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Shell Plays Hot Potato with Household Energy Biz, Tosses It to Octopus in the Great British Energy Shuffle

Posted by John Donovan: 1 December 2023

In a move that screams “not it!”, Shell, the oil giant, has handed off its UK household energy and gas electricity business to Octopus, because why handle something tricky when you can just pass it along? Octopus, seemingly thrilled to catch what Shell tossed aside, is now Britain’s second-biggest energy supplier, hot on the heels of Centrica-owned British Gas.

Greg Jackson, the head honcho at Octopus, which began as a plucky underdog in 2015, is probably doing a victory dance right now. His company is about to inherit 1.3 million Shell Energy customers, boosting its total customer count to a whopping 6.6 million. That’s a lot of bills!

Before this energy merry-go-round, British Gas was sitting pretty with a 20.4% share in the electricity market and 28.2% in gas. Octopus was trailing with 16.6% in electricity and 16.3% in gas. Shell, playing modest, had a mere 4.5% market share. Maybe they were too busy counting their oil barrels to notice.

This isn’t Octopus’s first rodeo in the energy supplier sweepstakes. They scooped up 1.5 million customers from Bulb last year after it went kaput. And as a bonus, they’re also inheriting Shell’s 500,000 broadband customers, plus a nifty 300,000 in Germany.

Jackson, grinning ear to ear, said: “We are pleased to be the new home for Shell Energy Retail customers in the UK and Germany.” He’s promising the moon and stars with “cheap, green tariffs” and five-star customer service. 

Shell first dipped its toes in the UK domestic energy market in 2018, buying First Utility. But after a brief five-year stint, they’re bowing out. Maybe it’s the market pressure, or perhaps they just missed their oil rigs too much.

The deal also spices up things between Octopus’s EV chargepoint service and Shell’s Recharge stations. Octopus EV customers can now frolic over to Shell forecourts and get their recharge on. It’s like a match made in corporate synergy heaven.

As for the Shell customers, they’re being told to “sit tight” while they’re shuttled over to Octopus’s tender care, complete with their direct debits and credit balances. And the broadband folks? They’re assured there won’t be any hiccups in their service. An Octopus spokesperson reassured everyone that it’s business as usual, and their services and prices won’t see any wild rides.

So, as Shell waltzes out of the UK household energy scene, we can only wonder: what’s next in their grand plan? Stay tuned for the next episode of “Shell’s Corporate Adventures!”

Disclaimer: In our quest to paint the full picture of Shell’s escapades, we’re always open to corrections from Shell or anyone else in the story. After all, getting the facts straight is as crucial as a clean oil spill.

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