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Updates from Team Bulb

The Energy Switch Guarantee: how we're shaping up

An illustration to represent the Energy Switch Guarantee

An update on the Energy Switch Guarantee and the work we've been doing at Bulb this quarter.

We hold ourselves to high standards at Bulb. One of the ways we do that is through the Energy Switch Guarantee (ESG). Signing up to the Guarantee is voluntary, but every company that joins makes a promise that switches will be on time and hassle-free.

Last quarter, we committed to publishing our results – good and bad. So far we’re the only energy supplier to do this.

Our results over the last year

Over the last year, we’ve increased our member numbers more than any other energy supplier since 2006. That’s a lot of switches! The majority of those switches have gone well. However there were a small, but important, number that did not go to plan. We estimate that 0.1% of our switches had an experience that didn’t quite meet the standards of Energy Switch Guarantee.

Our latest results

As of October, we’re happy to say that we’re meeting the ESG standards. This has taken a lot of work in a short period of time.

These are our results:

A table showing Bulb's performance in the Energy Switch Guarantee in 2018

We’re really proud of this result. Making it happen has meant implementing the plan we designed last quarter and assigning a dedicated person to work on these tasks.

How we’ve improved over the last two quarters (June-September)

A table showing Bulb's performance in the Energy Switch Guarantee in the second half of 2018

We’ve continued to do well on switches completed within 21 days. Given the high number of switches, that’s no mean feat. Our system improvements have also meant that we’re issuing a high percentage of final bills within 6 weeks.

Credit refunds are where we’ve fallen down. This standard requirement states that we must refund any credit in members’ accounts within two weeks. A very important requirement. We think that our poor performance here has been driven by a backlog of people who didn’t receive their refunds in earlier quarters. We failed to refund credit on time to 755 customers. This was 24% of people who were in credit when they left Bulb.  

Impact of missing the standard

We signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee to hold ourselves accountable. Missing these standards isn’t good enough. While we think the number of people impacted by this is limited, we’ve taken action to make sure we can meet the standards in the future.

One of the Bulb values is, and always has been, ‘make it better’. We’re applying that here to ensure that all switches (both to us and away from us) go smoothly.

Because of poor performance over the last year, we recently went through the ESG’s compliance process.

We met with the ESG Chair and senior representatives from Energy UK and Citizens Advice to discuss our performance.

The committee found that we had been in breach and agreed that we should be given a deferred suspension. This means that we remain part of the Energy Switch Guarantee, but if we fail to meet any of the KPIs over the next year, we’ll be suspended.

We think that’s a fair outcome and look forward to meeting those standards. As we said last quarter, we’re pleased to be a part of the Energy Switch Guarantee. It helps us improve and keep our members informed. We think other suppliers should also share their data: a more informed consumer is a happier consumer.

Making the energy industry more transparent together

The Energy Switch Guarantee was drawn up by the energy industry’s trade association, Energy UK, with input from the Department of Energy & Climate Change, regulator Ofgem and Citizens Advice. We were an early supporter and joined in August 2016. In particular, we’ve been supportive of making the Guarantee results transparent. We're committed to transparency at Bulb because we firmly believe that it’s good business practice. An informed consumer is a happier consumer! We hope that other energy suppliers will follow suit.

Do you have any thoughts on the Guarantee, or any bright ideas on how we can improve? Let us know in the Bulb Community.