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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 fast and simple, 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 first quarter of 2019 (January - March) and comparing it to previous quarters.

We're meeting the standards

We’re meeting all of the Energy Switch Guarantee standards for the second quarter in a row. This is great news, but there’s always room for improvement. We’ve taken action to improve our performance in areas where we can do better.

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

Making sense of the data

Switching to Bulb

We’re growing quickly. In 2018, we were the UK’s fastest growing private company. That’s a lot of people choosing renewable energy to power their homes. We want to get them on board as quickly as possible and generally, we do.

For 99% of switches, you’ll be supplied by Bulb within three weeks of signing up with us. On average, a switch is completed within 21.13 days.

In the last quarter, the main reason for a delayed switch was a technical issue which prevented the correct registration of some gas meters. We’ve put checks in place to identify issues like this quicker, keeping delays to a minimum.

Leaving Bulb

Our service promise stretches from the day our members sign up until the day the final bill is issued and all outstanding credit is returned.

On average, it took us 23 days to send final bills to our members in the last quarter. This means the vast majority of members leaving Bulb have financial clarity in just over three weeks.

The percentage of final bills issued within six weeks has decreased slightly in comparison to last quarter. The main reason for a delay here is when we don’t receive the final meter readings from a leaving member’s new supplier. We’re expecting the number of on-time statements to go up again as we put in place a better, more robust way of reaching a final meter reading when someone leaves Bulb. We’ll be using previous meter readings to do this so we don’t need to rely on the new supplier sending the final reading on time.

Once the final bill is sent, we’re refunding outstanding credit as quickly as possible. More than 97% of our members receive a refund within two weeks of getting their final bill from Bulb. On average, it takes us just five days to get money back into a member’s bank account.

What's next?

We’re happy Bulb met all standards for the second quarter in a row. But there’s still room for improvement. Increasing the number of final bills issued on time will be our main focus during the next quarter, while keeping on track with switches and credit refunds.

Ofgem are introducing new standards, but we’ll remain part of the Energy Switch Guarantee

As we mentioned in our last post, the energy regulator, Ofgem, is making these standards mandatory for all energy suppliers with the newly introduced Guaranteed Standards of Performance.

The Guaranteed Standards of Performance make sure energy consumers are compensated when:

  • They don’t receive a final bill within six weeks after switching suppliers

  • Any outstanding credit is not refunded within two weeks of sending the final bill

  • An erroneous transfer (where someone is switched by mistake) is not sorted out in a given timeframe

We think this is a great development. Making these standards mandatory, rather than a voluntary set of promises, will help to hold suppliers accountable. This is becoming more important as a growing number of suppliers are choosing to drop out of the Energy Switch Guarantee. Holding suppliers to account will make switching easier, while rebuilding trust across the industry.

But the new Guaranteed Standards of Performance aren’t perfect. Unlike the Energy Switch Guarantee, which publishes the full results of each supplier, the new standards won’t report on performance. As we’ve said before, providing detailed information makes it easier for people to choose the right supplier. This is why we hope to see more energy suppliers join the Energy Switch Guarantee and disclose details of their performance, despite the new standards from Ofgem. Together, we think these things make the energy industry more transparent and fair for consumers.

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.