Utilita is an independent provider which specialises in prepayment tariffs. It was responsible for the installation of the UK’s first smart meter in 2008, claiming to have “helped transform the energy industry for the better” by pioneering this technology.
Utilita reviews: Is it any good?
At first viewing, Utilita reviews appear to be positive. On the consumer review site Trustpilot, the provider gets a score of four stars - much better than many of its competitors, as sites like Trustpilot tend to attract far more disgruntled customers looking to rant about bad experiences than satisfied ones.
Around three quarters of reviewers record a positive experience of four or five stars, with recent positive reviews highlighting the helpfulness and efficiency of its customer services team:
More than happy with the service provided. The gentlemen helped me solve an issue I’ve had since October in a matter of minutes.
This is encouraging but, unfortunately, it doesn’t represent every customer’s experience. Recent Utilita reviews reflect the fact that around a quarter of reviewers record a negative experience of just one or two stars, with many complaining that Utilita is simply too expensive:
£80 spent over the last 30 days living in a 14th floor, 2 bed flat, is an absolute joke. [... ] I understand a business needs to make money but the interest levels are shocking.
This will be an important consideration for those looking to spend less on energy - Utilita reviews don’t give us the impression that it is the best value for money. Other poor reviews also criticise the standard of customer service they’ve received from Utilita, so you’re not guaranteed to find an easy solution to your problem if you ring up.
Overall, Utilita reviews suggest that it generally provides a good service, though a bit on the expensive side and not without the occasional misstep in complaints resolution that no provider is entirely immune to.
We’re now going to take you through the electricity and gas tariffs available to you with Utilita. It is said to be one of the more expensive suppliers in the UK - is this still true? Let’s find out.
While Utilita is most famous for its prepayment tariffs, most of the options available to you can also be got on credit. We’re going to take you through each of them. You’ll notice that Utilita tariffs have no standing charge, instead charging a more expensive rate for the 1st kWh of electricity you use each day and a 2nd for every kWh after that, so there’s almost no difference in the end.
As well as having no standing charge, Utilita energy tariffs do not tie you down for any length of time or charge an exit fee for leaving. This offers customers a considerable level of freedom, but it does also mean that your rate is not fixed and can change whenever Utilita feels like it.
Smart Energy is Utilita’s standard variable tariff and is available for both gas and electricity.
We can see that prepayment is incentivised, with the unit rate after the first kWh slightly lower for both gas and electricity. Neither is the cheapest on the market, however, and we recommend shopping around to see if you can find a better deal. It’s worth remembering that, being a variable tariff, these prices are also able to be put up at any stage.
Premium Energy is also a standard variable tariff, also available for both gas and electricity,
The unit rate after the first kWh is slightly more expensive than it is on Smart Energy, but more significant is how much more the rate for the kWh is. Subscribers spend up to double on Unit Rate 1 for Premium Energy when compared to the Smart Energy tariff, and it’s not immediately clear why.
We recommend getting in touch with Utilita if you have any questions about its tariffs and which would best suit your energy needs.
Here are the rates for Utilita’s Smart E7 tariff, which are only available for electricity. For more about Economy 7 tariffs, see our dedicated page.
The prepayment tariff, which providers normally charge more for, actually offers savings over the Smart E7 Credit tariff after the first kWh. Those looking to save money on an Economy 7 tariff by doing the washing at night, however, would be charged almost double the rate on prepayment that they would on credit.
Premium E7 is a second Economy 7 tariff. It is also only available with electricity. It is not immediately clear what makes the Premium E7 tariff a premium tariff, apart from the fact that its daily rates are more expensive than those of the Smart E7 ones. It would perhaps be worth chatting to an advisor about why this is and how you could benefit from it.
It’s worth noting that its night rate is just as cheap, so if you’re planning on getting an E7 meter to focus your electricity use at night, you would perhaps not spend much more on this tariff.
Freedom Energy (prepayment-only)
Freedom Energy is a deal offered only to customers interested in a prepayment tariff, and seems to offer a decent incentive to potential customers.
The rates for this tariff seem to offer significant savings over Utilita’s other tariffs, particularly on the first unit rate. Bear in mind, however, that for this tariff (unlike all other Utilita tariffs) Unit Rate 1 applies to the first 200 kWh of electricity or 488 kWh of gas you use, rather than just the first kWh.
Even when after you switch to Unit Rate 2, we don’t think you’ll be on the cheapest rate on the market, so the savings you make here (if any) will only be relative to those you would make on another Utilita tariff. If you’re set on a prepayment tariff with Utilita and your energy use is high, however, this is probably the best option for you.
Utilita’s My Time tariffs are for electricity on an Economy 10 or other restricted meter type but not Economy 7. If you also have gas supplied then this can also be charged on this tariff.
The biggest difference between these two tariffs is that the off-peak rate for Credit customers is around half the price that it is on prepayment. If you’re planning to use a lot of energy outside of peak hours, then, this should be enough to tempt you - Unit Rate 1 for Credit is also slightly cheaper.
If, however, you’re not going to be taking advantage of the lower rate outside of peak hours, pay attention to Unit Rate 2 on this tariff, which is quite a bit cheaper for electricity and slightly cheaper for gas as well. After the first kWh of electricity used, prepayment customers pay less for both types of energy.
My Time Basic
Like the My Time tariff, My Time Basic works for Economy 10 and other restricted meters but not for Economy 7, and will cover your gas supply as well.
As with Utilita’s Premium tariffs, My Time Basic, which has a slightly less appropriate name given its charges, is more expensive across the board than My Time and we can’t really see why. Its rates are sometimes double their equivalent My Time rates.
Before you sign up to My Time Basic over My Time, we recommend asking Utilita what you stand to gain from paying a higher rate.
If you’re interested in having a smart meter installed, you could certainly do worse than to sign up for a deal with the UK’s smart meter pioneers. Utilita is, understandably, a big advocate for smart meters - here’s why:
- Smart meter users don’t have to send meter readings or rely on estimates, only paying for exactly what they use.
- Smart meters allow you to top-up online or via the My Utilita app, so you no longer need to make a trip to the shop to top up.
- Smart meters offer In-Home Display, which allows you to track your usage and change your habits to save money on energy.
Utilita is not clear on how much the installation of a smart meter will cost, though it does say clearly on its website that they are installed “at extra cost by our expert engineers” - perhaps hoping your brain will insert the word “no” between the words “at” and “extra”.
Utilita top-up options
As we’ve mentioned above, the easiest Utilita top-up option, if you have a smart meter, is through the My Utilita app, but the old way is still available to the traditionalists.
If you prefer, you can go to a PayPoint outlet (signposted with two Ps on a yellow background) - a full list of them is available on the Utilita website, or you can call 0330 8082 026 to be advised on where your nearest one is.
If you’ve registered (via the Utilita website or app), you can also use the free SMS Utilita top-up service by texting the word Pay, your top-up card number, the amount you’d like to top up, and your 3-digit card security code (CVV code) to 01803 500 051. If you need more help doing this you’ll find a guide in the Help Centre of Utilita’s website.
How long does it take for Utilita to top-up?
If you do your Utilita top-up via the app, online, or via text, the process should be immediate. Be advised, however, that a Utilita top-up done via PayPoint can take up to 30 minutes to arrive in your account.
My Utilita app
Being a specialist in prepayment tariffs, Utilita energy relies heavily on having a quality app that gives customers control over their usage. Here’s a selection of things the My Utilita app allows you to do from your phone:
- Check your energy bills and credit
- Top-up and make payments
- Save your card details to make paying quick and easy
- Keep tabs on how much energy you’re using
- Apply for a Power-Up
- Refer friends to Utilita
- Get exclusive rewards with Utilita Extra
- Enter your meter readings
The above features are certainly enough to make managing your energy consumption easy, but how will the app works seems to depend largely on which operating system you use. Reviews for My Utilita on Google Play and the App Store differ significantly, with ratings for the Android version averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars and those for the iOS version averaging just 2.4 out of 5.
Reviews on iOS cite a lack of user-friendliness as the reason for marking it down, with several also reporting problems topping up. My Utilita will have to address these issues for Apple users to enjoy as good a service as that reported by around 7,000 Android users.
Utilita Contact Number
Looking for a Utilita contact number? We can help with that:
|Department||Utilita contact number||Opening hours|
|Customer care team||0345 207 2000||Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm; Saturday: 8am to 5pm|
Utilita encourages customers to consult its Help Centre if they’re having any issues with their service or account. They have pages on all manner of issues, as well as tutorial videos on solving common problems. You may be able to solve your issue by signing into My Utilita or by logging in online.
If the above doesn’t help and you can’t get through over the phone with the Utility contact number we’ve provided, try its virtual assistant, which is available via the online chat service on its website or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your query.
Utilita Warm Home Discount
Utilita offers the Warm Home Discount to customers who qualify for the scheme either as a part of the Core Group or the Broader Group. Members of the Core Group do not need to apply - the Department of Work and Pensions informs Utilita of these customers and the discount is applied to their bill automatically.
If you’re a Utilita customer and think you qualify for the discount as a member of the Broader Group, you can apply through the My Utilita app. Utilita Warm Home Discount applications for 2020 can be made when the application window opens from 5-12 August. Utilita uses the criteria set by Ofgem to assess eligibility - you will have to still be with the company on the 31st of January 2021 to qualify.
About Utilita Energy
Utilita was established in 2003 and launched in 2004, but it wasn’t until three years later that it began to focus on smart meters in order to help customers save money by giving them control over their consumption and spending. Utilita installed the UK’s first smart meter in 2008 and has since rolled out over 25,000 of them.
It remained a small operation until 2014, when it experienced rapid growth, in May reaching the important milestone of 100,000 subscribers. It’s growth continued in the years following this, reaching 675,000 subscribers by 2018 - a market share of 2%, which placed it among the UK’s ten biggest providers.
More recently, Utilita energy has come under fire for the expensiveness of its service. In January 2020, Ofgem announced that it was investigating the provider for a suspected breach of the price cap for prepayment meters between May and September 2019.
If you ask us, just as suspect as its flouting of the price cap is Utilita’s energy mix, which makes for grim reading for environmentally-conscious consumers:
As you can see, less than 10% of Utilita’s fuel mix is sourced from renewable energy, which is significantly below the national average. More than two-thirds of its energy is sourced from natural gas, so signing up with Utilita energy is not the option for those who want to bring down their carbon emissions.
The Utilita Arena is a sport and entertainment arena in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the north of England. It is owned and operated by ASM Global and sponsored by Utilita. It hosts music, entertainment, sport, and business events, with a capacity of up to 11,000 as a music venue. In 2012, it hosted the Newcastle audition stages of ITV’s The X Factor.