100,000 Members: looking back
Both Amit and I used to work in the old energy industry. We didn’t like what we saw: an energy industry that was too complex, too expensive and too dirty. We decided to do something about it. And for the past two years, we and our team have been building a better energy company. A company making energy simpler, cheaper and greener. And we’ve been moving quickly - this month we reached 100,000 members. We want to share the story with you. Get to know us better in our first Behind the scenes at Bulb post.
100,000 climate change heroes
Working in the old energy industry, it was clear to us that people were confused and frustrated with their suppliers. They were ready for an energy company they could feel good about. The growth we’ve experienced over the past two years shows we weren’t wrong. In the past year alone, our member base has grown by almost 4000%.
And as of this month, Bulb has over 100,000 members.
This growth is exciting. It’s good to move quickly. But, more importantly, we’re on a mission to make green energy a mass movement. It’s why we committed right at the beginning to provide green energy at affordable prices. Truly affordable prices. A mass movement can have a big impact. And, with 100,000 members on board, we're making a significant one.
Every year, the average Bulb member saves 1.9 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. That’s equivalent to taking 1.3 cars off the road!
Together, Bulb members take 130,000 cars off the road every year. They’re climate change heroes! And, at this rate, we're on track to get rid of many more.
Leaving the Big Six behind
We thought people were ready for something better when it came to their energy provision. But we’re asking a lot when we ask people to switch away from well-established, legacy suppliers like British Gas or EDF. We’ve been pleased to see customers switch to Bulb from old energy companies every day. In fact, 76% of switches to Bulb have come from 'Big Six' suppliers.
Over 23,000 members switched from British Gas alone!
We welcome these customers with open arms. And it seems the feeling is often mutual, as expressed by one member:
You can read James’ full review here.
And when it comes to total switches in the market, we've seen our share steadily climb. In recent weeks, we reached a 6% market share of all switches.
Not bad when there's over 50 suppliers out there. And some people still think you’re a company shifting light bulbs.
Winning trust in a broken market
When you’re a new supplier, gaining trust is hard. Particularly in an industry where trust is a rare commodity. But, we worked hard to earn that trust from our members. We put serving them at the heart of our business. We hired a brilliant team of expert energy specialists. We kept them UK based. And we kept answering calls to customers within 10 seconds, just as we promised to do.
Within a few months of starting, we developed a really high trust score on Trustpilot, the independent online review site. It earned us 5 star status.
We now have over 2,200 reviews on the platform. We’re the highest scored energy company on there.
Pricing and principles
There are over 100 tariffs in the energy market that you can switch to right now. No wonder people feel confused and ripped-off. No one has time to evaluate 100 tariffs! As David Mitchell puts it, shopping around for a good energy deal is not “a relaxed perusal of intriguing stalls in an antiques market.” To keep things simple, we decided to offer one, single tariff. And to keep it fair, it’s a variable tariff that reflects the true cost of energy. When wholesale costs move, so does our tariff.
When it came to pricing, we decided we had a few house rules. We made a commitment to quickly pass savings on to our members. And, we stuck to our word. We’ve lowered our tariff 7 times since Bulb was born. This year, we’ve lowered it twice. Even while other suppliers have increased theirs.
But if energy costs can fall, they can also rise. Changes in the wholesale energy market did force us to raise our prices in November 2016. We never want our members to be in the dark, so we explained what was going on in a blog post. And we wrote up our pricing principles on the Bulb Community so our members can hold us to account.
We know the future of energy is digital. We continually invest in technology at Bulb. We want to create the best digital experience for our members. And that starts with switching. It takes under 2 minutes to sign up to Bulb through our website. All of the heavy lifting - identifying your gas and electricity meters, getting in touch with your old supplier, setting up your account - is done by Bulb. And in most cases our technology (rather than our people) take care of the lot.
We created a web portal for our members - MyBulb - which allows members to simply manage their energy. Calling up your energy provider to give them a meter reading is no one's idea of fun, especially if they take a year to answer the phone. Our members just log on to MyBulb - they can submit readings there. And when you make things simple, you find people are pretty good at managing things for themselves. Every week, a quarter of our members use the portal to manage their energy. Happy members, happy team.
We’ve made steps recently to make it even easier for our members. We launched an app!
The app makes it even easier for our members to manage their energy. You can submit meter readings through the app, just by snapping a photo of your meter. Your statements and energy consumption are stored in the app too. And, while you’re in there, you can refer your friends to Bulb.
We’ve published our development roadmap for the app. You can see it here. We’re inviting our members to vote for the features they'd like to see in the app. My vote goes to visualising impact. I’d love to picture my individual carbon savings and those of the whole Bulb community - all 100,000 of them!
We're so excited to reach 100,000 members. We're more motivated than ever to keep making energy simpler, cheaper and greener. Stay tuned for the next Behind the Scenes at Bulb post to find out what we do to get further along the way.