Lowering bills, cutting carbon
31 Oct 2022
Octopus Energy has agreed a deal to buy failed energy supplier Bulb. The government-backed acquisition will see Bulb’s 1.5 million customers transfer to Octopus. If you’re a Bulb customer, you may be wondering what this means for you.
Bulb customers don’t need to do anything. All Bulb customers will automatically be transferred to an Octopus Energy account. Your direct debit and credit balance will transfer. The process of transferring credit is strictly regulated, but if you want an extra safety net, there’s no harm in downloading your most recent statements so you have a record once your Bulb online account is closed down
The price you pay for electricity won’t change, either. The October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee means that even if you are on a variable tariff, you won’t pay more than the limit set by the Guarantee.
Customers of Bulb will join roughly two million existing Octopus customers, making Octopus Energy one of the largest energy suppliers in the UK (British Gas remains the biggest, with nine million customers).
Bulb collapsed in November 2021, with the company blaming the government’s price cap for forcing them to sell energy at a loss. Normally when a supplier goes bust, a process called ‘Supplier of Last Resort’ (SOLR) kicks in, and customers are transferred over to a new supplier within a couple of months. However, because Bulb had so many customers, it was hard to find another supplier willing to take them on, so a temporary government ‘administrator’ was brought in to run the company, (costing taxpayers up to £4bn).
Bulb customers will remain protected by the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee when transferred over to Octopus, so the amount you’re paying for your energy won’t change*. Octopus have one of the best customer service records in the industry and 100% of the electricity they sell is matched by power from green sources, so there’s no great reason to want to switch. But, if you do want to go elsewhere, wait until the transfer has completed before you action any application AND make sure you’re not signing up to an eye watering fixed rate that is much more expensive than the energy price guarantee.
Despite the worst of the supplier failures of winter 2021 having passed, suppliers are still under immense financial pressure. If your supplier does go bust, you don’t need to worry. You can take a look at our guide to your supplier going bust here.
* The exception to this may be Economy 7 customers, because energy suppliers are free to interpret the Energy Price Guarantee differently for Economy 7. You can read more about this in our blog piece, here.