GB Energy Shell Co Battlecard

Neil Williams

04 Oct 2019

The Shell Co Battlecard details offers from a number of service providers and is summarised in this blog post.

At a Glance

Managed service providers apply to Ofgem for a licence on behalf of a shell company they own. They take the entity through the initial market entry testing requirements under the industry codes, and then sell this company on to expedite entry for a new supplier.

Typically the first key decision for a new entrant into the GB energy market is to decide whether or not to purchase a shell company from one of the established service providers: Dyball, ENSEK, Gilmond, Seaglass, Utiligroup and Utiliteam.

Marketplace Conditions

New tests for energy suppliers entering the market were rolled out by Ofgem from June 2019. Applicants now have to demonstrate sufficient funding, provide a customer service plan and pass a fit and proper test.

Alongside tightening up the entry requirements, Ofgem are also reviewing all supply licences that have been issued for over 12 months where the licensee has not yet commenced supply. At the time of writing, this review would touch more than 20 licensees, most of them shell companies.

The full battlecard includes further information on:

  • The size of the market
  • Product penetration rates
  • Estimated market demand
  • Other relevant data are given here

Target Customer Segments

Approaches to entering the market typically fall between the two extremes of walking into shallow end and diving into the deep end.

Walking into the shallow end is a lean start up approach with slow & steady organic growth. In this scenario, there is no urgency to get out of controlled market entry. There is often a soft launch of a minimal viable product. Marketing and sales is limited to only a handful of alpha customers.

Diving in at the deep end is a common option for all new entrants and puts a sense of urgency around getting through controlled market entry. This typically means making the sales funnel wide at the top and responding to all sales opportunities that show up in the market.

The battlecard contains further customer profile information. This goes beyond demographics and includes information about:

  • Differentiators
  • Leadership style
  • Current mode of execution
  • Organisational maturity
  • Strategic focus

Product Features

The shell company value proposition offers quick market entry with low risk in an economically attractive package.

At its heart, the job is the conveyancing that ensures all necessary licences and code accessions are in place with the key industry bodies e.g. OfGEM, Elexon, Gemserv, National Grid, DCUSA, SPAA and ElectraLink. The approach from vendors combines project plans, financial models, market insight and experienced people to deliver compliant and accelerated market entry.

As well as helping them navigate the stringent market entry processes, vendors ensure their clients are ready to turn strategy into action and have the right foundation to realise commercial aspirations.

In summary, a buyer should consider the following when assessing a service provider:

  • Track record: As well as quality and quantity of marquee clients, look for cases that resonate.
  • Structure: Does the approach provide the right level of perspective and control?
  • Agility: Do they have the flexibility needed in the early stages moving from invention to deployment?
  • Scale: Can growth ambitions be supported? These might range from 2x over 18 months through organic growth or 10x in 6 months with aggressive marketing.
  • Expertise: Look for T-shaped people with a wide range of experience coupled with recent and relevant experience in bringing new entrants into the market.

The full battle card includes the following information:

  • Service specifics, in customer-centric language.
  • Relationships with other parts of the GB energy supply eco-system.
  • Information about time-bound promotions from vendors (updated quarterly).

Competitor Analysis

The simplest comparison comes from considering maturity and the cross-sell. The former has Utiliteam and Utiligroup standing as the industry veterans. Whilst in the other dimension, Utiliteam stands alone with a “minimal stack” of additional software and services.

In a more detailed analysis, the key differentiators can be mapped to a decision matrix as per the table.

Feasibility Opportunity
Compliance issues Affordability
Technical challenges Strategic alignment
Timing Innovation

Topics included in the full battlecard are:

  • Feature drill down
  • Pricing
  • Warranty
  • Decision matrix

Success Stories

Primary and secondary research reveals a number of success stories.

Vendor Case Notes
Dyball Dyball’s consultancy offer guidance before, during and after creating an energy supply business. As well as other notable clients include United Gas & Power, Avro, Utilipoint
Utiligroup Octopus A search through Companies House data verifies Utiligroup’s claim to have “delivered optimised market entry for >50 licensed energy suppliers”. As well as Octopus, other notable alumni include Robin Hood, PFP, Brook Green, Pure Planet
Utiliteam Peoples Energy As well as this case study, the quality of references available from Bulb, Ovo etc validate Utiliteam’s claim to be “the leading Accreditation Service Provider”

The full battlecard contains these and more in what is a comprehensive case study resource.

Golden Questions

From engagement with vendors and buyers, has an expert understanding around time, cost, scope and quality in the shell co marketplace. In particular, we have a balanced view of those topics which create poor word-of-mouth or those that fuel fear, uncertainty and doubt. For example:

  • Are all market segments covered? This spans domestic, non-domestic and meter types.
  • Is there sufficient support where needed? Gas and electricity have their nuances.
  • How will compliance be supported? What do reporting and audits look like in practice? Will the service provider compliance support cover HH and/or NHH, from domestic through to I&C as required?

The battlecard includes a broader selection of questions and answers which can be valuable in the decision making process.


The Shell Co Battlecard gives stakeholders valuable market intelligence. As well as the information outlined above, it includes web links for further reading and contact details for the vendors.

Based on customer segmentation and competitor analysis, has an insightful view of the main pros and cons of the shell company value propositions and can frame this against specific customer requirements.

Contact Tilix Smart Energy to find out more about shell companies or battlecards on: billing, CIS, market messaging, forecasting and digital marketing.