Our Bulb energy review: Bulb are another of the recent new entrants to the UK electricity and gas supplier scene. Launched in May 2016 by friends Amit and Hayden, the company has managed to amass an impressive 300,000 customers in it’s two years of existence. So we can stick to just the good stuff about how we feel about their service, you can find out more about Bulb as a company here.
One of Bulb’s selling points is their simplicity. They offer only one tariff. This means that you know you are always on the cheapest rate the company has available, even if it is variable and can therefore change at any time. To be fair the Bulb, they do promise to give their customers two months notice of any price changes (with no exit fees if you choose to leave) and their prices have actually decreased more often than increased since their existence. You can read our full Bulb Energy review below.
Bulb Energy review: At a glance
|Electricity: 100% renewable||Great Customer Service|
|Gas: 10% green gas||Rated #1 on Trustpilot for energy providers|
|Based: London||No exit fees|
|Founded: 2015||One tariff which is variable|
|Customers: 300,000||Generous referral program|
Bulb have the simplest approach to tariffs of any of the providers we’ve reviewed. They only have one tariff! This is a variable tariff that offers 100% renewable electricity and, if you opt for dual fuel, 10% renewable gas. This does mean that you have no decisions to make in terms of tariff, making the process even more straight forward. You will also never need to worry that you could get a cheaper tariff whilst sticking with the same provider (like can happen with one of the ‘big 6’ for example).
The downside to this one tariff approach is there is nothing on offer for those that prefer fixed tariffs. This means you are susceptible to any prices rises (or decreases) that happen whilst you are with Bulb and also means you don’t have the security of knowing exactly how much your tariff will be for the next year that you get with a 1 year fixed tariff, for example. To Bulb’s credit though, there are no exit fees, they will give you at least 3 months notice if prices are going to change and as you can see below they do offer one of the cheapest tariffs on the market.
Let’s face it, this is probably the first thing you want to know in a Bulb energy review. Bulb could be a great company but if it’s going to cost you a premium for the same electricity you could get elsewhere, you’re probably going to look somewhere else. Fortunately, Bulb energy do have one of the cheapest tariffs around. How are they able to offer one of the lowest tariffs around? Well they claim they “invest in technology to help keep their costs low and only partner with companies that do the same”. They also claim to make lower profits than their competitors and then pass the savings on to their customers. I can’t verify either of these are true but looking at the chart below (which admittedly is from their website) you can see how they compare.
We did some genuinely first hand research ourselves and found they came out as the second cheapest available. The cheapest being £15 cheaper a year and with the Bulb £50 referral credit (more on that later), Bulb were in fact the cheapest. If you’re currently on a tariff with one of the big six, it isn’t looking pretty!
Bulb’s customers service offers you a range of different ways to contact them. If you’re old school or just need a quick answer, then the phone is the best option. Whenever i have called them i have got through within ~20 seconds and the first voice you hear is that of a human. This is something I have only really experienced with FirstDirect and it really is a nice touch as a customer. The people I’ve spoken to have been very polite and competent and a call has always ended in the result i was looking for.
If calling isn’t for you then you can contact them via live chat, I’ve had less success with this and have occasionally had to wait so long I’ve closed the chat and ended up continuing by email. Their email responsiveness is actually surprisingly fast, sometimes with 5 minutes, so i would probably give the live chat a miss and go straight to email.
Finally you have their community forum, this is a great source of info and a good way to chat with other ‘Bulbers’, this is worth it if you have a more general question and you think it may have already been asked/answered but isn’t probably the best route for specific account questions.
The website is very similar to the app but currently gives you a bit more detail, it shows you your previous readings alongside your predicted usage throughout the year. As you go through the year these predicted amounts then get changed for your actual amounts for that month. The app doesn’t have this last bit included but like the website allows you to update your details and gives you details of how to get help if you need to. The added benefit of the app is you can take a picture of your meter and submit this straight through the app rather than having to take down the details and submit it.
Reviews can be a tricky business, where do you look for a start? Do you just look at independent, singular reviews like this or do you look at aggregates like Trustpilot? We thought we would collate them in one place for you to look at and make it easy for you to make your a judgement yourself.
- Bulb currently have a 9.7/10 rating on TrustPilot (these reviews are somewhat suspect however as they are plagued with referral links to get £50 free credit)
- They were rated as the 6th best energy company by Which? (Out of 31)
- They receive a lot of praise on the MoneySavingExpert forums
- They received a 4.9/5 on Love Energy Saving (Based on 1,314 reviews)
- An independent, very positive review on ASpokesmanSaid.
- Most importantly, as current customers, we gave them a 9.5 in this bulb energy review!
Bulb energy fake reviews?
Bulb have managed to amass an incredible number of reviews in such a short time on TrustPilot, most of these have also been 5-star reviews. From this it would be natural to be suspicious, there are plenty of companies that try to manipulate reviews! Once you start reading the reviews however you will quickly realise the reason for the volume of reviews is due to people sharing their review link in the hope someone will sign up through it and they will get £50 credit. The Bulb energy reviews from these people therefore may be dubious but they aren’t fake, they are from real customers.
Where an energy suppliers energy comes from is a key issues nowadays. Consumers are much more conscious of renewable sources and this is often a key factor in their decision making. Bulb provide their customers with 100% renewable electricity and 10% green gas.
Most of Bulb’s energy is supplied by 5 hydro power plants, these generate electricity using water. The remaining 25% is generated from anaerobic digestion where organic farm waste is used to generate gas. Bulb is also looking into generating added power by using wind turbine energy.
The 10% green gas comes from biomethane which is produced from organic materials, like sewage and manure.
Bulb buy their energy from independent renewable generators all around the United Kingdom. (You can see a map here) The often have direct relationships with the generators to purchase their output and to cover shortfalls, they purchase renewable energy on the wholesale market.
Where in the UK does Bulb’s renewable energy comes from?
Four out of five of Bulb’s hydro plants are in Scotland. These are:
Ardtornish Estate, Morvern which has a capacity of: 3.3MW
Invervar, Glenlyon, North Perthshire which has a capacity of 1.2MW
Glenfalloch, Nr Crianlarich, Stirling which has a capacity of 2MW
Inver Estate, Isle of Jura which has a capacity of 2MW
Their final hydro plant supplying power is in North Wales at Llyn Brenig, this has a capacity of 60kW.
There are also three Biogen farms in the UK, these are the following:
Warthill Farm, Bitterly with a capacity of 475KW
Little Pengethley Farm, Ross-on-Wye with a capacity of 465kW
Icknield Farm, Ipsden with a capacity of 342kW
It’s pretty cool that Bulb are so open about where the energy they supply is actually being produced and if you are so inclined you can even look this places up on Google maps.
Bulb was founded by two friends, Hayden and Amit.
They met in 2013, working in the old energy industry. The duo saw first-hand that the customer service at some of the biggest companies could be improved and decided it didn’t have to be like that. The two friends felt that there was a gap in the market for an energy company that keeps value for money in mind and customer satisfaction at heart.
As a result, Bulb was born.
They raised £1.3 million in seed funding from friends and family to get the idea off the ground and after a few early teething issues the business quickly grew.
Their first customer signed up on 27th August 2015 (this was actually one of the co-founders Amit!)
Since then Bulb have signed up over 300,000 new members and become one of the UK’s fastest growing energy suppliers.
You may have seen Bulb’s referral links scattered around the internet in other Bulb energy reviews. Their program is simple, every time you recommend someone they get £50 account credit once they switch and you get £50 cashback. This is actually the best way to join and offers you more back than both the MoneySavingExpert energy club and often the cashback sites. If you don’t have someone that can recommend you then you can use my Bulb referral link here: https://www.energy-review.co.uk/bulbcredit
Once you’re a member, it’s a great way to try and get your energy paid for a year by recommending as many of your friends as you can!
Luckily, Bulb are a very good energy company to be recommending too, so you shouldn’t get any complaints from your mates.
Featured customer Bulb Energy review:
“I’ve been a Bulb customer since last year and have to say I have had fantastic service so far. I originally found out about Bulb through using the service on MoneySavingExpert as part of their energy club. They came out as the second cheapest dual energy supplier, one other energy company beat them on price but this was only by a few £’s a year.
I then took to Google, read the reviews of the two companies and decided Bulb was the much better option. This was where I also discovered that rather than the £25 cashback I would get through MoneySavingExpert, I could get £50 free Bulb credit by using someone else’s referral code. Unfortunately I didn’t know anyone with Bulb, but I found a referral discount code in a review on TrustPilot, used the link that was provided and signed up. I quickly received my £50 free bulb credit.
The only issue I’ve had so far came at the first hurdle and it wasn’t even Bulb’s fault! I gave the wrong initial gas reading which meant that my final bill with my existing supplier was too high and so too was my starting figure with Bulb. I resolved this with my existing supplier (surprisingly easily!) and then spoke to someone from Bulb on live chat, who said they would update the reading for me and verify it with my existing supplier. They did this within 24 hours and emailed me once the reading had been updated in their system!
I’ve not had any other issue to this day. I try to send a reading in every month as soon as I receive an email from Bulb to tell me my bill is ready (they remind you in the email about providing a reading). You only have to provide a reading once every three months, but you can provide them as often as you like and I think this makes your bills more accurate.
The estimated usage they show you on their website on your Bulb account management screen has been very accurate and our monthly payment has stayed the same each month (although was reduced by £3 recently!)
An area I think energy companies often fall down is communication. Bulb have an active blog and regularly send out an email if there are industry-wide or company changes that will affect you. They also have a very active forum where if you have a question, you can either get an answer from Bulb employees or other members of the Bulb community. Through here I also managed to sign up for the initial testing roll out of their v2 smart meters they will be rolling out later in this year.
If you’ve managed to read all my rambling in this Bulb energy review then I salute you! As you can see from my review, I thoroughly recommend Bulb. They’re a refreshing change on the ‘old’, existing energy companies. I would recommend joining bulb today even without free credit. If you can also get £50 free credit too for joining Bulb, that makes it even better!”
How to switch to Bulb Energy -- Bulb Energy review video
The process is really easy, they claim it takes 30 seconds to get a quote and then after this it takes about another 5 minutes to sign up. All you really need to provide is your address details and your direct debit details and wait for the 21 days to switch. We’ve put two a video together below taking you through the whole process:
Do Bulb accept pre-payment meters?
Yes, although this is currently in beta and hasn’t been publicly rolled out yet. If you would like to sign up with a smart meter, please have a look at their community thread here: https://community.bulb.co.uk/discussion/4133/help-us-build-bulb-prepay
Do Bulb offer smart meters?
Currently Bulb don’t offer smart meters. They are planning to start sending them out to customers in the second half of 2018 however. These will be v2 smart meters and so will continue to work even if you switch suppliers, currently existing v1 smart meters will only work with the supplier that provided you with it. A key benefit of these v2 smart meters is that it will reduce obstacles even further to switching in the future as there will be no need to get a new smart meter every time you switch.
Do they accept Economy 7?
Yes, their standard tariff is available for Economy 7. When going through the quote process, click on ‘Refine your quote’ at the bottom and you can add that you have have an Economy 7 meter.
Are they signed up to the Warm Home Discount?
Yes, Bulb energy are currently signed up to the Warm Home Discount.
Are they signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee?
Yes, Bulb Energy are signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee. You can find out more about what the Energy Switch Guarantee is here.
What billing options are available?
You can only be billed via Direct Debit. Bulb will estimate what your annual usage will be and therefore work out what your energy bill will be for the year. This amount with be divided by 12, so you are paying an equal amount each month. This means over the summer months you will build up a surplus in your account to cover the increased bills you will receive in the winter.
Do they charge exit fees?
No! Bulb don’t charge you any fees if you choose to leave. If you aren’t happy with the service or with a recent price increase then you can easily switch away at no extra cost.
Will they offer to pay a customer’s exit fees when they join them?
Yes, if you are charged an exit fee to leave your existing supplier then Bulb will pay these for you when you join.
Do they offer any incentives to customers to refer friends/family?
For any friends or family you refer to Bulb you can receive £50 credit in your account. Once you have signed up to Bulb they will supply you with a referral link which you can pass to your friends and family to sign up through.
What happens if you move home whilst with them?
In your Bulb account management screen you will find a ‘Moving Home’ tool. Using this you can let Bulb know your new address and they will start the moving process for you.
Can you get cashback when joining Bulb?
Yes, you can get cashback when joining Bulb energy both through Quidco and Topcashback. However, at the time of writing you will only get about ~£35 cashback as opposed to the £50 credit you can get when using a referral link. You can also get £25 cashback through the MoneySavingExpert energy club. The major caveat here is that all these are exclusive, you can’t therefore get cashback from Quidco, MSE and referral credit, you have to choose one. Therefore the way to get the biggest discount currently is to use someone else’s referral link.
How to contact Bulb Energy
You can contact Bulb customer service by calling: 0300 30 30 635
You can email them through: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday – Friday 9:00am – 6pm
Their address is:
68 Hanbury Street
London E1 5JL