Octopus buying Shell Energy: What does this mean if you’re a Shell Energy customer?

One in four UK homes could be powered by Octopus Energy after it announced a deal to buy Shell Energy. This would make it the second largest energy supplier in the UK, after Centrica. 

So what does this mean for you if you’re a Shell customer for energy or broadband? 

Shell Energy UK has around two million energy and broadband customers, most of whom will be switched to Octopus, if the agreed deal gets the green light.   

It needs regulatory approval from both the energy regulator Ofgem, as well as the Competition and Markets Authority. And if the deal is rubber stamped, it could go ahead between October and December of this year.  

Snapping up an additional two million customers from Shell Energy would boost Octopus’s customer numbers to around 6.5 million households. This figure already includes the 1.5 million it took on from Bulb last year, after the supplier went bust.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to switch suppliers, compare our best energy deals with our friends at Go.Compare.

What does this mean if you’re a Shell Energy customer?

If you’re a Shell Energy customer, then right now nothing has changed. Your contract stays the same and it’s business as usual.

This means you should still keep submitting meter readings and paying your bills as usual. Shell Energy says appointments to fit smart meters will still be carried out. And prepayment customers can still top up using the Shell Energy app and online for smart prepayment meters.

Once the deal gets the relevant regulatory approval, you’ll be contacted in advance by Octopus. This will happen before your account is transferred over, along with any direct debits you make to pay for your energy or broadband.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about your energy bills or usage, you should still contact Shell Energy in the usual way.

And if the deal goes ahead, don’t worry about losing supply. It’s only the billing company that will change. All the pipework and way you get our energy will stay the same.   

What does this mean if you’re a Shell Energy Broadband customer?

Once again, you don’t need to do anything right now and should keep paying your bills and contacting Shell in the usual way if you have any questions on your account. 

Octopus doesn’t currently offer a broadband service. So, once the deal is approved, we expect to hear further details regarding its broadband service.

In the event you do lose broadband service temporarily during any switch, then under Ofcom rules, this shouldn’t last longer than one working day. And you should also get compensation if the switch goes wrong.

What happens if I’m in credit when I’m switched to Octopus?

You won’t lose any of the credit on your Shell Energy account. Any money in there will be transferred across to your Octopus account, along with your payment method, like direct debits.     

If your energy account is below zero at the point of transfer and you owe money, it’s not a case of wiping the slate clean, as this too will be transferred to Octopus.

Right now, if you’re struggling to pay your energy and broadband bills, you still have access to Shell’s customer Helpfund until the sale is complete, so do get in touch if you need help.

Can I be forced to move to Octopus?

While you can switch suppliers at any time, if you are on a fixed contract, leaving mid-term right now may incur penalties.

If, however, you’re out of your energy contract and like most households, paying your supplier’s standard tariff, (which is subject to the energy price cap), you can shop around and switch providers without incurring penalties.  

Once the Octopus deal gets approved, as a Shell Energy or broadband customer, you’ll be told you’re being transferred, and you can still switch. Under Ofcom rules, if the terms of your contract are changed and you don’t feel this benefits you, you can switch, penalty free. 

It’s worth remembering that once the deal is approved, then the ‘migration’ or transferring of accounts from one provider isn’t instant and can take several weeks or even months.

Greg Jackson, CEO and founder of Octopus Energy said: “Following a stringent process, we are pleased to be acquiring Shell Energy Retail in the UK and Germany.

“Our commitment to customers is paramount and we will do whatever it takes to deliver the Octopus promise when we welcome these new customers too.”