Controversial: Fossil fuel giant Shell buys Powershop

Fossil fuel giant Shell has purchased one of Australia’s greenest power retailers, following a landmark sale by its New Zealand-based parent company, Meridian Energy.

The $729 million deal will see Shell take over Powershop – the retail arm of Meridian Energy that services more than 185,000 customers. As part of the deal, Infrastructure Capital Group (ICG) will adopt Meridian’s renewable generational assets, including multiple wind farms and hydro power stations across Australia.

Powershop’s takeover is set to be part of the global oil giant’s strategy to expand its breadth of services across the energy industry, Shell’s Executive Vice President of Renewables and Energy Solutions Elisabeth Brinton said.

“Our aim is to become a leading provider of clean power-as-a-service and this acquisition broadens our customer portfolio in Australia to include households,” she said.

“Shell’s presence across the entirety of our changing energy system means we are well-placed to manage complexity for customers so that we deliver simple, cleaner energy solutions.”

Despite concerns from advocacy groups and stakeholders around the renewable credibility of Shell, Meridian Chief Executive Neal Barclay has backed the sale, claiming it’s an exciting opportunity.

“With emissions the problem, and renewable energy the solution, the buyers are readying to invest heavily in a cleaner future. The Meridian Australia team will be at the heart of a transformation that is not only good for Australia, but also the planet,” Mr Barclay said.

Powershop currently sells electricity to customers in Victoria, New South Wales, south-east Queensland and South Australia, while it also retails natural gas in VIC and NSW.

Shell Energy, under the wider Shell umbrella, already supplies power to business customers, thanks to its acquisition of commercial retailer ERM Power Limited in late 2019.

It’s anticipated that Shell will have full ownership of Powershop within the first half of 2022.

Compare Green Energy Plans

Below you’ll find some green energy plans available in NSW, QLD, SA and Victoria. These plans come with a percentage of GreenPower included, meaning that the retailer will match energy usage with purchases of renewables from government-accredited renewable generators. GreenPower usually comes at an additional cost; however, these plans incorporate the cost of the respective portion of GreenPower that’s added.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have GreenPower included in the cost and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have GreenPower included in the cost and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have GreenPower included in the cost and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that have GreenPower included in the cost and include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

What does this mean for Powershop and its customers?

Given ownership of Powershop will soon be in the hands of a multinational gas and oil company, some pressure groups aren’t convinced the retailer will be able to live up to its green energy credentials.

Independent activist group, GetUp, which previously advocated for Aussies to make the switch to Powershop, was one of the first to note its disappointment in the sale. GetUp stated it ‘impacts the everyday people who switched to Powershop to distance themselves from big polluters’.

Powershop has long been known as one of Australia’s greenest providers, backed by its parent company, Meridian – one of the region’s largest renewable energy generators.

This latest news, however, may leave a sour taste in the mouths of consumers, particularly Aussies who are mindful of their carbon footprint, Canstar Blue’s Energy Editor Jared Mullane explained.

“It’s an interesting situation for customers who turned to Powershop because of its renewable energy accreditations,” he said.

“Shell’s takeover of Powershop won’t sit well with some, and it could mean a portion of its large customer base jump ship to other green-collar providers like Energy Locals or OVO Energy. Furthermore, it may encourage Australians to compare electricity providers on more than just price and products, but also each company’s commitment to sustainability.”

Although there’s now a cloud over Powershop’s clean energy claims, Shell Australia chairman Tony Nunan stated that Australian consumers will be the winners from this monumental sale.

“This acquisition is another example of how we are continuing to grow our footprint in Australia to meet customers’ evolving needs through the energy transition,” he said.

“Powershop today offers innovative energy packages, and customers will benefit in the future from access to Shell’s broader suite of energy solutions linked to e-mobility and battery storage.”

Powershop currently offers customers the ‘100% Carbon Neutral’ plan, a deal that offsets 100 per cent of carbon emissions from customers’ energy usage.

Powershop Electricity Plans

Here are the Powershop plans on our database for Victoria. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are the Powershop plans on our database for NSW. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are the Powershop plans on our database for SE QLD. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are the Powershop plans on our database for South Australia. These are products from a referral partner†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Image credit: Idealphotographer/Shutterstock.com

Share this article