Bulb Energy gained 6% of energy customers since it was founded in 2015. In November 2021 it was put into special administration to protect customers and their energy supplies.
With 1.7million customers, Bulb was the largest supplier to get into difficulties amongst the wholesale market turmoil in 2021.
It's the first supplier to be placed into special administration. Smaller failed suppliers' customers have been transferred to other energy firms. Special administration is used when Ofgem can't use the more common Supplier of Last Resort Process, for example because the supplier in financial difficulty is too big.
The special administrator is Teneo.
Bulb says it will 'continue to operate as usual so you don't need to take any action'.
Your tariff won't change. Bulb offers just one tariff which is currently at the level of the price cap. It will continue to be subject to the price cap.
If you pay-as-you-go for energy, your top-ups will work as usual. Smart meter appointments will go ahead as scheduled.
If you're switching to or from Bulb, it will still go ahead.
Bulb's founders aimed to ‘make energy simpler, cheaper and greener’. It said it kept prices low by investing in technology to reduce costs.
Bulb Energy came 8th out of 16 energy companies rated by 8,390 members of the public in the annual Which? energy customer survey – the broadest, most independent view of energy companies around.
I've never had any major issues with them
Price is fair and upfront
The table below shows the breakdown of its score in our latest survey.
Scroll down to read our verdict on Bulb, plus what customers think about different aspects of its service.
|Value for money|
Based on a survey in October 2021 of 518 Bulb customers.
Pros: Customers rate it fairly for billing, customer service and value for money
Cons: Slower than average to respond on the phone in our snapshot investigation
Bulb gained customers quickly since its launch in 2015. Indeed, 31% of its customers in our survey said they joined it in the past two to three years. In contrast, just 12% of British Gas customers in our survey joined it over the same period.
Its rapid growth hasn't affected Bulb's ability to keep its customers happy over the four years it's been included in our survey. In fact, it's ranking has gone up from joint-tenth last year to eighth this year, after being rated fairly on all four measures.
Customers gave an average three star ratings for bill accuracy, bill clarity, customer service and value for money. But lots of customers didn't comment on the rising energy prices.
Our highest rated firm got four stars for all four areas, while the worst rated firm only received one three star rating and the other measures received two stars or less.
I am quite satisfied with the costs and service but one always hopes for a reduction in price
Bulb generally provides a good service but it's not cheap
Just over one in 10 (13%) of Bulb customers shared that they felt they had reason to complain about the company in the year to October 2021.
Almost six in 10 (59%) of Bulb customers told us they thought its customer service was good and 70% told us they were satisfied with it as their supplier overall.
Yes, Bulb accepts customers with traditional and smart prepayment meters.
If you have a smart prepayment meter Bulb can operate, you'll be able to top-up online using your Bulb account or its app.
If you have a traditional prepayment meter, or it's not compatible with Bulb, then you can top-up at PayPoint and Payzone outlets.
Bulb’s renewable electricity is mainly backed by renewable energy certificates with a small proportion bought directly from generators. It doesn’t generate renewable electricity itself.
|Proportion of renewable electricity sold to domestic customers||Generates renewable electricity?||Buys renewable electricity directly from generators?||Proportion of customers’ renewable electricity matched by REGO certificates?||Generates or buys directly from fossil fuels?||Sells green gas?|
|100%||No||Yes (4.5%)||95.5%||No||Yes (3%)|
Proportion of renewable electricity according to Bulb’s 2020/21 fuel mix. Other responses based on information provided by suppliers in August and September 2021.
The generators that Bulb buys renewable power directly from include solar, wind and hydro.
Bulb says it's one of the biggest buyers of green gas. Around 3% of the gas it sells is green. Some 79% was generated from purpose grown crops, 18% from food or farm waste, and 4% from vegetable peelings and cereal straw in 2020/21. Bulb says that it’s one of the biggest buyers of green gas for homes in the UK.
November: Bulb was placed into special administration after being unable to secure investment. The special administrator is Teneo.
May: Bulb announced price increases in both April and May. It said 'we're sorry to put prices up for the second time this year', explaining that the wholesale energy costs have increased by 29% since March.
Bulb was also the most complained-about energy supplier in the first three months of 2021, according to energy regulator Ofgem.
December: A deal was struck with PayPoint, allowing Bulb prepayment customers to pay for energy top-ups at 27,500 retailers including convenience stores.
October: Bulb launched what it says is the UK's first 100% renewable smart prepayment tariff, priced at below the prepayment price cap set by energy regulator Ofgem.
September: Bulb launched in Texas. It aims to simplify the market there, which it says is one of the most complex. It already provides power to homes in Spain and France.
August: Bulb paid out £1.76 million to around 61,000 customers in August 2020 for failures relating to switching, billing and not properly maintaining its Priority Services Register. Ofgem said Bulb has since made changes to improve its processes.
March: Bulb took on 9,000 customers from Gnergy when the smaller supplier stopped trading.