Bulb Energy review

Bulb Energy is one of the best-value energy suppliers in the UK.

Bulb Energy review
(Image: © Bulb Energy)

TechRadar Verdict

Straightforward, green and affordable, Bulb Energy is one of best energy suppliers in the UK. Its single, 100 per cent renewable, variable tariff is certainly the best value. With excellent customer service, no exit fees and referral incentives, there are plenty of other great reasons to switch to Bulb too.


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    One great-value tariff

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    100% renewable electricity

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    Biggest buyer of green gas


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    Rate isn't fixed so prices can fluctuate

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Bulb Energy: review in brief

  • Award-winning energy supplier 
  • Over one million customers
  • 18% cheaper than Big Six standard plans

Bulb Energy was set up in 2015 by two friends – Amit Gudka and Hayden Wood – to provide people with a simpler, cheaper and greener energy supplier. Fast forward five years and Bulb continues to demonstrate these positive values, providing over a million UK households with affordable, 100% green electricity.

Bulb Energy: key facts

Green electricity: 100%
Green gas: 10%
Carbon offset: 100%
Tariffs: One variable option
Customer service: 4.8 out of 5 (Trustpilot)
Energy Switch Guarantee: Yes
Exit fees: No 

Today, the company is one of the best energy suppliers in the UK. It's won numerous awards and regularly scores highly in customer satisfaction surveys. This isn’t a surprise: Bulb delivers excellent customer service, with multiple contact options across phone, email, social and live chat on weekdays from 9am to 6pm. It also hosts a unique online community hub, where its members can share questions, raise issues and seek further support.

The company's impressive green credentials also sets it apart from other suppliers. Alongside its purely renewable electricity, Bulb is the biggest buyer of green gas in the UK. 

Bulb claims that its single, variable tariff is 18 per cent cheaper than the average Big Six standard plan, and although prices can fluctuate, Energy Helpline data shows that the average UK household will pay £890 a year with Bulb, compared to £1,033 with EDF, or £1,109 with British Gas. Our research found that the company's variable tariff was the cheapest in the UK for a central London postcode, at 14.1p per kWh for electricity and 3.7p for gas.

In the rest of our Bulb Energy review, we take a comprehensive look at the energy supplier to help you decide whether Bulb is right for you. If you decide it is, head over to our energy comparison page to see the best energy deals from Bulb in your area.

Compare Bulb with the rest of the market

Bulb Energy: tariff

Bulb Energy review: A chart showing the price of a Bulb Energy tariff

(Image credit: Bulb Energy)
  • One variable tariff 
  • Gives 30 days’ notice if prices change
  • 100% renewable electricity
  • 10% green gas

The single Bulb Energy tariff – Vari-Fair – is a variable rate plan, available for electricity and dual-fuel. Vari-Fair uses 100% renewable electricity and 10% green gas. The rest is offset via Bulb's work with carbon reduction projects around the world, making the tariff 100% carbon neutral. As a result, Bulb's Vari-Fair tariff is a great option for anyone looking for a green energy supplier. 

It also typically sits at the cheaper end of the UK energy market, as we show below. Bulb says it always offers the "best possible price" and will pass any wholesale energy drops on to customers. 

However, bear in mind that because it's a variable tariff, prices can go up as well as down. Bulb Energy says it works hard to avoid any price increases, but if its rates do rise, the company will give customers at least 30 days' notice. 

Bulb Energy: prices

Bulb Energy review: Price chart showing where Bulb Energy sits in the market

(Image credit: Bulb Energy)
  • One of the cheapest energy suppliers
  • £143 saving compared to the cheapest Big Six tariff
  • Exact prices depend on where you live in the UK
  • £50 credit if you refer a friend

If we dig down a little more into Bulb Energy’s prices, data from independent firm Energy Helpline shows that the annual cost for an average UK home is £890. (These figures are based on a typical annual consumption of 2,900 kWh electricity and 12,000 kWh gas.) That's £143 less than the cheapest Big Six tariff, which is EDF's standard variable plan (£1,033). 

In August 2020, our research revealed that Bulb's Vari-Fair tariff for a central London postcode offered one kWh of electricity for 14.1p. This made Bulb Energy the cheapest green energy provider on the market: it was cheaper than Octopus Energy (14.6p), Shell Energy (15.2p), EON (15.9p) and British Gas (16.9p). 

Energy prices differ around the UK - and your bill will also be affected by how much energy you use. However, with Bulb Energy there are clearly opportunities for most households to make savings on their energy bills - just remember that it's a variable tariff, so unit prices aren't fixed.

Bulb also offers a reward incentive: if you refer a friend and they switch, you both get £50 credit. Plus, unlike many other energy suppliers, there are no early exit fees.

Compare Bulb's prices with the rest of the market

How green is Bulb Energy?

  • 'UK's biggest green energy supplier' 
  • 100% green electricity 
  • 10% green gas, the rest is carbon offset

Bulb claims that it's the ‘UK’s biggest green energy supplier’ - although it isn't the greenest. That accolade goes to Green Energy UK, which uses 100 green gas (but is considerably more expensive). 

All the electricity used in Bulb's tariff is either bought from renewable generators or purchased from the wholesale market. This ensures that every unit Bulb puts into the grid comes from a renewable source, including solar, wind and hydropower. 

Bulb’s tariff also uses 10% green gas, which comes from renewable sources - mainly food and farm or animal waste, which has been converted into biogas. That's less green gas than OVO Energy (15%), but more than most other energy suppliers. 

The rest of Bulb's gas is 100% carbon-neutral because it's offset by Bulb’s many different carbon reduction projects. From protecting biodiversity and planting trees in Sierra Leone, to supporting wind and solar generation in India, or the £2 donation Bulb makes to its own climate crisis foundation for every new member, there are many positive examples to see. Bulb also claims the average member saves 3.5 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year on its Vari-Fair tariff.

Bulb's carbon offsets are verified by a number of professional bodies, including the Green Gas Certification Scheme and the UNFCCC’s Clean Development Mechanism. Bulb is also a certified B Corp. These are companies that are recognised for their active dedication to resolving social and environmental challenges.

Bulb Energy: customer service

  • Contact Bulb by email, social media, live chat or phone
  • Answered our call within three minutes
  • Online help centre and forum are very helpful 

All in all, we found that Bulb Energy offers an excellent level of customer service. If you have any questions or you want to make an enquiry, you can reach Bulb via email, Facebook and Twitter messaging, a live online chat service, or the phone. Bulb's website contact page explains that live chat is the fastest way to get in touch and claims its team usually responds within three minutes.

Bulb's chat function and phone lines are available on weekdays from 9am to 6pm (excluding Bank Holidays). We called the supplier across the space of a week, at several different times, and were able to speak to somebody within two to three minutes each time. Bulb's customer service advisers were polite and helpful, and quickly answered our queries.

When we tried to reach Bulb via email, we received a response within 12 hours. However, we've seen some user reviews on Trustpilot that suggest the wait time for a reply can be several days.

Unlike a lot of other energy suppliers, Bulb also has an online help centre and a forum where the answers to common questions can be found. Bulb's website has separate contact information, too, for anyone needing emergency assistance, and the company actively updated their customer support guidance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bulb Energy: reviews from users and experts

  • Uswitch runner-up Energy Supplier of the year 2020
  • 88% of users on TrustPilot rate it 'excellent'

Bulb Energy is reviewed highly on independent user review site Trustpilot. The supplier boasts an average rating of 4.8 out of 5, from over 58,000 customer reviews - with an impressive 88% rating Bulb as ‘excellent’. Notably, the speed and simplicity of its customer service is praised by a number of customers.

However, there has been some criticism on Trustpilot around smart meter functionality and compatibility, and regarding teething problems some have had when switching to the Vari-Fair tariff. Any complaints and issues appear to have been typically resolved or replied to by Bulb in a reasonably swift timeframe.

Snapshot: Bulb customer review

Bulb Energy review: Desire Athow

Désiré Athow has been with Bulb Energy for two years. We asked him to rate his experience. 


Price: 8/10
Ease of switching: 10/10
Quality of customer service: 10/10
Bill/price clarity: 10/10
Would you recommend? 10/10

We spoke with some current Bulb Energy customers to get their thoughts on the supplier. One customer, who has been with Bulb for just over two years, said that year on year they’ve saved almost 20% on their energy bills since switching. They also said that, so far, Bulb's customer services have been very good, and they often recommend Bulb to others who are looking for a new supplier.

Another member - who's been with Bulb for just over three years - again praised the supplier's affordability. They said they’re now paying a third less than they were with Scottish Power. They went on to commend Bulb’s green credentials and excellent customer services, and said they would definitely encourage others to switch to Bulb.

Wider market reviews of Bulb Energy are also generally very positive. The supplier picked up Uswitch's Best Value for Money award in 2020, and won the following categories too: Most Likely to be Recommended, Best Deal for You and Best Green Services. Bulb was also considered to be the UK’s best supplier in a review from BBC Watchdog.

Bulb Energy: smart meter 

Bulb Energy review

(Image credit: Bulb Energy)
  • Installing second-gen smart meters across the country
  • Can't take readings from first-gen smart meters

Bulb Energy is currently installing second generation smart meters (SMETS2) across the country for any customers who don’t have one. The supplier has also recently released guidelines for members around how its smart meter roll-out is being done with social distancing and COVID-19 precautions in mind. Along with the smart meter itself, Bulb also gives homeowners an In-House Display (IHD) gadget, which shows you your daily energy usage.

However, customers who switch to Bulb Energy who have first-generation smart meters (SMETS1) should be aware that currently Bulb is unable to take readings from these. The company says that by the end of 2020 an update to the SMETS1 meters should bring them onto the same network as the SMETS2s. As a result, Bulb isn't offering to upgrade customers’ old meters if they switch to Vari-Fair.

If you’d rather not get a Bulb Energy smart meter at all, that's perfectly fine. Ofgem’s consumer guidelines stipulate that having one installed isn’t mandatory. If you change your mind at a later date, getting a smart meter fitted will still be free no matter which supplier you’re with.

Bulb Energy: referral

  • Refer a friend and you'll both get £25 per utility 

The Bulb Energy referral scheme – or ‘Refer a Friend’ as the company calls it – is another popular incentive for people to switch to Bulb. Presently, if a friend sends you their referral link and you end up switching your gas and electricity to Bulb, both of you will receive a £50 credit as a thank you. If you just switch your electricity or gas, it’s £25.

You can use the Bulb referral scheme as many times as you want, and you’ll still receive the financial reward each time a friend signs up. They must use your specific link, of course, otherwise the referral credit won’t work. 

Bulb's referral conditions also say that the person you refer must not already be a Bulb member, or be moving into a property already supplied by Bulb. Also, they must not have previously left Bulb in the last year.

Bulb Energy: Warm Home Discount

  • Applications currently closed

Since 2019, Bulb has offered eligible households the Warm Home Discount and will be doing so again this year when applications become available in the autumn. Many suppliers offer the scheme, which can discount up to £140 from your electricity bills for winter 2020 to 2021.

When applications open again, you’ll be eligible for the Warm Home Discount if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (known as the ‘core group’) or you’re on a low income and meet Bulb's criteria for the scheme (known as the ‘broader group’). 

You can register your interest in the scheme and see the qualifying criteria on Bulb's website

Switching to Bulb Energy: how easy is it?

Bulb Energy review: The 'Get a Quote' page on Bulb Energy's website

(Image credit: Bulb Energy)
  • Energy Switch Guarantee means switching is simple
  • You can switch directly on Bulb's website
  • Or you can use a price comparison service to switch

Switching to Bulb Energy should be quick and relatively straightforward. The company signed up to Ofgem’s Energy Switch Guarantee back in 2016, which means Bulb will take care of the switching process with your old supplier, and complete the switch within 21 days.

To switch directly with Bulb, you can head over to the website and get a quote from them online. It took us 30 seconds to get our quote - all we had to do was answer a series of quick questions. Bulb asked for our postcode, the type of property we live in, the number of bedrooms, the energy types we require, and how we would prefer to pay.

We were quickly shown the potential monthly costs and rates for the Vari-Fair tariff, how much we could save per year and a cost comparison between a more popular provider. You then have the option to make an enquiry and start the switching process.

Another option is to use an independent energy price comparison service – like our energy price comparison tool – as this will give you a clearer picture of what other suppliers can offer you in your area. What’s more, you'll be able to accurately compare Bulb’s tariff to other providers and find out exactly how much you could save.

Most energy comparison services will also let you filter your results by different tariff features or supplier options. For example, if you only want to see the best green energy deals, or you want to avoid things like exit fees, you’ll be able to effectively narrow down the options to quickly find the right tariff for your needs.

Whether you switch directly through Bulb or an independent service is up to you, but whichever option you choose, you’ll always see the same tariff pricing because the energy unit costs are the same.

Verdict: should you switch to Bulb Energy?

If you're looking for an affordable green energy supplier, then yes, you should absolutely switch to Bulb Energy. We like how Bulb make things simple for members, and it generally excels when it comes to customer service. 

This, plus Bulb's industry awards and consistently high user-review ratings, makes Bulb one of the best energy providers in the UK, and one of the best green energy providers too.

However, if you'd prefer a wider choice of tariffs, consider Octopus Energy. Octopus has similar low costs, and offers a variety of 100% renewable tariffs. 

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Richard Hart

Rich is a freelance copywriter and content strategist with over 10 years' experience. His career has seen him work in-house and in various agencies, producing online and offline content marketing campaigns and copywriting for clients in the energy industry.