Total customers: 1, 400, 000
UK ranking: #8
Bulb Energy is one of the UK’s leading energy suppliers. The brand claims to be a cheaper, easier choice for gas and electricity and is the biggest green energy company in the UK.
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 green energy and customer service.
Bulb has built its brand on being distinctly different from the big six, with a set of instilled company values to make it a more attractive option compared to other major UK energy suppliers. In terms of its efficient service and energy plans, Bulb claims to be a simpler, cheaper way to go.
According to its website, Bulb keeps its energy prices down by investing in technology and passing on the savings to customers, while making its gas and electricity plans available at one simple rate for all customers. 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.
Notably, Bulb is also a community; it has a very active online forum that keeps users and customer service representatives well connected and lets customers directly have a say in how Bulb is run. Within a year of its foundation, Bulb took customers’ requests onboard and agreed to pay any exit fees faced by customers switching over.
It is also a Living Wage Employer and a certified B Corporation. This means it is committed to considering the welfare of its workers and customers, as well as the wider community and environment in every business decision it makes, by making this a legal requirement and not just an obligation.
Bulb keeps things simple - it only offers one plan, which is called the Vari-Fair tariff. Available for dual fuel gas and electricity as well as electricity-only customers, Bulb’s energy is also a suitable choice for Economy 7 meters and prepayment meters.
Bulb’s plan is variable, and after several increases across 2018 due to wholesale gas prices, Bulb Energy prices were reduced by 2% in March 2019. With every price change, Bulb gives its customers 60 days’ notice. There is no fixed term for the plan and customers can leave whenever they wish.
An online account is opened for every customer, and a Bulb Energy app is also available. According to the company, people use 10% less gas and electricity when they know precisely how much they are using.
Bulb’s goal is to have 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 Business Energy has similar aims, with plans that are 15% cheaper while still offering green energy.
When it comes to green energy, Bulb is a leading choice. The energy supplier not only offers 100% renewable electricity, but it also offers 10% renewable biomethane gas.
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 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 sources, it will buy renewable energy wholesale.
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 southern is in Dartmoor. Bulb makes an effort to highlight the work of all of its green energy generators on its blog, so you can see precisely where in the UK your energy is coming from.
The average household running on Bulb green energy will save 3.5 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere in a 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 the 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 will require manual meter readings.
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 of solar panel management.
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.
The brand has earnt 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.