Bulb vs Octopus: Which is Cheaper?
Choosing between Bulb or Octopus as your new energy supplier and you want to know which one is better in terms of price, customer service and what are their green credentials. Both are marketed similarly as the bright young things of the energy market promising to shake up the way we buy our gas and electricity.
Both suppliers are similar in size with Bulb having a larger 5% share of the market where Octopus has a 4% market share. In terms of the range of tariffs Bulb only has one which is their Vari-fair variable tariff. In comparison Octopus offers 3 main tariffs, 'Octopus Fixed' a 12 month fix, 'Flexible Octopus' their standard flexible tariff and 'Super Green Octopus' which is the same as their standard 12 month fixed deal but with 100% offset gas.
According to the Energy Policy Research Group about three quarters (73%) of people switch energy to reduce their gas and electricity bill. The overwhelming reason to move to another utility company is to save money.
|100% Green Cost||£81.12/month||£82.61/month|
|Range of tariffs||1 Tariff||6 Tariffs|
|Electricity||100% Renewable||100% Renewable|
|Gas||100% offset (4% green gas)||100% offset|
Bulb vs Octopus based on the cheapest quote
With that in mind if you do a straight Bulb vs Octopus Energy comparison just based on price then Octopus comes out the winner. For the average UK household switching to Bulb's Vari-fair tariff it would cost £81.12 a month (£973.44/year) compared to the current cheapest Octopus tariff, Octopus 12 Month Fixed costing £80.09 a month (£961.08/year).
Octopus Energy has a lower price at £80.09 a month for the average UK household if you do a straight comparison between the two suppliers.
Bulb vs Octopus based on a like for like quote
If you are basing your quote purely on price and you are just looking for the cheapest deal and don't mind who you switch to as long as they are reputable them take a look at our easy to use list comparing energy suppliers by price and rating to find a cheaper deal.
Super Green Octopus vs Bulb Vari Fair
In terms of the product you are getting then the closest comparison would be to compare the to tariffs offered by the rivals based. They do not offer exactly the same tariff but the closest is the 1 year fixed Super Green Octopus compared to Bulb's tariff.
Both offer 100% renewable electricity and both offer 100% offset gas, that's the next best thing green gas. The only difference is that Bulb includes 4% green biogas (April 2019-March 2020) in its energy mix which is the better deal in terms of 'greenness'. The previous year they did manage to reach 10% green gas mostly from purpose grown crops that were then put through a bio-digester to produce methane. Octopus is slightly better in terms of the tariff itself as their prices are fixed for 12 months and the have no exit fees so it acts just like a variable rate tariff but with the potential price increases (or decreases).
Bulb has the cheapest deal of the two suppliers if you want the greenest deal which costs £81.12 a month for the average UK home.
So if you went with Super Green Octopus it would cost you £82.61 a month (£991.32/year) compared to Vari-Fair which costs £81.12 a month (£973.44/year).
Remember these price comparisons are based on the average UK household, typically a 3 bed semi using 3,100 kWh of electric and 12,000 kWh of gas per year so your quote may be higher or lower depending on whether you use more or less than the UK average.
As both deals are so close in what they offer and the cost you can't really pick a clear winner, however at a push the tariff from bulb is slightly better with 4% biogas and a slightly cheaper price.
Saying that the difference in cost is minimal although before you switch make sure you do a comparison as Bulbs tariff is variable an can can change and although a fixed energy tariff will not change price once your on it, you will find that fixed rate deals are replaced with more expensive fixed rate deals over time. So Octopus's 1 year fix may not be available at the same price in the future.
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Bulb vs Octopus on customer service
Not being able to get through to your energy company can be frustrating and energy providers have been notorious for poor customer service. The UK's largest energy supplier British Gas leads the way in terms of customer dissatisfaction with a Trustpilot rating of 3.5/5 with 24% rating them as bad.
Compare this to Octopus Energy which has a rating of 4.8/5 with a 3% rating as bad and Bulb with a 4.7/5 rating and a 4% bad rating. You can clearly see that both companies handle customer service well in comparison to British Gas. To get a wider comparison take a look at the table below.
|Supplier||Rating||% Bad Rating|
|Green Energy UK||4.5/5||5%|
If you are switching from one of the Big 6 suppliers then you are likely to experience a much better service if you switch to either Bulb or Octopus. Both have a very similar customer feedback profile on Trustpilot, both have a high positive score and minimal levels of bad feedback.
Octopus Energy does make a big thing about its level of support it offers customers and has one awards for this. They averaged at 2 minutes and 4 seconds in answering the phone in Which's 2020 undercover investigation compared to Bulb's 9 minutes 56 seconds to answer on average.
Octopus Energy wins by a tiny margin if you are looking for the best when it comes to customer service.
You can get in contact with them Monday to Friday on their free phone number 0808 164 1088 or contact them online via their email (firstname.lastname@example.org) 7 days a week or via their social media.
Contact details for Bulb are not as easy to find and they encourage you to read through their online help first. You can call them Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on 0300 30 30 635 or email them through their onsite contact form. Online chat is only available during business hours but they claim to respond within 3 minutes,
Octopus won the Uswitch customer award for 2020 where they survey thousands of customers and ask them to rate their utility providers. Octopus came first with 92% and Bulb came a close second with 91%.
Uswitch run this award every year and Octopus also won in 2018 where Bulb again was second. Ovo Energy have also won the Uswitch award in recent years on two occasions.
Both suppliers are very close in terms of the level of customer support and positive customer feedback so there is no significant difference between them in this area.
They are both good energy suppliers but if you had to pick with regards to happy customers then Octopus wins by the smallest margin.
Alternatives to Bulb and Octopus
If you are looking for a comparison with a large energy supplier then take a look our OVO vs Octopus comparison to see how Octopus performs against the UK second largest energy supplier and take a look at our comparison of Octopus Energy vs SSE.
Whilst both providers are quite obviously great alternatives to the Big 6 in terms of price (their cheaper), customer service (the answer the phones and resolve issues) and offer renewable energy as standard they were set up as competitors for the larger UK energy companies.
There are other utility companies that also offer an excellent level of service, green energy as standard but more importantly cost less. Green.energy is one such company that has offered some of the lowest priced green tariffs in the UK. In fact checking right now (15 December 2020) their Green Aspen tariff costs just £71.88 a month making it the cheapest, not just for renewable energy but for any tariff available right now.
The closest match that is currently on offer from Green is their variable rate Sycamore tariff which offers 100% renewable energy and carbon neutral gas for £73.48 a month (£881.81/year) which is £7 to £9 cheaper per month than Octopus and Bulb.
Prices change constantly and vary by region so you should always get a quote first based on your actual energy consumption figures before making a switch.