3 years on...
The app is free and available on iOS and Android.
Rated 4.8 out of 5
File size: 61.8mb
Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
iOS version is reviewed below
Rated 4.7 out of 5
File size: Varies with device
Compatible with Android devices
Android version is not reviewed here
When the app was first available a couple of years ago, it was a bit slow and unreliable but it has been continuously updated to now be a lightweight and streamlined affair that's very easy to use. You can tell that the app developers are working hard to optimise it and provide quick bug fixes by the sheer amount of updates the app receives. Every week or two there seems to be an update (accompanied by amusing release notes that are worth a read).
It can sometimes still feel a bit slow to show your data but I think this is more to do with your internet connection speed. Obviously, if you're not online at all then your data cannot be shown in the app.
You will need to login to the app when you first open it. It will ask for your email address and password that you have set earlier or you can request a link to be sent to you. This will give you access to your account and you only have to sign in once unless you actively log out.
Once signed in, the home screen presents you with the information and links you are probably most interested in. Namely, your Bulb balance, a link to your statements and buttons so you can give a meter reading.
Click on a "Submit a meter reading" button or "Readings" from the bottom menu and you are taken to a screen that shows all your previous readings and whether they were estimated or submitted by you.
When it comes to actually submitting a meter reading, it couldn't be simpler. Click "Electricity" or "Gas" and choose whether to take a photo and let the app enter in the numbers automatically (clever!) or enter in the numbers yourself. I've only ever done the latter and it is as easy as pie.
What makes it easier is the handy "Torch switch" which toggles on your phone's torch so you can see the tiny numbers in the dark cupboard under the stairs.
If you're on a normal credit meter then you will likely be paying a fixed, regular amount every month. When you first join Bulb, they calculate this amount based on your usage with your previous supplier, your Bulb tariff, and the amount Bulb think you will use. Hopefully, this should be a nice average which allows to you build a credit balance during the summer months when you usage is typically lower to use in the winter months when it is usually higher.
That's the ideal but you may have found that this doesn't always work out and the monthly payment can change when you switch to a new provider. Hopefully, you will save with Bulb which means your monthly payment should be lower if you are using the same amount of energy. Even so, you should always keep an eye on usage and payments to make sure you're not going to rack up huge debit (or credit) balance.
The payments section of the app lets you see your current monthly payments and lets you know if you're on the right track. My family are using more energy this winter as we have a new baby and we're home more. The app here has suggested that I should increase my monthly payments to £103 to stay on top of things. The app makes it very easy to do and more importantly - I don't have get on the phone to customer services to make the change. I can even change the date the payment is taken which is also handy. However, you can't do a one-off payment to top-up your account - you have to go to their website for that.
The app also lets you keep track of any referrals you have made. Here you can see your unique referral link that you can share with other people. If they sign up to Bulb using your referral link then you should see their name and when the switch is expected to complete. Find out more about Bulb's referral scheme here.
Just as you would expect, the "Account" section lets you see your basic information, adjust "Get meter reading notifications" settings, log out of the app or get help from the 'Help Centre' or 'Online Chat' (see below). As yet, you are unable to change your basic details in the app or even check your current tariff amount.
From the 'Account' screen, you can access 'Chat with us' which opens up a chat dialogue box. Here you can chat with a Bulb 'Energy Specialist' (not just a chatbot) and they're usually able to quickly answer any questions you might have. At the time of this review, the waiting time was 'a few minutes' but I have previously used the chat function on a single occasion and the response was almost instant.
The service is great in my opinion but I would like to see longer opening hours for the customer service team overall - especially Saturday and Sunday hours would be very helpful.
However, it's not all plain-sailing for the Bulb app. There are things you can't do with the app that are available in some other energy companies apps:
Overall, I think Bulb app is great with a little room for improvement. I'm sure some of the negatives will be addressed in future updates but for now - here is my for and against...
Very simple and easy to use
Makes submitting meter readings very easy
Easy to keep on top of payments
'Chat' feature is excellent
Track 'refer a friend' referrals
Sometimes slow to show data
'Chat' is only in office hours
Cannot top-up account with one-off payments via the app
I think Bulb is a great renewable energy company. One of the good guys in the market with 5-star customer service. If you sign up using my link, we both get £50. Get a quote first and see if Bulb is right for you.