Amit Patel, who runs Belvedere News Food & Wine, emailed a query that immediately got my attention. "I have been recommended that I switch my energy supply to a company trading by the name Utility Warehouse (www.utilitywarehouse.co.uk). The parent company trades by the name Telecom Plus.

"According to its website and sales pitch it is a members-only club. You have to join to benefit from some of the lowest tariffs on the market. As it doesn't advertise in the media it can pass on savings to the customer.

"The website also states that there is no minimum contract and no exit charges are applied if someone decides to walk away if they were to find a more competitive quote."

He's done his research, has Amit. He adds: "According to Which? (October 2008) it has achieved a customer satisfaction rating of 72% defined by certain criteria."

He also contacted Trading Standards to see if any complaints had been lodged but was told it was unable to disclose any information due to the Data Protection Act. (Always struck me as a particularly useless, handy-to-hide-behind Act for authorities while the rest of the world is out stealing identities, but don't get me started.)

I also had a look at the website and rang the 'contact us' number. A chatty young man told me: "We go by word of mouth and pass on the savings to the customer. We can contractually promise to be cheaper than BT, British Gas and the electricity companies. We monitor other companies on a monthly basis. We also do incentives for customers, so we get a lot of referrals."

Ah, referrals... you know what's coming, don't you? Can anyone out there recommend Utility Warehouse? Because if so, we all want to know.

Topics