Newcastle University student utilities firm goes national after first month in business

Student firm One Utility Bill aims to give students access to cheaper utilities and broadband and avoid arguments about bills

Left to right is: John Crow, Chris Dawson, David Fraser, Asen Dobrev and Christina Ong
Left to right is: John Crow, Chris Dawson, David Fraser, Asen Dobrev and Christina Ong

A Newcastle University-backed company set up to give the North East students affordable access to broadband and low energy bills is eyeing UK expansion following a successful first month in business.

Chris Dawson launched One Utility Bill at the start of the year, inspired to find a solution to the many years of arguments with housemates over unpaid bills as a student.

The firm manages and sources the best student deals for utility bills, including fibre optic broadband, working alongside the region’s landlords.

The company estimates a student’s usage for the next year, gives them a budget and splits the cost across the whole year, making it even easier for them to manage by splitting it equally between housemates.

One Utility Bill has partnered with providers of water, gas and electricity and has secured deals with several of the largest utilities providers in the country.

After its first month in operation Mr Dawson and his four-strong team, based in Gateshead, have been overwhelmed by interest in the firm’s services, putting them on target to smash its initial six figure first-year turnover goal.

Seeing potential to roll out the service beyond the North East, Mr Dawson is planning to take on more members of staff to cover other UK areas, while the ultimate goal is to open new offices nationwide if turnover targets are met.

Although its headquarters are based on Tyneside – where Mr Dawson graduated with a town planning degree at Newcastle University – the company believes it can be the UK’s number one provider of shared and affordable student utility bills.

It is not known how many new employees will be taken on, but increased demand will see expansion soon.

“After living in student accommodation and rented student houses at university there was always arguments and stress about utility bills,” Mr Dawson said.

“There’s lots of confusion about where and how to get the best deals, and missed payments are commonplace in student households. We wanted to change utilities for students forever, for the better.

“From the very beginning, our aim was to ensure that students got the best deal, a simple deal and a fair deal. So that’s what we did, and we’re delighted the UK’s students have already found value in the service we provide.

“When students have organised their houses for the next academic year, we make sure we have everything organised for them from the day they move in until the day they move out.”

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