Shell Purchases U.K.’s First Utility

Agreement complements Shell’s network of forecourt charging points and its acquisition of NewMotion, one of Europe’s largest vehicle charging providers.

January 02, 2018

LONDON – In late December, Shell Petroleum Company Limited signed an agreement to buy 100% of First Utility, a leading independent U.K.-based household energy and broadband provider.

Shell’s energy supply, trading and marketing expertise, combined with First Utility’s experience in serving around 825,000 homes in the United Kingdom, will enable Shell to expand its energy supply business from commercial and industrial customers into the residential sector.

“The supply and demand of residential energy is rapidly changing, driven by new technologies that enable householders to better manage their energy use, and the need for a low-carbon energy system,” Mark Gainsborough, Shell’s executive vice president of new energies, said. “This combination will enable Shell to enter a new part of the energy market in the UK and to improve choice for customers by delivering innovative services at competitive prices.”

Shell Energy Europe Limited (SEEL), the Shell group’s European gas and power marketing and trading business, will continue to supply wholesale gas and electricity to energy retailers in the U.K. and Europe, including First Utility. In 2015, a licensing agreement between Shell Brands International and First Utility enabled them to operate in the German household energy sector under the Shell brand.

“We believe that the time is right to build upon our strong relationship with First Utility by investing to grow its business,” Gainsborough said.

Shell sees a new electricity value chain emerging in the U.K., in which customers play an increasingly important role in managing their use and selling some power back to the grid.

The agreement also complements Shell’s growing network of forecourt charging points and its recent acquisition of NewMotion, one of Europe’s largest vehicle charging providers.