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First Utility Story

Founded in 2008, First Utility is one of the largest challengers in the energy and broadband market in the UK, operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell in its New Energies division. It offers straightforward, multi-utility products and services to help keep household costs down and make life simple. A new customer chooses to join First Utility (on average) every 3 minutes and it supplies gas and electricity to 4% of the UK’s domestic energy retail market.

Challenges

As a leading challenger to the ‘Big Six’ energy giants, First Utility grew rapidly from the beginning, attracting large numbers of customers who wanted to save money and receive better customer service.. This rapid growth meant the company needed to continuously evolve its infrastructure to scale and adapt quickly to new business needs. To achieve this, it wanted a micro-services architecture using open standards, including OpenID Connect and OAuth 2. Central to this design was a secure identification and on-boarding of customers, the easy creation of digital identity profiles which could be mapped on customers’ choices of services, and building a flexible and product-agnostic digital identity mechanism.

 

Solution

By using the Curity Identity Server, First Utility was able to:

  • Centralize and control the identity and access management flows across the services and on the platform they provided;
  • Build a standards-based, product agnostic digital identity mechanism;
  • Establish Single Sign-on (SSO) for web services and mobile apps;
  • Create customized digital identity profiles for customers;
  • Simplify the provisioning and user management routines;
  • Enable future use of additional login methods; and more.
 

Results

After a successful evaluation of the Curity Identity Server product, First Utility started the redesign of its platform, with identity and access management a central concern. Curity helped First Utility implement a versatile and modern login mechanism which supports multi-factor authentication (MFA), linking of various types of user accounts, Single Sign On (SSO) as well as user self-service actions. The new implementation powered by the Curity Identity Server also enabled First Utility to integrate any mobile, web or single-page applications as well as microservices with modern industry standards like OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect. Consequently, it was able to issue customizable tokens tailored to the needs of its system, and enforce access in its APIs.

If you want to find out more about First Utilities journey, here is a video recording of a talk by Anu Shahi, where he gives an overview of how the organisation is evolving its legacy identity platform to support a connected energy future.

"With Curity we were able to evolve our identity infrastructure, to integrate any mobile, web or single-page applications as well as microservices with modern industry standards like OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect."
Anu Shahi

Anu Shahi - Head of Engineering - Digital Platform at First Utility