Bulb Energy review 2020: should you switch?

Renewable energy is standard at Bulb Energy and its single tariff is very competitively priced. So are there any drawbacks?

Bulb Energy review
(Image credit: Bulb Energy)
T3 Verdict

Bulb Energy supplies 100% renewable energy. It’s one of the cheaper providers, consistently scores highly on customer service, and there are no exit fees. Plus you get £50 if you refer a friend. There’s every reason to switch to Bulb.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    100% renewable energy

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    No exit fee

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    If you refer a friend, you both get £50

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No fixed rate, so prices can go up

Bulb Energy is one of the UK’s fastest-growing green energy suppliers. Launched in 2015, Bulb Energy started as an idea between friends Amit Gudka and Hayden Wood. Today, it supplies 1.5 million homes with affordable, renewable energy - the provider took on 9,000 customers from Gnergy in March 2020 - and boasts a raft of industry awards and positive customer reviews. So should you switch to Bulb? 

In this Bulb Energy review, we look at everything from the provider's pricing and customer service to its green credentials and more, to help you decide whether it's right for you. If you decide to switch, head over to our energy comparison page to find the best energy deals from Bulb in your area.

Bulb Energy: tariff

Bulb Energy offers a single tariff, called Vari-Fair, which moves with the company’s wholesale energy costs. The company says that any drops in the wholesale price of energy will be passed on to you, so you know you're always paying the best possible price. Bear in mind this means the tariff can go up, too. If that happens, Bulb will give you 30 days’ notice. 

Bulb Energy: price

Bulb Energy review

(Image credit: Bulb)

Bulb Energy sits at the cheaper end of the energy market in England, Scotland and Wales. As with all energy suppliers, the price you pay depends on where you live and how much energy you use.

Bulb Energy: quick stats

Green electricity: 100%
Green gas: 10%
Carbon offsetting: yes
Tariffs: one
Customer service: 4.8/5 stars (Trustpilot)
Energy Switch Guarantee: yes
Exit fees: none

However, according to independent energy switching site Energy Helpline, the average UK home supplied by Bulb Energy pays £890 for gas and electricity every year, based on a typical annual consumption of 2,900 kwh electricity and 12,000 kwh gas. 

That makes Bulb Energy around £227 cheaper than Big Six standard deals – which cost the average household around £1,117 by comparison. Altogether, Bulb's 1.5 million customers make an annual saving of some £340 million.

Bulb is competitive in the green energy space, too. In July 2020, its tariff for a central London postcode offered one kWh of electricity for 14.11p – compared to 14.47p at Octopus Energy; 14.92p at Shell Energy; and 18.8p at Green Energy UK. Pure Planet was cheaper, at 13.10p per kWh. By contrast, EON sends 100% green electricity to the same address for 16.13p per kWh; while British Gas costs 17.60p per kWh. 

Speaking of exit fees, Bulb Energy doesn't charge them if you leave before your fixed tariff is up. But many providers do, including Shell Energy (£30 per fuel), EON (£30 per fuel) and British Gas (£40 per fuel). Finally, another bonus to Bulb is if you refer a friend, you’ll both get £50.

How green is Bulb Energy?

Bulb Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity. For every unit used, the company ensures a unit is produced and put on the grid by a renewable source including solar, wind and hydro.

It does this in two ways. Firstly, Bulb Energy has direct relationships with renewable generators across the UK to purchase its output – electricity comes from sources such as Llyn Brenig Hydro in North Wales, for example. Secondly, the company also buys renewable energy directly from the wholesale market. 

Green gas is notoriously harder to supply. Bulb offers 10% green gas – that's around average for a green energy supplier – produced from renewable sources such as food and farm waste. 

However, Bulb Energy's gas is 100% carbon-neutral. The company offsets the rest of the gas it supplies by supporting carbon reduction projects around the world. In September 2018, for example, it offset its millionth tonne of carbon through its work with ClimateCare to fund solar and wind farms in India, rainforest protection in Sierra Leone, clean gas in China and clean-cooking stoves in Ghana and Kenya. (Read more about where Bulb's energy comes from.)

Bulb Energy: customer service

Customers can telephone, email or contact Bulb Energy via Facebook Messenger. When we called, the phone was answered within 11 seconds, and the person on the end of the line was very helpful and informed. 

The company has also built simple digital tools that let you help yourself via your account or the mobile app; or talk to staff, and other customers, via Bulb's community page. 

Bulb Energy: user reviews

Bulb won four gongs in the Uswitch Energy Awards 2020: best value for money, most likely to be recommended, best deal for you, and best green services. It was also named runner up supplier of the year 2020 (the winner was Octopus Energy).

Which? customers rate it highly too: Bulb and Octopus were the only two suppliers to receive the highest, five-star rating for resolving complaints in the 2020 Which? customer survey.

Meanwhile, an impressive 88 per cent of Bulb’s 56,000 Trustpilot reviews rated the supplier as excellent when we checked the independent user review site in July 2020, and only 3 per cent bad – giving it a superb overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Customers highlighted the company’s clear communication and competitive prices, and the ease of its switching process. 

BBC Watchdog has also ranked Bulb as the No 1 supplier for service based on its lower than average number of complaints.

Bulb Energy: do you need a smart meter?

Although Bulb encourages its customers to get a smart meter, and will supply one, its single ‘Vari-Fair’ tariff means you are not obliged to have one installed. 

Bulb Energy: switching

Switching to Bulb Energy is easy. Bulb signed up to Ofgem's Energy Switch Guarantee (which promises a reliable and hassle-free switch within 21 days) in August 2016, and started publishing its results in 2018, making it the first energy supplier to do so. 

There are two main ways to switch to Bulb. You can go directly to Bulb for a quote - just pop your postcode in, answer four quick questions about your home, and you'll be shown a monthly estimate, along with a breakdown of the tariff costs.

Alternatively, you can use a free independent price comparison service - such as our energy price comparison tool - to find the best tariffs in your area, and see how much you could save by switching to each. This means you can compare Bulb's prices with the rest of the market to make sure you're choosing the right deal for your home. You can filter your results by a number of criteria - including tariff type, whether a tariff is green, or avoids exit fees - to help you find exactly the right plan. 

Whether you go through Bulb directly or via an energy comparison site, you'll be shown exactly the same tariff pricing: the unit cost of energy doesn't change. And if you decide to switch to Bulb, both services will handle the entire switch for you (for free) if you choose. Bulb will also refund you if your old supplier charges you for leaving.

Bulb Energy: should you switch?

Bulb Energy review

(Image credit: Bulb Energy)

Yes, there are a lot of excellent reasons to switch to Bulb Energy. We don't just think Bulb is one of the best green energy suppliers in the UK – we think it's one of the best energy providers, full stop. 

Bulb's single tariff means no deliberation, and because it’s one of the cheapest in the market, it's very good value. The company’s customer reviews are also consistently good, most notably its 4.8 stars on Trustpilot. However, if you want 100% green gas, you have only one option currently: Green Energy UK. You’ll pay much more for your fuel there, though.

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