Bulb Energy Prices: Gas and Electricity tariffs 2019
Bulb Energy is an independent UK gas and electricity supplier and one of the fastest growing companies in the UK. So are customers flocking to the company because of great prices, or in spite of higher than average tariffs? We’re breaking down Bulb’s prices to find out!
Bulb Energy tariff options
Before getting into the details of prices, we first need to examine what tariffs Bulb Energy offers. Luckily, Bulb’s offerings are much simpler than many other energy suppliers’. In fact, they claim to offer only one single tariff! This is a welcome change, as many suppliers have a huge array of confusingly named tariffs. Bulb’s single tariff makes it easy for its customers to know what they’re paying and be sure they’re getting the best deal possible.
That is actually debateable; it can be argued that Bulb Energy actually has two domestic tariff options, but we’ll get to that below.
One tariff option
For customers with a standard meter, Bulb offers only one tariff, its Vari-Fair variable tariff. Bulb claims to only offer one tariff in order to keep things simple for its customers, rather than having them sort through a myriad of options to be sure there isn’t a better deal to be had.
Although we at Selectra generally recommend contracting fixed-price tariffs over variable ones, we do appreciate keeping things simple.
Variable vs fixed-price tariffs
Confused about the difference between variable and fixed-price tariffs? Basically, a fixed-price tariff is one in which the unit price of your gas and electricity is constant for the duration of the contract.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean your bills will be a fixed amount, the cost of your energy is still dependent on how much gas and electricity you use per billing period.
Meanwhile, with a variable tariff the price per unit of electricity and gas changes due to market factors like the wholesale cost of energy and the effects of Brexit on the industry. Generally speaking, variable tariffs are more expensive than fixed-price ones and their contracts have no end date or exit fee.
Bulb Energy also has a tariff specifically available for customers with a prepayment meter. This is their Vari-Fair Prepayment tariff. The prepaid tariff is similar to their standard Vari-Fair, but with slightly lower unit prices and significantly higher standing charges. Normally, prepayment tariffs are more expensive on both fronts, so it’s nice to see Bulb Energy granting some relief to its prepayment customers with lower unit rates.
Standing charges are the amount that you will pay per day regardless of the amount of energy you use. That means that if you don’t use a lot of gas or electricity for all or part of the year (you’re on a long holiday for example), you could still be paying quite a bit for your energy service.
In addition to their domestic offerings, Bulb Energy does offer a business tariff that offers businesses 100% renewably sourced electricity and 100% carbon neutral gas. Regarding its business energy services, Bulb bills itself as a low-cost energy supplier that still provides excellent service.
If your business has frequent periods of time with lower or no energy use, once again be aware that there are fairly high standing charges, 27.40 pence per day for both electricity and gas, that you will need to pay regardless of the amount of energy you actually use.
As of now, Bulb Energy is not able to supply sole trader businesses. Their website claims that in the future they’ll ‘be able to welcome businesses of all shapes and sizes into the Bulb family.’
What about exit fees?
Have you been burned by exit fees in the past? Did they make you feel trapped with a Big Six supplier or another lackluster energy provider? If the idea of paying an exit fee gives you hives, you can contract with Bulb Energy without fear.
With both their domestic and business tariffs, Bulb Energy has no exit fees for its tariffs. That means that at any point if you’re unhappy with your service, or just think you may get a better deal somewhere else, you’re free to make the switch.
Bulb Energy prices 2019
Now that we’ve examined the different versions of Bulb Energy’s Vari-Fair tariff, let’s take a look at the supplier’s prices.
Keep in mind that energy prices in the UK vary by region, meaning a household supplied by Bulb in Aberdeen won’t necessarily pay the same per month as a household in Samsee, even if they use the exact same amount of electricity and gas. This is because energy wholesale costs also vary by region.
To get an idea of Bulb Energy’s prices, below we’ve recorded the unit rate and standing charge for both gas and electricity of a household in London with Bulb’s Vari-Fair (non-prepay, non-business) tariff. We’ve also calculated how much a three bedroom flat in London would have to pay per month based on average energy use nationwide.
|Utility||Unit rate per kWh||Standing charge per kWh|
|Average annual spend: £993.71|
all prices include VAT at 5%
Compared to price cap
Looking at the average annual bill, we’ve calculated that the average three bedroom flat in London would save about £260 per year, or £22 per month. Bulb Energy may not be the cheapest tariff available, but that’s still a significant amount of savings.
Wondering why we’re comparing their prices to Ofgem’s price cap? A strong majority of households in the UK are still supplied by one of the Big Six suppliers, who virtually all have prices equal to or approaching the price ceiling. Because so many UK households are paying the maximum unit price allowed under the law, we can use the number as a threshold to compare prices and get a better idea of which tariffs provide real value for money.
Selectra score - prices
Our Selectra Scores evaluate energy suppliers’ prices compared to the market. So how does Bulb fare when it comes to price? As we noted above, switching to Bulb from most Big Six variable tariffs would safe the average flat in London about £260 annually.
While many tariffs would save you much less (and a few older ones could be even more expensive), there are also some that could save you even more. Some of the very best deals could net you more than £400 in savings per year!
Looking at these numbers and comparing their prices to other energy suppliers, we’re giving Bulb Energy a respectable, 3/5 stars.
Bulb Energy: prices - ★★★
Is Bulb Energy’s tariff the best for you?
Bulb Energy’s Vari-Fair tariff scores fairly well when it comes to price, but there are cheaper options on the market. So should you switch to Bulb? That depends, while there may be better savings to be had, Bulb Energy also scores very highly for customer service which means their value for money is actually very high!
Whether Bulb is worth the switch or not depends on how much you value savings vs other benefits such as clear communication, friendly service and the simplicity of only having one tariff option.
Want to get more info before you make the decision to switch? Check out our full Bulb Energy profile.