Energy company reviews
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 5 of 33
Bulb Energy is a fast-growing green gas and electricity supplier which offers one tariff. Should you switch to Bulb Energy? We reveal all.
Bulb Energy offers just one tariff with 100% renewable electricity and 10% renewable gas. It says it’s ‘making energy simpler, cheaper and greener’.
Compared with other ‘green’ energy suppliers, its variable tariff is usually among the cheaper deals available in England, Scotland and Wales. It doesn’t charge exit fees.
Bulb Energy says it keeps prices low by investing in technology to reduce costs.
It has grown quickly and now has 870,000 customers.
Read on to find out how Bulb fared, or compare gas and electricity prices using Which? Switch to find out if you could save money with Bulb Energy.
Bulb Energy customer score
Bulb Energy came joint-eighth out of 30 energy companies rated by 7,429 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey – the broadest view of energy companies out there.
Its customers rated it more highly than any of the Big Six energy companies and joint with Bristol Energy and Ecotricity, another firm offering 100% renewable electricity. Keep reading to find out why.
Bulb Energy score breakdown
The graphic below shows the breakdown of its score in our latest survey.
Scroll down to read Which?’s verdict on Bulb Energy, plus where its renewable energy comes from.
Find out how Bulb Energy compares with other energy firms in our guide to the best and worst energy companies.
Which? verdict on Bulb Energy
Bulb Energy was included in our energy survey for the first time last year, and in both years it has been well rated by customers. It’s growing fast – 95% of its customers we surveyed said they’d joined it in the past two years – but still keeping customers content.
This year, Bulb's customer score is well above average, but it’s still a few percentage points away from the top of the table.
Customers are most impressed by its online customer service and value for money; both receive five-star ratings. Overall, 10 firms were rated excellent value for money by their customers.
Across the other measures we asked about, including billing, phone customer service and complaints handling, Bulb does a good job according to customers.
In fact, Bulb’s customers were second most likely (after top-scoring Octopus) to say its complaints handling was excellent.
Bulb also has one of the lowest levels of complaints among companies included in the survey. Plus it resolved all complaints it received in the first six months of last year within eight weeks. While that may not sound speedy, the worst companies resolved fewer than 80% in the same time period.
However, it was the second-slowest to answer the phone on average in our snapshot investigation into energy companies' call waiting times. In previous years it was much faster. This year it took 19mins 2secs on average to pick-up. Only Scottish Power was slower, taking 21mins 24secs on average.
We also tried its live chat in the hope that this would get us a faster response. Unfortunately, Bulb’s live chat was unavailable on 11 of the 12 occasions we tried. On the only occasion it worked, it took us 10 minutes to get a reply. Bulb wasn’t the only company with poor live chat availability though – Utilita also only had live chat available on one occasion we tried.
Pros: Customers rate it excellent value for money, with excellent online customer service
Cons: Slow to respond on the phone in our snapshot investigation
Bulb Energy electricity sources
Bulb Energy says 10% of its gas is ‘green’. This gas comes from biomethane produced from organic matter such as sewage and manure.
Discover how much money you can cut from your energy bills. Use Which? Switch to compare gas and electricity prices.
Bulb Energy in the news
February: While other firms were announcing price rises, Bulb told customers it would lower its gas prices on 21 March.
All gas customers will save £20 per year, on average. Bulb explained that wholesale gas price have dropped since December so it’s ‘passing on the saving to our members’.
Earlier in the month, Bulb promised that it would not increase its gas and electricity prices when the new, higher, price cap took effect.
Wholesale costs have fallen 16% since September, due to lower demand caused by relatively mild temperatures, Bulb explained.
Hayden Wood, co-founder and CEO of Bulb said: ‘We won’t be putting up our prices when the new cap level is introduced and hope to see many more vote with their feet for better value on their energy.’
December: Bulb announced that it had 870,000 customers and that its gross profit rose from £1.1m to £12.1m in a year. But it revealed that its losses grew faster in the same time period, which it said were due to the cost of growing its customer based and developing new technology.
November: Customers faced the third price rise of 2018, increasing the price of its tariff by 11.1%. As a result, the average home will pay £102 more per year.
It said that wholesale energy costs had ‘gone up substantially’ since its last price increase in June – and have risen nearly 50% over the past year.
June: Bulb announced its second price increase of the year; 5.1% for the average gas and electricity bill. This will add £44 per year to the average bill from 12 August.
Bulb blamed ‘substantial increases in the wholesale cost of gas and electricity’ for the price increase which will affect all of its 450,000 customers.
February: Bulb announced a price rise of 2.8% on average for all of its dual-fuel customers. It said this would increase a customer’s typical bill by £24 per year. The increase will take affect from 28 April.