Shell Energy supplied more than 700,000 homes when it bought First Utility to become a home energy company in 2018 but that number rose to close to one million when it bought Hudson Energy Supply, the parent company of supplier Green Star Energy, in October 2019.
Originally, the supplier kept the name First Utility but it rebranded as Shell Energy in April 2019 – a year after it was bought out by Shell.
Shell Energy says all customers get 100% renewable electricity, as well as fuel discounts. Customers who sign up to the Shell Go+ rewards programme get a 3% discount on fuel at Shell service stations; this is valid on up to 60 litres of fuel per household per month. It also gives customers 'personalised offers' and 'other surprises and rewards'.
In July 2020, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned a Shell Energy radio ad for Shell Go+ for being misleading. The ASA ruled that the ad didn't make it clear that it was for a rewards programme that would offset the carbon emissions of the fuel members bought rather for a fuel that was carbon neutral in itself.
Shell Energy took on the customers of Usio Energy in October 2018 after the smaller supplier stopped trading.
The supplier also sells broadband and smart home technology.
Shell Energy customer score
Shell Energy came 17th out of 25 energy companies rated by 7,460 members of the public in the annual Which? energy supplier satisfaction survey – the biggest of its kind.
Shell Energy score breakdown
Below we reveal the breakdown of Shell Energy's score from our latest survey. Keep reading to find out what its customer service is like, plus what customers think of the value for money of its tariffs.
Which? verdict on Shell Energy
Shell Energy is among the biggest 10 energy firms but not among the best, according to customers in our survey. It can be found in the bottom half of our table. However, it ranks higher than all the traditional big firms.
Customers found Shell Energy’s bills accurate, and its ‘good’ rating on this aspect equalled that of four of the firms ranked in the top 10 overall.
Some 73% of customers said the accuracy of its bills was either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, compared with an average of 78% across firms (but 90% for the highest-scoring supplier overall in this category).
It has an app where customers can input their own meter readings, so there shouldn't be any need for estimated bills.
On every other aspect we asked about – bill clarity, customer service and its handling of complaints – its ratings were average.
It resolved 46% of complaints on the same or next working day in the first half of last year. While it’s far from the worst, the best firms manage to solve 90% or more in the same timeframe.
Some 22% of customers said that it offers 'excellent' value for money, but other firms' customer feedback was far better. The highest percentage for this category was for Avro Energy and Octopus Energy, which were rated 'excellent' for value for money by 38% of their customers in our survey.
Shell Energy offers a range of tariffs, including different-length fixed deals, and one including a smart speaker that lets you control your smart home devices with your voice.
In June 2020 it launched a 100% carbon neutral tariff including carbon neutral gas as well as the standard 100% renewable electricity.
In our September 2020 energy companies' call waiting snapshot investigation, Shell Energy answered the phone in 4 minutes 6 seconds, which was quicker than the median average wait time for all 31 companies we called (5 minutes 57 seconds).
It also offers live chat, but here it didn't do so well in our investigation. Of the 18 companies we contacted this way, it was the slowest, responding in 33 minutes 39 seconds. The average was 3 minutes 6 seconds. For comparison, Outfox the Market averaged 10 seconds for a response.
Pros: Customers generally think its bills are accurate
Cons: Customer service is only average; slowest to respond to live chat in our snapshot investigation
Shell Energy electricity sources
Shell Energy in the news
Shell Energy in 2020
December: Shell Energy reported a loss of almost £32m for 2019, in part blaming falling customer numbers as a result of lower prices being offered by other suppliers.
Sky News reported that Shell Energy is the preferred bidder to take over Post Office broadband, which the Post Office has decided to sell to focus on its core businesses.
July: The Advertising Standards Authority banned Shell Energy's radio ad for its Shell Go+ loyalty scheme saying it implied that it was a carbon neutral fuel rather than a loyalty scheme that offset the carbon emissions of the fuel its members bought.
Shell Energy in 2019
October: Shell Energy bought Hudson Energy Supply, including its domestic retail arm Green Star Energy, in October 2019. It's reported to have paid up to £8.5m.
Shell Energy gained 200,000 household customers.
June: Shell Energy said it will pay customers a total of £190,000 in compensation after Ofgem found that First Utility had overcharged some customers between January and March 2019.
Some 12,000 customer accounts received £10 per fuel to refund the amount they were incorrectly charged above the default or standard tariff cap, plus compensation.
Another 5,600 accounts received £5 compensation per fuel because their requests to switch to a cheaper payment method were delayed so that they paid more than the level of the price cap for longer.
Shell Energy also paid £200,000 into Ofgem's redress fund.
March: First Utility rebranded as Shell Energy. Shell said all 700,000 customers would automatically have 100% renewable electricity as part of their tariffs, as well as a discount at Shell service stations.
First Utility also announced it would increase prices for customers to the maximum allowed under the new price cap from 1 April 2019. If you were on its standard tariff, and used a medium amount of gas and electricity, this means you could have paid around £1,254 per year.