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Everything You Need to Know About Bulb Energy

Leading UK challenger supplier Bulb Energy has witnessed a rise in its value over the past three years since 2016, after being set up in 2015.

 

The renewable energy provider has acquired 1.5 million customers since it began trading, meaning that it’s value had increased by 318 times just a year after it was founded. These numbers are impressive, according to a study recently released by Syndicate Room, an online investment platform.

 

Bulb Co-Founder and Chief Executive Hayden Wood indicated that their growth proved that environmental concerns do influence customer behaviour. He believes that people are looking for greener, cheaper energy, that prompts the supplier to modify the way that they produce and utilise power in the UK.

 

However, another recent survey conducted by Which? has revealed that Bulb Energy’s customer service was not quite so stellar, making its clients wait for an average of 19 minutes and 2 seconds per call. It also recorded the longest single waiting time of 41 minutes 48 seconds. According to the survey, Bulb is the second slowest in average response time.

 

Bulb Energy basics

 

Bulb is considered as one of the challenger energy providers set up in 2015, but it remains as a top contender today in terms of value. It has successfully built a strong customer base, unlike the sixteen other challengers that have collapsed during the past two years.

 

What sets Bulb apart is its effort to connect customers with the company founders Amit Gudka and Hayden Wood, and the changes they want to make in the electricity market. This element has personalised the way Bulb reaches out to its customers.

 

From Bulb’s beginnings in 2015, the firm has gained a 5% share of the domestic energy market as of the second quarter of 2019. It is the largest among the challenger suppliers, with its markrt share falling only a little behind Npower’s 8%. Npower is considered as the smallest of UK’s Big Six energy providers, with British Gas taking the largest market share at 19%.

 

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For the gas sector, Bulb has gained 4% of the market – far from British Gas’s 28%, but close to SSE and E.ON, who each have a 10% market share.

 

Bulb is also notable for its steady customer growth rate. This took off in 2017 and achieved 1% on both markets by year-end. In the fourth quarter of 2018, it had gotten to 3% for both markets.

 

The energy firm hit the one-million customer mark in 2019, up from 870,000 just the year before.

 

Besides the poor survey result for its customer response time, Bulb has also been involved in an issue with Ofgem concerning its failure to offer prepayment meters. It is also currently fixing problems with smart meter connections in the Northern region, collaborating with DCC and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to resolve the issue.

 

Renewable Energy and tariff

 

Bulb Energy offers 100% renewable fuel, earning praise from customers for focusing on renewable energy.

 

However, it does not produce its energy supply. The firm relies on several independent renewable generators and acquires renewable energy from the wholesale market whenever the need arises. Bulb also claims that 100% of the gas it provides is carbon-neutral, with 10% being green gas, and 90% of the supply being offset through carbon-reducing projects.

 

Its supply is backed by a Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certification, delivering a mix of 73% wind energy, 24% solar energy, and 3% hydropower.

 

The energy provider has a single tariff applicable to both gas and electricity, which is its ‘Vari-fair’ tariff (SVT). The company claims that this is one of the cheapest deals on the market. It makes a point of investing in technology to cut costs, and select partners that do the same. It also claims to have a relatively small profit margin compared to its competitors.

 

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Bulb Energy tariffs are variable, meaning that the customers are not locked into a fixed deal, unlike what some other clients prefer.

 

Despite concerns like overpaying due to variable tariffs, Bulb’s single pricing and contract seem to work in engaging more customers.

 

In January 2019, Bulb accused the Big Six of treading too close to the new energy price cap, seeing it as a target rather than taking it as a limit. SSE shot back at Bulb, saying that suppliers going under the price cap are irresponsible and doomed to fail.

 

 

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Exit fees, prepay and smart tariffs

 

Bulb does not charge exit fees to customers who wish to leave its services. The SVT tariff allows consumers to withdraw at any point without paying a fee. Other providers charge up to £30.

 

 

As for prepayment tariffs, Bulb installs prepay meters and claims to be £181 cheaper than its competitors’ prepay deals. The firm offers an exit fee refund for customers switching from another supplier and the same 100% renewable energy that regular customers get. It also allows consumers with an existing £500 debt to switch to Bulb.

 

The company’s smart tariffs are also in the beta testing phase, using smart meters that show half-hourly readings of live energy usage. It claims that 2018’s participants in the smart-tariff trial were able to cut costs by managing their electricity usage.

 

The company’s smart tariffs are also in the beta testing phase, using smart meters that show half-hourly readings of live energy usage. It claims that 2018’s participants in the smart-tariff trial were able to cut costs by managing their electricity usage.

Other services

 

Bulb’s other focus is on energy supply and other associated services. Firstly, the Carbon Bot is a twitter account that examines greener times of the day to use electricity, crunches the numbers, and shows dynamic data on renewable energy on the National Grid.

 

The challenger provider has also announced a trial on Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) for those who have solar panels installed and are sending energy back to the grid. However, not much has been heard after the company announced its intent to apply to SEG.

 

Lastly, Bulb also offers a trial feature for Smart EV charging in collaboration with EDMI, a smart meter company. It aims to roll out new-generation smart EV chargers to 100 households this year and help customers pick a schedule so they can pay low fees while doing so.