Shell is expanding into provision of utilities to the household sector.

It has signed an agreement to buy First Utility, an independent UK household energy and broadband provider. The deal is subject to regulatory and other approvals and is expected to complete early this year.

In a statement, Shell said its energy supply, trading and marketing expertise, combined with First Utility’s experience in serving around 825,000 homes in the UK, would enable First Utility to grow and develop more innovative services for customers.

It added that expanding its energy supply business from commercial and industrial customers into the residential sector through First Utility would allow it to bring its products and services to more customers every day.

“The supply and demand of residential energy is rapidly changing, driven by new technologies that enable householders to better manage their energy use, and the need for a low-carbon energy system,” Mark Gainsborough, Shell’s executive vice president of new energies, said. “This combination will enable Shell to enter a new part of the energy market in the UK and to improve choice for customers by delivering innovative services at competitive prices.”

Shell Energy Europe Limited (SEEL), Shell group’s European gas and power marketing and trading business, will continue to supply wholesale gas and electricity to energy retailers in the UK and Europe, including First Utility. In 2015, a licensing agreement between Shell Brands International and First Utility enabled them to operate in the German household energy sector under the Shell brand.

“We believe that the time is right to build on our strong relationship with First Utility by investing to grow its business,” Gainsborough said.