How do Utility Warehouse's fixed energy deals stack up?

Utility Warehouse has two fixed energy deals that are up to 17% cheaper than the January Price Cap on average, making them among the cheapest 'open-market' (switchable) fixes available.

BUT... it's not as simple as just switching your energy, as you have to take other products too. So here we give you the pros and cons of this somewhat controversial provider.

  1. The Energy Price Cap, which controls the price of standard tariffs that the vast majority of homes in England, Scotland and Wales are on, is £1,928/year for a typical home, but is set to fall to £1,690 a year from 1 April. Our current rule of thumb is... 

    Based on current published predictions, it would be worth fixing for 17% less than the current (January to March 2024) Price Cap.

    The full explanation of this is in our 'Should I fix my energy or stay on the Price Cap?' guide.

    Important: We'd strongly suggest you read that guide before this, both to understand when it's the right time to fix, and how Utility Warehouse's tariff fits in.

  2. This is about Utility Warehouse's 'Fixed Saver 14' and 'Fixed 14' one-year fixed tariffs

    Utility Warehouse currently offers two 12-month fixed energy deals. The tariffs are very similar, the only difference is the price and the number of other products you need to take from Utility Warehouse to get them: 

    • 'Fixed Saver 14' – 17% cheaper than the Price Cap on average. You'll need at least two other services (from broadband, mobile and insurance). If you're an existing energy customer, you can only get the fix if you have at least three services from it AND one service must have been added in the last 45 days. 

    • 'Fixed 14' – 12% cheaper than the Price Cap on average. You'll need at least one other service (from broadband, mobile and insurance). If you're an existing energy customer, you can only get the fix if you have at least two services from it AND one service must have been added in the last 45 days. 

    If you judge it in isolation (from the other products you need to get it), the 'Fixed Saver 14' tariff is the cheapest switchable fix on the market, and it even undercut most of the cheapest existing customer fixes being offered. Its more expensive 'Fixed 14' tariff however, is unlikely to be worth considering.  

    Both tariffs have the same terms, the only difference is the price and the services you need to get them. Here's a quick summary of the tariff details…

    • They're available to new and existing dual-fuel and electricity-only customers.
    • The rates are fixed until 28 February 2025.
    • You need to get smart meters if you don't already have them, but Utility Warehouse is offering £50 bill credit if you get them installed. You can still get these tariffs if you can't get smart meters for technical reasons.
    • They have £150 dual-fuel early exit fees (£75 for electricity-only).
    • You'll pay on average 7% more if you don't pay by Direct Debit.

    The exact rates vary by region. Below we've shown the average rates for each tariff, compared to the current January Price Cap and the new April Price Cap:

    Standing charges and unit rates for gas and electricity

      'Fixed Saver 14' rates 'Fixed 14' rates Current Energy Price Cap rates
    (1 Jan to 31 Mar)

    New Energy Price Cap rates

    (1 Apr to 30 Jun)

    Gas 

    Unit rate: 6.64p per kilowatt hour
     

    Standing charge: 9.02p per day

    Unit rate: 6.64p per kWh
     

    Standing charge: 22.72p per day

    Unit rate: 7.42 per kWh

    Standing charge: 
    29.60p per day

    Unit rate: 6.04 per kWh

     

    Standing charge: 31.43p per day

    Electricity

    Unit rate: 26.91p per kWh
     

    Standing charge: 26.80p per day

    Unit rate: 26.91p per kWh
     

    Standing charge: 40.50p per day

    Unit rate: 28.62p per kWh
     

    Standing charge: 53.35p per day

    Unit rate: 24.50p per kWh

    Standing charge: 60.10p per day

    Assumes payment by Direct Debit and includes VAT (at 5%).

    The percentage figures we give against the current is an average, but as what you pay depends on where you live and how much you use (due to an interaction of the standing charge and unit prices), you'll need to get a quote yourself to see the exact price difference between it and what you'll pay on the Price Cap (you should also find out the exact unit rates in your region). You can also use our 'Should you fix calculator?' to check.  

    That's especially important for those on lower usage, because you have to factor the savings on that against the cost of the other products you'll need.

    When comparing it is best to look at the unit rates rather than the annual cost quoted to ensure an accurate comparison.

  3. You can only get these fixes if you switch to its other products too – which are often not the cheapest

    To get access to these fixes, you'll need to take other services from Utility Warehouse. For the cheaper Fixed Saver 14 tariff you'll need take at least two of the below services. For the Fixed 14 tariff, you'll need at least one of other service. 

    You'll need this for at least the life of the energy fix (there's no loophole where you can sign up for an extra service and cancel, do that and you'll lose the fix and move to its standard tariff):

    • An 18-month broadband & line contract. It's £24 a month for its 38Mb deal, or £31 a month for 63Mb, both on an 18-month contract. Both have a £5.99 delivery fee and offer a 10% discount if you own your home and also take its mobile phone service. If you need a new phone line installed, there is an extra £1/month charge. 

      The 38Mb deal is relatively cheap, though for faster speeds you'll likely pay more with Utility Warehouse compared to other switchers' deals when you factor in the sign-up incentives you can get elsewhere (eg, Amazon vouchers or bill credit). To see how it compares against other deals, use our Broadband comparison tool.

      Important: The broadband contract is 18 months, while the energy fixes are only 12 months, so you would be locked into the broadband six months longer than energy. When the energy fix ends you'll be moved onto its standard tariff.

    • A rolling one-month Sim-only contract. For 8GB a month of data and unlimited calls and texts it's £13 a month, if you want unlimited data plus EU roaming it's £23 a month. Both are on a rolling one-month contract, and use EE. You can get this substantially cheaper (for example, around £3.50 a month for 5GB of data), see our Cheap Mobile Finder tool for the cheapest deals.

    • A 12-month boiler and home cover contract. This is not its home insurance policy, this is boiler and home cover, which covers an annual service, boiler and breakdown cover, plumbing, drainage and electrics, and security, roofing and pests. It costs £20 a month on a one-year contract.

    This makes things more complex as you have to factor in the cost of these on top of the energy bills. That means this is a better bet for those with higher use, rather than lower use. As while its other services are usually far from the best buys, if you have high energy bills the savings on that can trump the extra you'll be paying on the other services (and really high users could save £100s). The gain is increased if you can make use of its cashback card.

    Plus as we're MSE, we compare it to the very best current deals, and you may not be on those already.

    So if you strongly value price certainty, and your existing supplier doesn't offer a deal or you're desperate to switch away from your current firm, this could be worth considering.

    Warning: Do check you're not tied into an existing contract. As you need other services to get the energy deals, you'll likely need be out of contract for some of them. With both broadband and mobile, early exit penalties can be very high, and you may need to pay off the full amount remaining on your contract to leave. However, UW says it will pay up to £400 in early terminations when you switch at least three of your services from other providers. If you switch two or fewer, you'll have to cough up the exit fees yourself and that could kibosh any gains. Plus, private renters will need to install a fully functioning smart meter to be eligible for the £400.

  4. We've always had reservations mentioning Utility Warehouse due to its network marketing – but this deal merits it

    Utility Warehouse is a multi-utility firm designed to try to persuade you to use it for as many utilities as possible. In the past, it hasn't often troubled our best-buy lists as there have been other deals that are cheaper.

    However, this deal does substantially undercut any other energy fix being offered right now, so we felt it important to explain it to you. It is worth you understanding though, that…

    Utility Warehouse is commonly sold via 'multi-level marketing'

    While you can sign up directly with Utility Warehouse, it is commonly sold via its 'partners'. These are usually its customers earning an income by selling on products to others, often encouraging friends and family to sign up – and that is an 'opportunity' you will likely be offered if you sign up.

    This can mean some individuals (rather than the parent firm) can make comments about the company which can be over-exuberant. We'd caution to take some of the claims that are made about the firm elsewhere with a pinch of salt. And analyse the prices yourself.

    Network marketing is a controversial way to sell products, and there are anti-network marketing campaign groups which refer it as pyramid sales.

    This article does NOT mean MSE or Martin Lewis recommend Utility Warehouse, or network marketing

    Now we suspect – as happened when it was briefly mentioned before – a few of its sales people may try to jump on this page, so we want to be clear that this is not a flat recommendation for Utility Warehouse. This is simply a review of its new fixed tariff, with pros and cons, and how it stacks up against what's happening in the energy market at this moment, as we do with all firms when they have tariffs that are competitive.

  5. What would happen if Utility Warehouse (or any energy firm) went bust?

    More than 20 energy firms have gone bust since July 2021. We have no information to suggest Utility Warehouse is at risk (that's not our expertise), and in some ways it has the advantage that it is not reliant solely on supplying energy for its income.

    Yet these days, with huge firms such as Bulb having gone under, it is a sensible question to ask – especially from a firm undercutting the rest of the market – of all but the very biggest energy firms (and probably even with them too).

    If it were to go under, you are protected by the Ofgem safety net. That means if it went bust you'd get continuity of supply and any credit you built up would be protected (you would be owed it by whichever firm took over the supply).

    However, it is very likely you would lose the fixed tariff and be moved to a standard, price-capped tariff at whatever rate it is then, which is no worse a position than most are in now (though obviously you may have lost the chance to fix elsewhere).

  6. One boon, especially for Sainsbury's and Aldi shoppers, is its cashback card, which gives you up to 10% cashback

    Utility Warehouse customers also have access to its prepaid cashback card.

    The big ones are 3% at Sainsbury's and Aldi, and 4% at M&S, which are unbeatable, so if you regularly do your grocery shop at any of those this can make a substantial difference to the maths (for example, £100 a week Sainsbury's shopping nets £156 a year). There's also 4% at Ikea, 5% at Argos and Boots and at about 50 other retailers and restaurant chains (though as spending tends to be lower at the others, it'll have less impact).

    And because if you go for the fix, you'll need other products too, you'd also qualify for 1% back on other spending – though you can get that from the Chase debit card without having to shell out for anything else or switch bank.

    The Utility Warehouse card is one you need to top up before you spend, so it's always best to top up these types of cards in small increments. But there's little risk if anything was to go wrong, as funds are effectively stored in a high street bank account, separate from the firm's own operating funds, so the funds would always be there for the card user.

    The only risk comes if the underlying bank goes bust, in which case you would have no recourse to get your money back, though that is extremely unlikely.

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