Two million Shell energy and broadband customers could be affected as businesses are put up for sale - what it means for you
Millions of Shell broadband and energy customers could be moved to a new provider in the coming months as the supplier has announced plans to sell these parts of its business following a "strategic review" – though there's no immediate change to your services and you should keep paying your bills as normal.
Below we explain what you need to know. In the meantime, if you're out of contract on your broadband you can check if you can switch and save by using our Broadband Unbundled tool. For those in need of support with soaring gas and electricity bills, see our Energy crisis hub.
Shell broadband or energy customer? Continue to pay your bills as normal
For now, there's no material change for Shell's 1.4 million household energy customers and for its 500,000 home broadband users.
You should continue to pay your bills in full and on time as normal and your terms and conditions will remain the same for now.
Shell says it will be in touch with customers to provide more information if and when a sale is agreed. It aims to sell its energy and broadband arms to a single provider.
There should be no disruption to your service if you're transferred to a new firm
Shell says there will be no disruption to your energy supply or broadband service now, or if and when you're transferred to a new provider.
Under energy regulator Ofgem's rules, households will never be left without an energy supply during a change of supplier. Typically, your account will be moved including any debts you owe or credit you've built-up. However, this will depend on the terms of any sale agreed.
Under Ofcom rules for broadband, any loss of service that occurs during a switch between suppliers should not be longer than one working day and providers must compensate you if things go wrong.
If you're on a fixed deal, your price should remain the same under a new provider
Shell told us it expects prices to remain the same if and when users are transferred to a new provider, so long as you're on a fixed-term contract. A spokesperson for Shell said: "We would anticipate that any customers on a fixed term contract, either for broadband or energy, will see those terms honoured throughout any transfer of ownership."
However, if you're out of contract or on a variable deal, prices can and could change under a new owner.
- Of Shell's 1.4 million energy customers, the vast majority are on its standard variable tariff. This is currently controlled by the Energy Price Guarantee, (to be replaced by the Price Cap from 1 July), with only a small number on fixed price contracts.
There are no fixed energy deals available on the open market that you can switch to right now, though it's likely energy suppliers will start to bring back fixed deals to all in the coming months. Some suppliers do have fixes available to existing customers only, see our Should I fix my energy or stay on the Price Cap? guide for more info.
- It's unclear how many Shell broadband customers are in contract or not. If you're out of contract you can leave penalty-free at any point. If you're in-contract, you can't currently switch fee-free, though Ofcom rules state that if your broadband provider changes your contract terms and the change does not benefit you, you have the right to exit penalty-free. You must be given at least one month's notice of any changes.
Shell wouldn't answer whether all customers will be allowed to leave penalty-free if a buyer is found.
What does Shell Energy say?
Shell wouldn't go into detail on why exactly it's selling its home broadband and energy businesses, though late last year its chief executive Wael Sawan said that "the balance between global energy supply and demand remains extremely tight". He added that "volatility and uncertainty will continue to be the watchwords in 2023".
The move comes just five years after Shell's acquisition of rival energy provider First Utility.
A spokesperson for Shell said: "We are committed to supporting both customers and staff and protecting customer interests during this period, and to ensuring a seamless transfer to a buyer capable of delivering on its obligations."