Bulb Energy Review
.. and the switching process.
Switching to Bulb was the first time I have ever moved energy companies, and I can tell you I was a little nervous about it.
I am sure most of us have contemplated moving energy supplier, but fear of the unknown stops us. Will be be without energy for a period of time? Will the new supplier let us down? Will the costs be more than they are right now? These were all worries I had too, but after moving into a large Victorian property with a history of huge gas and electricity bills, I decided to make the switch. I did it at probably the worst time of year too. In November when I couldn't afford to be without heating.
This review will explain the process I went through with Bulb, and how the move went. More importantly, I have now been with them for around 5 months at the time of writing this review, so I can give you the facts. So first things first, why bulb?
There were a few compelling reasons. First was the price and we'll come on to that later in the review. The second reason was the fact that they are a Green company using green gas and electricity. To be perfectly transparent here, their site says that 10% of their gas is renewable sources, while 100% of their electricity is. They state on their site that the average Bulb member saves 1.3 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually. That is equivalent to planting 655 trees! It's always nice knowing we are helping our planet with our choices. And the best thing of all about this green energy was that it would cost me less than I was paying with my previous supplier (that used non-green energy sources).
Another great reason for choosing Bulb was the fact that they got great reviews on Trustpilot. In fact, it's currently stated on the Bulb website that they are rated 9.7/10 on Trustpilot, and currently uSwitch best value for money winner 2018.
Bulb also donates £2 towards Edible Playgrounds by Trees for Cities for every new member that joins.
Hayden and Amit created Bulb after meeting 5 years ago while working in the “old” energy industry. They have three core values. Simpler, cheaper, greener. The greener part goes without saying as you already know their energy is green. We will see in the remainder of this review whether they are cheaper and simpler.
If you visit their site, you can get an estimate of how much you will save on your bills. You'll also see their bold claim that switching only takes 2 minutes of your time. You know what? That actually is true as Bulb did all of the work for me once I agreed to sign up with them.
The process of moving
I found out about Bulb by searching on uSwitch. I headed on over to the Bulb website to investigate further. They have a tool so you can get a quote for expected costs of your energy through Bulb. To get your quote you simply enter the type of fuel you want (gas & electricity in my case) your postcode and size of your house and the estimate will be displayed on the screen, together with a large button saying “Switch Now (takes just 2 minutes). This takes you to a form that you fill in with your name, address, date of birth, phone number. Go through the 2 minute process of filling in forms and you are done. That’s it! Bulb will then take if from there. I didn’t even have to contact my old provider as Bulb took care of that as well. All I received was an email stating the date that I would be switched over. The email also explained that around 6 weeks after the switchover, I would get the final bill from my old supplier.
So that is all I did. On the date of my switchover, nothing appeared. My gas and electricity continued to work as they always had. The world did not come to an end. I did get an email from Bulb letting me know they were now supplying my energy. What I really liked though was that at any time, I could speak to a real person about the switch.
The process of moving was totally painless and indeed only took around 2 minutes of my time, filling forms. Looking back on their three core values, this was certainly simple, but that’s not all that was simpler.
User Interface & Bills I understand
With Bulb, you get a nice user interface that you log into within your web browser. When you want to login, you enter your registered email address into a form, and they immediately email you back a link which logs you in. The link expires after one use for security reasons. Note that there is also an option to sign in with a username and password.
The interface is simple enough. There are a few large buttons:
The first button takes you to a simple screen for entering in your meter readings. There are options for entering gas and electricity, and these show you your previous meter readings so you can compare and also make sure you have the right number. For example, here is the screen for entering my electricity reading:
The next large button in the interface is payments and statements.
This screen will show you how much you are paying monthly, and your average monthly usage. If they think you are paying too much, they will tell you, like in my case:
This screen will also show you detailed statements that you can download. These energy bills are also far simpler than my previous supplier. I always struggled to work out what they were charging me and why, but with Bulb, it is in plain English. Here is the summary at the top of my bill for March 2018:
You can clearly see at the top that my account balance on the 2nd of March was £80.45 in debt, but I paid in £109.08 on 5th March to take my account into credit of £28.63.
Then, during the month of March, I used £58.94 electricity and £155.47 gas (it was a cold month) with a total cost of £214.41. With my £28.63 credit, that took my balance to £28.63 – £214.41 = -£185.78, or £185.78 in debt. You cannot get clearer than that.
In the same statement, you also get a breakdown of costs for gas and electricity, so here is the breakdown for my electricity during that period:
Finally, an energy bill I can read and make sense of. My old energy supplier was too confusing. Here is an old bill for the 24 days before I switched to Bulb:
In my opinion, the bills and the way they are created at Bulb is far more intuitive, and you can actually see what you are paying in, what is coming out and your final balance for the month.
Monthly emails and phone app
To help mange your bills, Bulb also offer a phone app for Android and iPhone. This can be used to check your bills and submit readings. I have it on my phone but don’t actually use it as I prefer to login on my laptop when I want to check things out.
Topping up and changing monthly payment
Another thing I like with Bulb is the way you can change your monthly payment. In a screenshot I showed you earlier, Bulb suggested I lowered my monthly payment. To do that is simple as well. In that screenshot is a button for Payment Settings. Click that and you are taken to a screen where you can adjust how much (and when) you pay:
In my case, I won’t be changing that any time soon. We’ve just come out of the winter months and I want to build up reserve in my account to pay for next winter . I also think they have underestimated my monthly bills based on the large bills I have already ad in the winter.
Tarrifs – compare to my previous company
From the main screen, there is a button to view My Account and tariff info. This screen will tell you exactly how much you are paying per kWh of electricity and gas.
I compared the cost for one month at my old provider, and at Bulb. I'll give you the breakdown in a second, but here are the results for anyone in a hurry:
In March 2018, my house energy bill at Bulb was £176.57
If I was still with my old provider, it would have cost – £261.18
By switching to Bulb, assuming my maths is all correct, I saved around £85 in March of this year.
OK, let's do the maths.
Here is my current Bulb tariff:
Gas: 2.78p per kWh
Electricity: 13.35p per kWh.
There is also a standing charge of 24.56p per day for electricity, and 24.56p per day for gas.
Since I am a dual fuel customer, I also get a £30 discount per year on my fuel.
So how do those numbers stack up when compared to my old supplier. Well let’s take an example month from the last winter.
For 28 days of March 2018, my house used:
Electricity: 314 kWh
Gas: 138 cubic feet, which equates to 4348.82 kWh. See the calculator here if you have a cubic feet meter.
Forgetting the dual fuel discount, my bill with Bulb for those 28 days would therefore be:
Standing charge: £13.75
With Bulb, TOTAL COST FOR 28 DAYS: £176.57
My old energy supplier had the following tariffs:
Gas: 4.777p per kWh.
Electricity: 18.022p per kWh.
There is also a standing charge of 14p per day for electricity, and 20p per day for gas.
For the same 28 days, my bill with my old supplier would have been:
Standing charge: £9.52
With the old supplier, TOTAL COST FOR 28 DAYS: £261.18
The numbers for unit costs of gas and electricity may look small when you consider per unit cost, but they quick add up. My old supplier had lower daily standing charges, but their near double cost of a unit of gas made a huge difference to the final bill.
I can only guess at the final saving over my first full year with Bulb.
So, about those core values…
Simpler …. CHECK
Cheaper …. CHECK
I am absolutely delighted with Bulb. I have had no problems, and when I did contact them to ask a question, I spoke to a real person and got my answer within seconds. I highly recommend them.
Discount for signing up
One thing I forgot to mention earlier is that when I signed up with Bulb, I went through a referral link which got my £50 credit applied to my account. The person that referred my also got the same credit for referring a new customer. You can do the same if you like. By using the link below, you can get £50 credit applied to your account, which means £50 off your first bill.
If you have any specific questions or comments, please leave a comment below. I am happy to answer them if I can, though specific questions about Bulb should probably be directed to their support team.
To get £50 credit applied to your account, sign up for bulb using this link:
If you have changed your energy supplier in the UK, I hope it all went as smoothly as it did for me. Whether it was a smooth transition or a bumpy ride, I'd love it if you let me know how it went by leaving a comment below.