Shell snaps up British energy firm First Utility

First Utility, which is the largest independent energy company in the U.K., has today been sold to Shell Petroleum Company for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition of First Utility by Shell means that the Dutch-British oil giant now has a firm footing in the British home energy market following First Utility’s recent growth to become a main challenger to the ‘Big Six’ energy providers that currently dominate the U.K. landscape.

First Utility will continue to operate as a standalone entity in Shell’s New Energies division – a move that company co-founder and CFO Darren Braham believes can help the firm continue its disruption of the old energy guard.

“This move will help us to capitalize on all the opportunities provided by digitalization, decarbonization and the move to battery technology and electric vehicles,” Braham said.

First Utility’s growth in recent years was underpinned by its embrace of connected home technology, which allows homeowners to easily switch their energy provider and gain a firmer grip on their consumption patterns via its smart home platform, which supports technologies such as Google’s Nest and British Gas’s Hive smart home monitor.

The company is also a leading broadband provider, and its synchronization of internet service and smart home energy management has caught Shell’s eye as the oil conglomerate continues to ramp up its clean energy footprint.

The deal follows less than a week after BP bought British solar power developer Lightsource for a reported $200 million.