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Updates from Team Bulb

Another update on how we're doing during coronavirus

An illustration of Team Bulb working from home

This is the third of my updates about how Bulb is dealing with the impact of coronavirus.

I want to share more about the work we’ve been doing to support our members, some tough decisions we’re taking as a business, and share some good news that we’ve become the sixth biggest dual fuel energy supplier in the UK.

As an energy company, we provide an essential service and we’ve continued to focus on doing that well for our members. And looking further ahead, we’re doing all we can to prepare Bulb for the future.

Developing products and services that help our members today

Coronavirus hasn’t changed our priorities but it has changed what’s immediately doable. We can’t, for instance, install smart meters at the moment. So we’ve reorganised our teams to make sure we’re delivering products and services which improve things for our members right now.

In the past few weeks, for example, we’ve created:

  • A dedicated, free phone line for members over 70

  • A new chat platform in Bulb account and Bulb app, allowing members to get answers in less than 3 minutes

  • New, streamlined ways for members to tell us about and discuss any financial hardships they’re experiencing

  • Energy consumption charts in the Bulb app for electricity and gas members with a SMETS2 smart meter - so people can more easily understand their energy use

  • An easy way for our prepay members to receive top up cards, even if they’re self-isolating

We’ve accelerated the pace on these things because they’re the right things to do. But also because I believe that delivering for our members is what keeps the team excited, motivated and determined.

Preparing Bulb for the future

While we’re already experiencing significant changes to the way we operate our business as a result of coronavirus, we’re also mindful of the potential long-term implications on the global economy. We are fortunate that Bulb is in a strong financial position, but in tough times, responsible businesses must think through the risks and take stock of their costs. Together with the team we’ve been conducting a review of our spending to make sure we have everything in place for the economic environment that we’re likely to face. We’ve seen in the past that companies who prepare thoughtfully and act fast are best equipped to protect their business, their customers and their teams.

While we carry out this review, we’re taking some tough, precautionary decisions now. This includes stopping spending on TV advertising and other media. We’re also pausing cash bonuses for our team, though we’re continuing to offer bonuses in share options for those who’d like to take them. I’m taking a 100% pay cut and our senior leaders volunteered to take a 15% pay cut in exchange for share options during this time too.

These were not easy decisions to make, but we want to do what’s responsible. We’re not currently eligible for any of the existing Government support schemes to help businesses through the coronavirus crisis, and we don’t have any plans to furlough staff or compromise the service we provide to our members. Our members and our team remain our focus and we’ll do all we can to make the right decisions now in order to stay true to our mission for the long term.

Bulb becomes sixth biggest energy company in the UK for dual fuel

And this week, we came closer to achieving our mission of helping more people lower their bills and lower their carbon emissions. So I hope you’ll forgive me a little moment of pride (and a chart).

Cornwall Insight monitors the energy industry and they have a regular feature called Chart of the Week. This week it revealed a big moment for Bulb. According to their Domestic Market Share Survey we now have more customers using both electricity and gas than npower, one of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies.

A chart showing Bulb has become the fifth biggest energy company in the UK for dual-fuel customers
A chart shared by Cornwall Insight this week shows Bulb is now the sixth biggest energy company in the UK for dual-fuel customers

When we started Bulb in 2015, we wanted to build a different sort of energy company. Seeing so many make the switch for cheaper, greener energy just goes to show that change is possible and that new, better ways of doing things can be found. We’re grateful to every member who has joined us along the way.