Ian McCaig, Chief Executive, said: “As we’ve grown to become a nationally significant energy supplier, it felt like the right time to thank our customers, new and old, for their support and give something back to the wider community.
“That’s why we’ve pledged to donate 1% of profits every year to make life better for vulnerable families and individuals in the UK via our First Utility Foundation.
The First Utility Foundation is an independent charity run by a board of independent trustees. It will award grants to initiatives which deliver a genuine improvement to the lives of vulnerable families and individuals within the UK in the following areas:
- Projects which focus on making life better for those with a disability
- Schemes that improve the quality of life of the elderly
- Programmes which positively impact families and children
Projects that demonstrate a track record reaching marginalised communities and/or deliver innovative solutions to alleviate suffering will be given special consideration.
McCaig added: “We all know the British Big Six have dominated the energy market since privatisation some 16 years ago. They’ve had it all their own for too long.
“But now, thanks to the support of our customers, we’re laying down a serious challenge. We now supply more than 1 million meters (gas and electricity) to more than 550,000 customers making us the largest of the independent providers. We still a long way from the size of the Big Six, who each have millions of customers, but we’re growing quickly!
“Saving our customers money is what we’re all about at First Utility and we’re proud to say that customers joining us save an average of £213 a year.
“As we grow we’re also becoming more of a force to be reckoned with. We have a strong voice within the industry now and we’re using it to make changes that benefit all households across the UK.
“Energy is a serious topic and one that needs sensible debate, but it also needs fresh thinking and a desire to not just stay as we are.
“That’s why we’re hugely proud of the success of our campaign to shorten switching time from 5 weeks to 3 days (after cooling off) by the end of the year. We believe that will make it easier to switch and remove one of the barriers stopping people changing supplier for a better deal.
“To celebrate this milestone we have also pledged to donate 1% of all our profits to the First Utility Foundation, a charitable trust that will award grants to projects that make life better for vulnerable families and individuals across the UK.
“We think it’s right that we give something back to our community and this has been passionately supported by all of us at First Utility.”
A spokesman for Energy UK – the trade association which represents the UK’s utility providers – said: “The energy market is becoming increasingly competitive as today’s news that First Utility has reached the landmark of one million customer accounts proves.
“Customers have access to a variety of deals from over 20 suppliers. More than 225,000 households are switching suppliers each month, and are shopping around to find the best supplier to suit them.”
A spokesman for Which? – the UK consumers’ association – said: “It’s good to see the independent suppliers attracting customers and growing, but they are still dwarfed in size by the Big Six. While a step forward this alone isn’t enough to make this sector work better for consumers.
“We need to see radical reforms to ‘fix the Big Six’ that will inject more competition into the market and help rebuild trust by giving consumers confidence that the price they pay for their energy is fair.”