complete stab in the dark (pardon the pun). How much you save will depend on how many bulbs you have, how many of you there are in the house and how often you’re home. For example, a single person working nights will save next to nothing. And my house won’t save anything as I’ve installed LED’s in every room.
Yet, my electricity quote was still reduced by 15%! You can book for somebody to come round to change your bulbs, but you will be charged £25 if you miss the appointment.
I wasn’t happy with the quote so I adjusted my electricity figures back up to how much I would really use.
So, will Utility Warehouse save me money?
Below is a comparison of how much I currently pay and how much Utility Warehouse would cost.
|Current Monthly cost||Cost with Utility Warehouse|
In total, my Utility Warehouse monthly bill would come to £116. Currently, I am paying £102.58. So signing up to Utility Warehouse would leave me slightly worse off. And that doesn’t take into consideration the £50 credit I received for joining Octopus Energy or the £75 from TopCashback and £50 from Santander (yes, double whammy) for joining First Utility.
Is it poor value then?
No, the tariffs from Utility Warehouse are still better than many other companies. If you’re looking for a simple solution, then they’re worth looking at. However, you can still find better value if you shop around. And use cashback sites to find even better deals.
Plus, I haven’t told you about the cashback card. This is a kind of prepaid debit card that you load funds onto. Every time you make a purchase, you receive cashback. There are 50 retailers that offer between 3-7% cashback (including, Sainsbury’s, Argos and B&Q) whilst everywhere else gives you 1% back. There are some credit cards that offer a similar cashback scheme, although most are not as generous as 1%.
You can also earn cashback by shopping online through Utility Warehouse, but this looks similar to TopCashback and Quidco.
But be careful…
The majority of people switching to Utility Warehouse are those that are unable switch their utility bills themselves (for one reason or another).
Be warned that when you join a new provider, they often give you a discounted price for a set period, usually for 12 months. Once this period is over, you will be moved onto a standard price plan, which is generally far more costly.
If you’re somebody that doesn’t shop around or haggle with your current provider, you will see your bills rise sharply.
Should I become a partner?
It’s not something I would consider. First of all, you have to pay between £100-200 to get started. Then you have to start chasing sales. Do you really want to be “that friend” who is constantly badgering others to change their provider? And once you’ve got through your friends and family, where next? According to the Guardian, the average partner earns £505 per year. And that’s before tax and any other costs you may have.
Should I switch to Utility Warehouse?
Utility Warehouse does offer competitive pricing and it’s probably easier for many people to have just one bill. But, I’m still better off with my current providers, so I won’t be switching anytime soon. Plus, a lot of companies will also offer you their own incentives or money through cashback sites if you join, so you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Take a look at the Utility Warehouse site if you want to find out more.
Is Utility Warehouse a MLM company?
Yes, Utility Warehouse is what is known as a multi-level marketing company. Most new customers are encouraged to join by UW partners who will earn a commission. These partners will also recruit members to their team, and will also earn commission when their team members make money.
Is Utility Warehouse a pyramid scheme?
No. Pyramid schemes are illegal in the UK and indicate that a company is fraudulent. Although the business model relies on representatives selling services to (mainly) friends and family, it is a legitimate company.
Who do Utility Warehouse use for broadband?
Their broadband operates on the Openreach network – the same network as nearly all the other providers, excluding Virgin Media.
Who is the energy supplier for Utility Warehouse?
Utility Warehouse is operated by Telecom Plus plc. and supplies its own electricity and gas directly to customers.
What mobile network does Utility Warehouse use?
The company uses the EE network.