Utility Alliance

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Utility Alliance's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Utility Alliance is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.utility-alliance.com

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
48 | UTILITY ALLIANCE
Utility Alliance is proud to
support several local causes,
highlighted by a sponsorship
deal with Hartlepool United FC
Utility Alliance, with three bases around
the UK, is regarded as one of the best-
performing energy consultants in the UK
Hartlepool-based B2B energy consultancy Utility Alliance
was established just five years ago, but it has grown to
a team of 450 people operating across three offices. Its
directors have more than 30 years’ experience in the sector,
and the firm won Hartlepool Business of the Year in 2017.
CEO Darren Sutherland tells
The Parliamentary Review
that
Utility Alliance trades, monitors and leverages the latest energy
technologies to save businesses time and money.
We were founded in February 2015 as a B2B energy consultancy. Our two
original directors established the business after building up a significant amount
of experience working for another company within the sector. As sales managers,
they would lead teams whose goal it was to secure new business, being paid ten
per cent of the commission. After building up a large set of contacts, they decided
to take a gamble and establish their own business, taking on four apprentices to
work on the phones.
Growing quickly
They soon found office space in a business centre for new start-ups in Hartlepool
and quickly drew up a business plan. Starting off with nothing, their aim for the
first year was to reach a turnover of £500,000; they significantly exceeded their
own expectations and by the end of the first year, the business had a turnover
of £1.1 million. Profits made were immediately invested back into the company
and a concerted recruitment drive followed, which led to the company having 60
employees by the end of this first year.
FACTS ABOUT
UTILITY ALLIANCE
»CEO: Darren Sutherland
»Managing Director:
BobMoore
»COO: Phill Moore
»Established in 2015
»Based in Hartlepool
»Services: B2B energy
consultancy
»No. of employees: 450
Utility Alliance
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
48 | UTILITY ALLIANCE
Utility Alliance is proud to
support several local causes,
highlighted by a sponsorship
deal with Hartlepool United FC
Utility Alliance, with three bases around
the UK, is regarded as one of the best-
performing energy consultants in the UK
Hartlepool-based B2B energy consultancy Utility Alliance
was established just five years ago, but it has grown to
a team of 450 people operating across three offices. Its
directors have more than 30 years’ experience in the sector,
and the firm won Hartlepool Business of the Year in 2017.
CEO Darren Sutherland tells
The Parliamentary Review
that
Utility Alliance trades, monitors and leverages the latest energy
technologies to save businesses time and money.
We were founded in February 2015 as a B2B energy consultancy. Our two
original directors established the business after building up a significant amount
of experience working for another company within the sector. As sales managers,
they would lead teams whose goal it was to secure new business, being paid ten
per cent of the commission. After building up a large set of contacts, they decided
to take a gamble and establish their own business, taking on four apprentices to
work on the phones.
Growing quickly
They soon found office space in a business centre for new start-ups in Hartlepool
and quickly drew up a business plan. Starting off with nothing, their aim for the
first year was to reach a turnover of £500,000; they significantly exceeded their
own expectations and by the end of the first year, the business had a turnover
of £1.1 million. Profits made were immediately invested back into the company
and a concerted recruitment drive followed, which led to the company having 60
employees by the end of this first year.
FACTS ABOUT
UTILITY ALLIANCE
»CEO: Darren Sutherland
»Managing Director:
BobMoore
»COO: Phill Moore
»Established in 2015
»Based in Hartlepool
»Services: B2B energy
consultancy
»No. of employees: 450
Utility Alliance
49UTILITY ALLIANCE |
BUSINESS SERVICES
As the business continued to grow,
turnover grew with it and by January
2017, we had reached £5 million.
Having outgrown our original
premises, with the workforce having
reached 150, we moved into a derelict
building, renovated the space and
constructed a purpose-built office
block. Alongside constituting a real
success for the company itself, this
new development was also a massive
boost to the local area. With the arrival
of all these new employees, the local
economy was invigorated and the
business received recognition from
local councils for our job creation and
stimulation of the local market. Our
greatest achievement to date is being
recognised as one of
The Sunday
Times
’ Best 100 Places to Work, a huge
achievement for a fledgling company.
Increasing brand exposure
The next step in the growth of our
business was to increase our brand
exposure, something which is central
when engaging in outbound sales.
We organised a number of campaigns
to boost this exposure, including
sponsoring the local football team and
becoming directly involved in the local
community, working with hospices and
local further education colleges.
Hartlepool has its share of socio-
economic problems and we helped to
tackle them through our regeneration
of the local area and our local
recruitment drives. In order to attract
younger generations, we have created
a vibrant, incentive-driven culture and
the effects of this have been clear to
see: 80 per cent of our workforce are
in the 18–30 bracket.
Building trust
A key element that sets us apart
from others in our sector is our
transparency. Our industry is
unregulated and because of this, there
are sometimes rogue elements who
tarnish the reputation of the industry.
In order to tackle this, we have focused
on transparency. All of our sales
staff have individual, inbound phone
numbers so they can be contacted
directly, and they are available to
answer any concerns during our
officehours.
Building up relationships with suppliers
has been key to our success. We have
developed relationships with 48 of the
top suppliers in the UK and Europe,
and to gain the trust of these suppliers,
who are often multi-billion pound
global businesses, we had to prove
ourselves. After presenting the results
we had achieved, we were able to win
their trust.
This has led to further growth and we
expanded beyond Hartlepool, opening
a new office in Sheffield, which
created a further 100 opportunities for
employment. This office, Utility Alliance
Yorkshire, recently celebrated its
second anniversary and has served to
expand both our reach and ourprofile.
Soon after, we opened an office in
Newcastle, an area with significant
competition. While there are five or six
large brokers in this area, there is also
a large talent pool. Potential recruits Utility Alliance HQ, located
on the picturesque
Hartlepool Marina
Our greatest
achievement
to date is
being
recognised as
one of
The
Sunday Times
Best 100
Places to
Work
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
50 | UTILITY ALLIANCE
from Newcastle were being put off by
the length of time it took to come to
work in our office and so we decided
to grab the bull by the horns and move
closer to this pool of potential recruits.
These expansions have drastically
grown our workforce to 450 and
increased our turnover, which now
stands at £25 million.
A key strength of our business,
and something which is attractive
to potential recruits, is the level of
career development we are able to
offer. Many of our staff in senior
management positions began as
apprentices and even for those who
have left, we have been able to offer
them valuable life skills and experience.
Because of this career progression,
senior managers have personal
relationships with our staff and we
have always maintained an open
doorpolicy.
Adapting to market changes
One of the challenges we constantly
face is the fluctuating price of the
energy we provide. These prices are
affected by a plethora of national
and global events and so we must
keep abreast of these changes to
make sure we are able to adapt. One
of the key ways we have adapted
to these fluctuations is to act as
account managers for the businesses
we work with. As prices change, we
provide audits and advise them on
ways to save money while reducing
their carbon footprint and driving
efficiencies. This often involves utilising
new technology to reduce costs, and
we also study developing trends, such
as the increasing popularity of electric
vehicles, to ensure our clients are ready
and we are well positioned.
As we look ahead, this awareness of
developing trends will remain vital. We
predict that electric vehicles, and the
need for charging points, will become
increasingly important to the business
going forward. In terms of the business
itself, we have recently contracted
an external agency to review our
systems and advise us on how best
we can develop. Instead of resting
on our laurels, we are committed to
keeping pushing forward and thinking
about our long-term development.
We are proud of our success and are
committed to making sure it continues.
We are
committed to
keeping
pushing
forward and
thinking about
our long-term
development
Utility Alliance owners
(left to right): CEO Darren
Sutherland, COO Phill
Moore and Managing
Director Bob Moore

www.utility-alliance.com

This article was sponsored by Utility Alliance. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development