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Updates from Team Bulb

The Energy Switch Guarantee: how we’re doing

A woman with a curved blue arrow going left and a curved green arrow going right in front of her.

Our quarterly update on how we’re making sure switches are faster and simpler and how we’re meeting the standards of the Energy Switch Guarantee.

The Energy Switch Guarantee is a voluntary set of promises made by energy suppliers to their members. We signed up to the guarantee in August 2016. As part of our promise, we committed to reporting back to our members on how we’re performing. We started publishing our results in full last year, and we were the first energy supplier to do that.

In this post we’re sharing the data from the final quarter of 2018 (October - December) and comparing it to previous quarters.

Making sense of the data

We are happy to say we’re meeting the Energy Switch Guarantee Standards and very proud to see significant improvements in our performance over the last few months.

A chart illustrating Bulb's switching data for the last 3 quarters

Switching to Bulb

The last year has been very exciting for us at Bulb. Our membership more than doubled, making us the biggest green supplier in the UK. That’s a lot of people switching to us. We’re trying to make switching as easy as possible and generally, we succeed.

We’re doing well on completing switches to Bulb within 21 days. This means that unless there’s a valid reason for a delay – like the previous supplier objecting to the switch – we’re taking over our member’s supply within 3 weeks.

Leaving Bulb

Even though we don’t like to see our members leave, we’re ensuring switches away from Bulb go smoothly too. One way of doing this is by making sure that members who leave us get their final bill quickly, and get any credit refunded from us into their account.

We continue to issue a high percentage of final bills within 6 weeks of the switch date. On average, it takes us 21 days to send the final bill. That’s 50% faster than the standard 6 weeks. While this is great news, we think we can do better. We’re working on reducing the time it takes for Bulb members to receive their final bill even more.

One area where we’ve made great improvements is refunding our members. Almost 98% of members that leave Bulb with credit in their account will receive a refund within 2 weeks of receiving their final bill. This is a 20% improvement compared to the last quarter.

What happens next?

Meeting the standards set by the Energy Switch Guarantee will become even more important in 2019. The energy regulator, Ofgem, is introducing new rules making the standards for final bills and credit refund mandatory for every energy supplier. This means that from April 2019 onwards, any Bulb member (or indeed, any energy consumer) who hasn’t received their final bill or refund on time will be credited with £30.

These rules are part of the Supplier Guaranteed Standards of Performance on Switching. We’re already holding ourselves accountable because we believe in treating our members fairly. We believe other suppliers should this too. Together this will help to rebuild trust across the energy industry and make switching suppliers easier.

We’re happy to be on track with switching and issuing final bills while continuing to make big improvements to our refund process. However, we still see room for improvement.

We’ve developed a process that will significantly reduce the amount of manual work required to refund our members. This will make credit refunds quicker and more reliable, ensuring our members receive their money as soon as possible.

Making the energy industry more transparent together

The Energy Switch Guarantee (ESG) 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. It’s a voluntary set of promises for suppliers who want to provide a reliable, hassle-free switch for new members.

We were an early supporter and joined in August 2016. In particular, we’ve been supportive of making the Guarantee results transparent. We started publishing our results in full last year, and we were the first energy supplier to do that. We’re happy to say that we’ve started a trend. The Energy Switch Guarantee now publishes the full results of each supplier. Although so far we’ve not seen other suppliers go into the details of just how things are working for them.

Meeting the standards of the Energy Switch Guarantee is hard work. Other suppliers have dropped out of the programme or didn’t commit because they were worried about not being able to keep up. We failed to meet all of the standards during previous months, but we’re happy to say we’re on track now.

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