Outrage as energy firm sends 100 people on luxury £600-a-night Maldives getaway as millions struggle with energy bills

14 February 2023, 13:37 | Updated: 14 February 2023, 14:54

The luxury resort played host to 100 Energy Warehouse 'partners' following promising sales figures
The luxury resort played host to 100 Energy Warehouse 'partners' following promising sales figures. Picture: OBLU Xperience / Utility Warehouse

By Danielle DeWolfe

An energy firm has caused outrage after it was revealed it sent 100 people on a luxury £600-per-night Maldives getaway, as millions of people in the UK continue to struggle to cover soaring bills.

'Partners' at Utility Warehouse were treated to the eight-day all-expenses-paid trip for signing up new clients, with one holidaymaker smugly declaring: 'Never get tired of waking up to this'.

Staying at £594-a-night OBLU Xperience, the idyllic scene stands in contrast to the cost of living crisis experienced by many back home.

It comes just two years after Ofgem fined Utility Warehouse £1.5million after the firm ­failed to “treat some of its customers fairly and to offer services and support to those in payment difficulty”.

Utility Warehouse accepted Ofgem's findings, admitting it failed customers between 2013-18 and accepted its actions “resulted in some customers being disadvantaged and facing increased financial hardship”.

Visiting the Indian Ocean resort last week, Utility Warehouse 'agents' are all self-employed and work on commission and customers get bigger discounts the more they sign to.
Visiting the Indian Ocean resort last week, Utility Warehouse 'agents' are all self-employed and work on commission and customers get bigger discounts the more they sign to. Picture: OBLU Xperience

Visiting the Indian Ocean resort last week, Utility Warehouse 'agents' are all self-employed, earning commission from every household signup across broadband, mobile and insurance.

Known as 'partners', the individuals are given the opportunity to earn trips to locations including the Maldives and Mexico.

While signing up 75 customers can get a cheap lease on a Mini Cooper, signing up 200 new customers gives agents access to a Porsche Boxster for a month.

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Built on a word-of-mouth marketing, the company has since come under fire from fellow holidaymakers and MPs alike.

Speaking to The Sun, one critic said: “It doesn’t sit right during a cost-of-living crisis.”

The holidaymaker added: "They just chill on the beach or by the pool most of the day. They have also hired out part of the restaurant."

The OBLU Experience resort in the Maldives
The OBLU Experience resort in the Maldives. Picture: OBLU Xperience

Described as a "kick in the teeth" by another, one honeymooner who was staying at the resort added: "They basically ruined our holiday. They were handing over business cards and giving us sales pitches.”

Simon Francis, from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said on the matter: “While these lucky people may be celebrating overseas, there is little joy back home among energy customers struggling to make ends meet.

“We’d urge energy firms to show restraint with bonuses and incentives while their profits are being made on the backs of young families, older people and those with disabilities ­living in cold, damp homes.”

According to the company, they now have 814,684 customers and are set on “targeting an additional million over the next four to five years”.

The company's half-year financial results ending September 2022 also suggest Utility Warehouse experienced soaring revenues of 51.5 per cent, equating to £562.4 million.

A spokesman for the company defended the jolly, saying: “More than 50,000 people across the UK from all backgrounds are UW Partners.

“Our partners are self-employed and earn an income by referring our services to their friends and family.“In doing so, we offer a meaningful way to help people earn their way out of the cost-of-living crisis."

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