In its time, First Utility was one of the largest energy providers outside of the Big Six. Offering very competitive pricing, its energy was sourced mainly from coal and natural gas, so we can't say we were disappointed when 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, as a result gaining the provider's extensive base of over 700,000 customers, and 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! Give one of our energy experts a call on 020 3608 4293 for advice on switching.

First Utility Reviews

First Utility reviews currently show up pitiful average ratings on websites like Trustpilot, with customer comments of the time suggesting a lot of frustration with how their accounts were closed. It has an average rating of 1.6 out of 5 stars, which doesn't make us regret the fact that it has closed, though several of the reviews are for the provider's broadband service rather than for energy.

Customers regularly point to issues with their final bill, either through overcharging or the difficulty of 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.

Oh dear. On the whole, customers used to be happy with prices and billing but disappointed with customer service. First Utility seemed to fin its pricing niche compared to the Big Six but not in terms of customer care. Let’s take a look at an 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 3.8 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 Tariffs

With the company going through major ownership and branding changes, it’s worth comparing how First Utility tariffs have changed. Let’s take a closer look at energy tariffs for First Utility both before and after Shell Energy control.

Current First Utility tariffs under Shell Energy brand

This is how Shell has adapted the First Utility tariffs for the current market. These are dual-fuel tariffs.

Fuel Tariff Conditions Annual estimate
Dual Fixed for 14 months tariff - Fixed prices for 14 months
- 100% renewable electricity
- Access to Shell Go+ rewards
- Discount on home broadband
- £30 per fuel early exit fee
£986 per year
Dual Fixed for 24 months tariff - Fixed prices for 24 months
- 100% renewable electricity
- Shell Go+ and broadband discount
- Includes Google Nest Audio
- £30 per fuel early exit fee
£1086 per year
Dual Fixed for 36 months tariff - Fixed prices for 36 months.
- 100% renewable electricity
- Shell Go+ and broadband discount
- Carbon neutral home energy
- £50 per fuel early exit fee
£1119 per year

Old First Utility tariffs

Energy prices were competitive on First Utility tariffs even before Shell Energy snapped them up. Its old iSave Fixed 2015 tariff was cheaper than most UK energy providers of the day. First Utility was able to make this tariff available because they tracked wholesale energy prices on a weekly basis and ensuring they were below national averages.

These First Utility tariffs are no longer available since they date back to August 2017. For current gas and electricity tariffs with Shell Energy branding, see above.

Fuel Tariff Conditions Estimated annual cost
Dual First Fixed August 2018 v8 Online - Fixed prices until 31 August 2018
- Payment by direct debit
- £50/fuel early exit fee
- Online account management
£936 per year
Dual First Vine February 2019 - Fixed prices until February 2019
- 3 complimentary wine boxes sent to your home
- £30/fuel early exit fee
- Online account management
£1,011 per year
Dual First Variable - Variable pricing subject to seasonal changes.
- No fixed contract
- No early exit fees
- Full online and phone service
£1,149 per year

It’s worth noting that these 2017 First Utility tariffs were given accolades by a number of online publications at the time:

  1. Utilities Customer Service of the Year 2017 - Best in class customer service
  2. Netmums Recommended by 80% of members award
  3. Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended UK 2017 award

First Utility customers who opted for the "Fixed for 3 years tariff" will still find themselves under that tariff even though it is now defunct if the time of the original contract has not yet expired. Once the tariff expires, they will then be able to move to a Shell Energy tariff if they wish.

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 iss 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.

Shell Energy energy mix
Wind energy Solar energy Biomass Hydroelectric
49.2% 27.1% 20.8% 2.9%

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%). Below you can see their historical fuel mix figures for April 2018 to March 2019.

Historical First Utility Energy Mix 2018-2019
Energy Source Fuel Mix Carbon Dioxide Emissions (g/kWh)
Coal 8.74% 920
Natural Gas 59.22% 349
Nuclear 17.78% 0
Renewables 10.53% 0
Other 3.73% 0

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 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 customer energy billing.

Based on recent reviews from Trustpilot, First Utility smart meter compatibility issues have carried over under Shell Energy leadership. For this reason, it is crucial that affected First Utility customers know how to read their smart meter manually if worst comes to worst.

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

  1. Press the ‘9’ key just one time on the keypad to get your electricity supply details.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. Press the ‘9’ key just one time on the keypad to get your gas supply details.
  2. 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. If, however, you want to chat to a real human being over the phone with no wait times, your best bet is to call one of our energy experts on 020 3608 4293.

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.