Utilita Energy has released a mobile app to extend the range of top-up methods available to its prepaid gas and electricity customers. Utilita is the only UK energy supplier that focuses on the prepayment segment, serving over 250,000 customers.
The new app lets customers top up from home or on the go using a payment card. Once a user’s card details have been stored in the app, recharging takes less than a minute. Cash top-ups are possible too, as the app generates barcodes that can be scanned at PayPoint outlets to upload credit to the customer’s energy account. Customers can also view their top-up history on the app, amend their account details, and access help and support. In future, Utilita plans to extend the features and functionality that the app can offer.
The launch comes hot on the heels of news from British Gas that its mobile app is the preferred top-up method for customers participating in its Smart Pay As You Go (PAYG) trials. Another ‘Big 6’ supplier, E.ON, is also trialling a mobile app in its Smart PAYG pilot, while the Smart PAYG+ tariff from independent supplier OVO Energy is strongly geared towards smartphone users. Spark Energy is also planning a mobile app to accompany its smart prepayment roll-out in social housing.
While Great Britain is seeing a surge of activity around smart PAYG as the energy suppliers gear up for the mass deployment of smart meters starting in 2016, Utilita is far from green in using smart meters to deliver a customer-friendly and cost-effective prepayment service. The supplier has been installing PAYG smart meters for over a decade, leveraging the technological advances brought in by smart metering to underpin its strategic goals of providing customers with a simple, user-friendly and competitively priced prepaid service.
Utilita’s main tariff, Smart Energy, is consistently one of the cheapest prepay tariffs available on the market, which the supplier says has been made possible by using smart meters to cut the cost of serving prepayment customers.
Utilita expects the broader adoption of smart PAYG technology in Great Britain to spur an enormous growth in prepaid energy, estimating that 10 million homes – nearly 40% – could be served by smart PAYG meters within the next decade. Utilita currently has around ten times more smart PAYG customers than any other UK supplier.