Oil giant Shell has raised questions about the future of its energy supply business which employs thousands of people in the UK as companies continue to struggle in a tough market.
Shell said it will launch a “strategic review” of Shell Energy, including its operations in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.
Launched in 2008 as First Utility and bought a decade later by the oil major, Shell Energy employs around 2,000 people in the UK.
It supplies energy to around 1.4 million homes across the country and broadband to around half a million customers.
It was not clear what options are being looked at by Shell for the unit. Companies who put their business units up for review often sell or restructure them, but sometimes keep them unchanged.
“No decisions have yet been taken on the way forward and our priority remains to ensure our customers in those countries continue to receive a reliable and affordable energy supply, and to provide support for customers who are struggling with the cost of energy and wider cost-of-living pressures,” Shell said on Thursday.
It added: “We intend to provide an update on the outcome of the review, which is likely to take a number of months, in due course.”
It said that its home energy supply businesses in the US and Australia are not impacted by this review, as well as its business-to-business energy supply unit.
Earlier on Thursday Shell Energy had been told by regulator Ofcom to “get a grip” on its complaints after the business received many more of them than any other broadband provider.
Our latest telecoms complaints data is out.
Shell Energy continued to attract the most broadband & landline complaints. We’re monitoring Shell’s performance closely & have urged it to get a grip on fixing the causes of these issues.
Read More: https://t.co/Q6DJ7uX9nr
— Ofcom (@Ofcom) January 26, 2023
It has been a tough few years for gas and electricity suppliers, with dozens collapsing or being sold.
Energy prices have soared over the past two years, partly due to Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The money that companies had to pay to buy energy from the wholesale market increased rapidly. But due to the price cap, the amount they could charge households for that same energy only increased periodically.