Last updated: 9 September 2020
In this guide you’ll find
Bulb Energy company profile
Bulb Energy: a supplier with a difference
Bulb energy prices and plans
Bulb renewable energy
Is Bulb a good option as an energy supplier?
Total customers: 1,500,000
UK ranking: #8
Bulb Energy sits just outside the top six as one of the UK’s biggest energy suppliers, and currently is the largest 100% green energy company. It describes itself in just three words: “Simpler, cheaper, greener”.
Bulb was founded in 2013 by two entrepreneurs who were unimpressed by the options the average UK household had to choose from when it came to energy. With backgrounds in what they call “dirty energy”, they committed to making Bulb the best energy supplier for both green energy and customer service.
Bulb has built its brand on being distinctly different from the big six, with a set of instilled values that aim to make it a more attractive choice compared to other major UK energy suppliers:
Bulb offers one single tariff for all customers and promises that prospective customers can switch to the supplier in just two minutes.
Bulb says it keeps its energy prices low by investing in technology and passing the savings on to its customer base. Energy prices are kept at one simple rate for all customers, so everyone gets the best possible deal. These factors helped Bulb gain the Uswitch award for Best Value for Money and has made the brand the UK’s eighth-largest energy supplier.
Bulb provides 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon-neutral gas as standard for all customers.
Notably, Bulb is also a community; it has an active online forum that keeps users and customer service representatives well connected and lets customers have a direct say in how Bulb is run. Within a year of its foundation, Bulb took customers’ requests onboard by agreeing to pay any exit fees faced by customers switching from other suppliers.
It is also a Living Wage Employer and a certified B Corporation. This means Bulb is legally required (as opposed to just obligated) to consider the welfare of its workers and customers, as well as the wider community and environment in every business decision it makes.
Bulb keeps things simple - it only offers one plan, which is called the Bulb Vari-Fair tariff. Available for dual fuel gas and electricity as well as electricity-only customers, The Bulb tariff is also a suitable choice for Economy 7 meters and prepayment meters.
Bulb’s plan is variable, so is affected by changes in the wholesale market. It last updated its prices in March 2020, with gas rates falling, but the cost of electricity rising. A typical Bulb electricity-only household bill paid by direct debit rose £22 to £523/year, but a dual-fuel customer saw their average bills cut by £56 (thanks to a £78 drop in the cost of gas) to £944/year.
In both cases, Bulb is keen to point out its variable tariffs work out significantly cheaper than the price caps set by Ofgem – £218 below for those who pay by direct debit, and £174 below the prepayment price cap. This fits in with its aim of offering one of the cheapest energy plans on the market – the company admits that its dedication to this goal means it “makes lower profits than our competitors”.
Bulb has also changed its standing charges – previously, one flat rate applied to the entire country, but this has now been updated to reflect the varying costs of supplying energy to different regions.
Bulb has issued several updates to customers over the fluctuating prices of energy during the Covid-19 crisis and has hinted that there may be another price change before the end of 2020.
Bulb Business Energy is similar, with plans that it says are 15% cheaper than the competition while still offering green energy. Like its Vari-Fair tariff, the plan is variable, which means no exit fees or long contracts.
When it comes to green energy, Bulb is a leading force. The energy supplier not only offers 100% renewable electricity, but it also offers 10% renewable biomethane gas in addition to promising the rest of its gas is carbon-neutral.
Its electricity is generated from a range of renewable energy sources including wind and solar at farms based all over the UK. Bulb Energy’s biomethane gas comes from pig slurry that is anaerobically digested – this harnesses the power of bacteria that can eat the slurry and produce harvestable energy. If Bulb fails to generate enough energy from its own sources, it promises to buy renewable energy on the wholesale market.
The exact generators that Bulb uses are mapped out on its website. The most northerly source is 13km off the Caithness Coast, while the most southerly is on Dartmoor. Bulb highlights the work of all its green energy generators on its blog, so you can see precisely where in the UK your energy comes from.
The average household running on Bulb green energy will save 3.5 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere per year, the equivalent of planting 1,770 trees.
Encouraging people to make the Bulb renewable energy switch, the brand promises to refund up to £60 of any exit fee placed on customers who move over from a different supplier. The initial energy switch can be made in two minutes online with the final change-over complete in 21 days under the Energy Switch Guarantee. Bulb will also take care of any admin involved with switching, informing your old supplier of the change.
If customers ever choose to leave, there are no Bulb exit fees and if you refer a friend to switch as well, you’ll both get £50.
Smart meters can also be installed for customers who switch to Bulb, with an aim to have them installed for all its customers over the next few years. For customers who have meters from other suppliers, Bulb requires manual meter readings.
Your My Bulb Account can be managed online (bulb.co.uk) or through an app – Bulb logins are done through your email address. Aside from checking and paying your bills, My Bulb Account can also be used to track your energy usage – Bulb claims that people use around 10% less gas and electricity when they can monitor their usage, leading to further savings.
Bulb is an energy supplier looking for new ways to improve its service, not just to customers but to the planet. Its current focus is the Bulb Labs plan, which aims to reduce Bulb renewable energy prices for customers who have electric vehicles and create easier means for managing solar panels.
Linking back to the community aspect of the brand, Bulb is open to collaboration with other green energy businesses and invites individuals to participate in its Bulb Lab developments.
Bulb has a competitive plan and 100% renewable electricity, making it a suitable choice for those seeking an environmentally friendly energy provider or cost-effective energy. Ironically, one of its strengths – its one-size-fits-all Vari-Fair tariff – could also be a weakness for those looking for the security of a fixed-rate tariff.
Bulb Energy reviews confirm that the brand has earned a strong position among UK energy suppliers due to its customer service and inclusion of customers in its business decisions, so even if going green isn’t your priority, you might still consider Bulb as a potential energy provider.