Bulb Energy – one of the UK’s biggest green energy suppliers – has been ordered by Ofgem to pay £1.76m in refunds and compensation to thousands of customers. The energy watchdog found that Bulb Energy had failed to meet its regulations in its IT and compliance processes across a three-year period, causing issues for just under 62,000 customers.
According to MoneySavingExpert, Bulb broke Ofgem’s rules in three areas:
- Around 11,400 customers were collectively overcharged £699,000 for incorrect standing charges between December 2017 and June 2020. These have now been paid back along with an extra £675,000 in ‘goodwill payments’.
- Between June 2017 and April 2020, around 3,800 consumers were blocked from switching to Bulb. This was due to data errors and Bulb submitting incorrect information. Bulb has so far paid out a total of £155,500 to those affected.
- Around 46,500 vulnerable customers were incorrectly removed from Bulb’s Priority Services Register. This happened between March 2019 and January 2020. This service is meant to provide additional support, and Bulb itself reported the issue to Ofgem in February 2020.
Bulb has admitted and confirmed the errors, and any outstanding refunds from the £1.76m pay out will be issued to affected consumers over the coming months. The energy supplier has also made a £157,350 payment to the energy industry’s redress fund, which also helps vulnerable energy customers.
Ofgem’s chief executive Jonathan Brearley offered his thoughts on the situation, emphasising how important it is for suppliers to follow the regulator's rules to ensure they always “give their customers a good service”. However, he went on to commend Bulb’s response and say the company “has since put things right with affected customers and put processes in place to make sure it can meet Ofgem's rules".
Bulb promises to do better
In addition to the refund packages and goodwill payments, a Bulb spokesperson stressed the firm’s desire to improve following these errors. "We recently fixed some issues which affected some of our members and potential members," they said. "At Bulb, we pride ourselves on the quality of our operations and technology, but we know there will always be ways we can keep improving.
"That's why we've strengthened the Bulb team, boosted training, and put in place even more rigorous checks and verification processes."
In a statement on its website, Bulb added: “We’re sorry. We will do better.”
Research before switching
While this negative news is potentially damaging for Bulb’s reputation, it doesn’t negate the positive work the supplier has done in the last few years – particularly around providing the markets with affordable renewable energy.
In our Bulb Energy review, we found that the firm has impressive green credentials, excellent customer service and that its Vari-Fair tariff is around £227 cheaper than the standard Big Six deals.
However, this situation does stress the importance of carrying out independent research when you’re looking to switch. Alongside reading reviews like ours to determine who the best energy supplier is, you can also use our independent energy comparison service to find the best energy deals in your area. What’s more, our comparison tool allows you to narrow down your options and compare different criteria like tariff types, renewable energy mix, exit fees and more.
The added benefit from such research, of course, is you could end up saving hundreds of pounds every year by switching to a cheaper tariff - as well as ensuring you find the right supplier for your home.
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