First Utility is now Shell: get login & contact help
In its time, First Utility was one of the largest independent energy suppliers. Offering competitive pricing, it was bought out by a competitor in 2018. But what did this mean for its customers? Find out more by reading on.
About First Utility
First Utility was founded in 2008 by Mark Daeche, Darren Braham and Marcus Citron. In 2012, Ian McCaig (lastminute.com) came on as CEO. First Utility rapidly became one of the largest independent energy suppliers in the UK, gaining around 250,000 customers in one year, giving it a 10% share of the independent energy supplier market.
What happened to First Utility?
Since 2018, First Utility has been fully owned by Shell. Shell bought First Utility in order to enter the UK retail energy market, and gained the provider's extensive base of over 700,000 customers as a result. It was fully integrated and operating as Shell Energy by April 2019.
For First Utility customers, this won't have made much difference, and many may not even have noticed the change. The purchase did not result in any interruption in their supply, and their rates did not change for the initially agreed duration of their contract with First Utility.
Were you a First Utility customer?You're a bit late to be taking action, but if you were switched to Shell Energy when it was taken over you're likely on its standard variable tariff and paying too much for your energy. Fortunately, you're able to switch for free!
First Utility Reviews
First Utility reviews showed up poor average ratings on websites like Trustpilot, with customer comments of the time suggesting a lot of frustration with how their accounts were closed. It had an average rating of 1.6 out of 5 stars, which doesn't make us regret the fact that it has closed, especially since Shell seems to be performing significantly better.
Customers regularly pointed to issues with their final bill, either through overcharging or difficulty in getting credit back from their account, as the source of their ire:
Please be aware, this company will rip you off where ever the opportunity arises. They take no prisoners just your money.
On the whole, customers used to be happy with prices and billing but disappointed with customer service. First Utility seemed to find its pricing niche compared to bigger suppliers but not in terms of customer care. Let’s take a look at older First Utility reviews that sum up consumer feelings of the time:
When I call I'm always no. 30 or so in the queue and have never had to wait less that 45 min before speaking to an agent.
Since Shell Energy took over First Utility operations, customer opinions have improved drastically. Ratings for Shell Energy stand at 3.9 out of 5 - significantly better - and reviews point to positive experiences with Shell's customer service team, though they're not without their complaints either.
Many customers continue to criticise lengthy wait times to reach customer service agents on the phone or with difficulty getting issues solved generally. Meanwhile, several negative reviews focus on frustrating teething issues with smart meters losing functionality after switching, which may not be entirely Shell Energy’s fault. You can read more about this below in our First Utility Smart Meter section
First Utility Fuel Mix
In March 2019, under Shell Energy ownership and branding, First Utility transitioned to supplying fully renewable electricity for their entire British customer base. This is achieved by purchasing REGOs (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) to certify that all the electricity bought on behalf of customers was matched to renewable energy output.
Additionally, under Shell Energy control, former First Utility gas consumers are also benefitting from having the carbon footprint coming from their gas consumption offset through carbon offset initiatives.
Before the Shell Energy takeover, First Utility’s fuel mix relied mainly on natural gas (59.22%). Renewable energy devotees were disappointed back then, since First Utility offered very little renewable energy (10.53%).
First Utility Login
The First Utility login page now redirects to Shell Energy. However, both login pages are fairly similar, with a similar process involved in getting into each:
- Both First Utility and Shell Energy ask for email and password to access your energy portal. First Utility also offered the option to sign in with Facebook but Shell Energy has removed that option and insists that all customers will need their email and password credentials to gain access.
- Both First Utility and Shell Energy offer the ability to reset your password by providing the sign-in email if you forgot your password in the first place.
Another bonus to having been switched to Shell Energy is that instead of only being able to manage your account via the First Utility login page, you can now also download the Shell Energy app. Both methods allow you the following functions:
- Submit your meter readings
- View monthly bills and payments to stay on top of your spending
- Find answers in the Help Centre
- Top up the credit on your account using a credit or debit card
- Keep an eye on your tariff and get the best deals
This is a handy set of features to be able to perform your computer or on-the-go using your mobile. The app also seems to function really well, with reviewers in the App Store and in Google Play leaving more or less unanimously positive ratings.
First Utility smart meter
First Utility chose Siemens Secure branded smart meter models, which are also compatible with Ovo Energy and Utilita, so if you're looking to switch it will easier if it's to one of these. If customers switch to another energy provider, smart functionality is not guaranteed to carry over. This can have a serious impact on billing.
How to read a First Utility smart meter?
To read a First Utility smart meter, you must first locate on your property and then know how to operate the main meter unit itself in order to be able to read the consumption details.
Siemens Secure is the main First Utility smart meter provided to customers. All the expected smart features are shown through the provided In-Home Display (IHD). However, switching to another energy provider often means losing the convenience of automatic meter readings and the First Utility In-Home Display becomes much less useful. However, not all is lost if your First Utility Siemens Secure smart meter loses its smarts and you need to submit meter readings.
Reading your Siemens Secure smart meters
First of all, you will need to find your First Utility smart meters and ensure that they match the designs pictured below. By following these steps, you will be able to submit a manual meter reading to whoever you need to.
1. Electricity smart meter manual instructions
- Press the ‘9’ key just one time on the keypad to get your electricity supply details.
- One keypress displays your total consumption. First you will see the following message “IMP kWh” quickly followed by the actual figure in kWh that you will need to submit.
- If you keep pressing the number 9 key, you will see “Export Energy” which does not apply to most meter reading needs.
2. Gas smart meter manual instructions
- Press the ‘9’ key just one time on the keypad to get your gas supply details.
- One keypress displays your total consumption. First, you will see the following message “Volume” which is quickly followed by the actual figure in m3 which is what you will need to submit.
Warm home discount
Former First Utility customers are able to receive the Warm Home Discount with Shell either as part of the Core Group or by applying to under the Broader Group. If you qualify under the Core Group, you will be notified by the government and receive the £140 discount automatically.
If you haven't been notified but think you may qualify as a part of the Broader Group, you can apply via the Shell Energy website. You will need to apply every year and are not guaranteed acceptance, even if you received the discount the previous year. The discount is given out on a first-come, first-served basis and criteria can change every year.
First Utility Contact Number
The First Utility contact number was 01926 320 700 but this number is no longer working. First Utility also offerd an online chat, which has since also been deactivated. To find the best point of contact for any remaining First Utility queries, see the table below:
|Department||First Utility contact number||Opening hours|
|Shell Energy customer services||0330 094 5800||Monday to Friday, 8am-6.30pm; Saturday, 9am-4pm|
If you're not keen on calling up energy providers for fear of waiting to speak with someone over the phone, you can use Shell Energy's online contact form to get help.
Looking for a number to use in case of an emergency?First Utility customers, or customers of any supplier, should report gas emergencies by calling 0800 111 999, which is a 24-hour emergency line for customers of any provider. To report a power cut, call 105.