Utility Warehouse

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Utility Warehouse
Brand Name
IndustryPublic utility
Founded2002
HeadquartersColindale
Products
ParentTelecom Plus PLC
WebsiteUtility Warehouse

Utility Warehouse is a multi-utility provider based in London, England. It is a brand name of its parent company, Telecom Plus.[1][2] It currently handles over 600,000 customer accounts with the help of over 40,000 independent distributors. Utility Warehouse supplies customers with landline telephony, mobile telephony, broadband, gas, and electricity.[3] The Utility Warehouse brand is the primary engine of revenue generation for Telecom Plus.[2]

History[edit]

The Utility Warehouse brand has been linked to Telecom Plus since 2002 when Telecom Plus launched it as a single brand to encompass all of the company's residential services. Since then, Utility Warehouse has been the operating brand for all of Telecom Plus's residential energy, telephony and broadband offerings.[4]

In 2006, Utility Warehouse and Telecom Plus entered into an agreement with npower that tasked npower with supplying energy (gas and electricity) to Utility Warehouse customers.[2] Utility Warehouse essentially sold two subsidiaries (Electricity Plus and Gas Plus) to npower.

In 2013, however, npower sold the two former Telecom Plus subsidiaries back to Utility Warehouse for £218 million.[5] As a result, Utility Warehouse became one of the largest independent energy suppliers in the UK[2][5] with over 500,000 customers and 770,000 gas and electricity supply points to their name.[3]

The deal also sparked commentary about the possibility of npower's parent company RWE leaving the UK, or the emergence of a "Big Seven" in place of the existing Big Six energy suppliers.[1][2][6]

Operation[edit]

Utility Warehouse operates as part of the Telecom Plus holding company. It employs a multi-level marketing model that utilizes independent distributors to obtain new customers. Distributors introduce both residential and business customers.[4] The Utility Warehouse headquarters is in North London.[7]

The company supplies gas, electricity, broadband, mobile and landline telephony.[3] Their telephony and energy services are often bundled to theoretically reduce costs for customers.[5]

In 2018, the company came seventh out of thirty companies in the Which? energy customer survey, with high scores for online customer service and value for money; earlier that year it received the Which? Utilities Brand of the Year award.[8]

A 2009 article by The Guardian reported that Telecom Plus's rates were generally average, and as much as 20% higher than the best deals.[9]

Marketing[edit]

Utility Warehouse has no shops and does not advertise on television or in the national press. The company has focused on word-of-mouth as a primary means of promotion, and offers bonuses to distributors who recruit new customers and distributors.[7]

Distributors gain a commission from both their own customers, and their distributor's customers, making Telecom Plus a multi-level marketing company. In 2017, Utility Warehouse announced their Quick Income Plan (QUIP) scheme, which allows distributors to earn lump sums based on the size of their customer base.[10]

There is a £100 joining cost to become a distributor (reduced to £50 if they become, or already are a customer).[9]

A 2017 Guardian investigation found that the average amount a distributor would make would be less than £10 a week.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Npower sells some subsidiaries to Telecom Plus for £218m". BBC. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gosden, Emily (20 November 2013). "Utility Warehouse buys 770,000 customer accounts from npower in £218m deal". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Macalister, Terry; Jennifer Rankin (20 November 2013). "RWE npower supply sale raises fears over UK withdrawal". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  4. ^ a b Tieman, Ross (13 March 2009). "Company of the Year: Telecom Plus". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Chazan, Guy (20 November 2013). "Telecom Plus deal to challenge big six UK energy suppliers". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  6. ^ Gosden, Emily (20 November 2013). "Energy challenger Telecom Plus leaps to Big Six's defence". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  7. ^ a b Stafford, Philip (29 March 2009). "Telecom Plus boosted by word-of-mouth support". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Utility Warehouse Review". Which?. Retrieved 2019-05-26.
  9. ^ a b Jones, Rupert (4 December 2009). "Utility Warehouse under the spotlight". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  10. ^ Ritchie, Stuart. "Utility Warehouse Franchise: How It Works". The Stuart Ritchie.
  11. ^ Jones, Rupert (2017-07-08). "Get rich quick? Not with Utility Warehouse". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-18.

External links[edit]