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Bulb’s renewable energy startup is out of beta – and could save you hundreds of pounds

Bulb might well be the first energy supplier ever to ‘come out of beta’.

It’s a phrase more at home in the startup world than the energy industry – but it’s certainly one that fits with this young and innovative brand.

Bulb started supplying energy to companies like London-based co-working space Second Home and luxury holiday brand onefinestay last year.

Now it’s ready to go live to the public with a “choice they haven’t had before,” as co-founder Hayden Wood puts it.

That’s “cheap energy, great service and 100% renewables” all provided by a lean, living wage company.

Bulb is able to offer what sounds like a frankly too-good-to-be-true offer by using tech to automate as much of the process as possible in order to cut operating costs.

Many large companies, for example, outsource their energy trading to third-party suppliers who forecast their demand and then buy from the grid.

Using the expertise of former energy trader and co-founder Amit Gudka, and a bit of tech know-how, Bulb doesn’t.

Like mobile phone carrier Giffgaff, the company also has a growing community of “members” who use Bulb’s forum to help each other out with energy questions.

This reduces the need to have lots of customer service staff on hand, all while making the experience feel much more engaging.

Bulb says it can reduce anyone’s energy bill by up to £300 because it’s passing these efficiencies onto its members.

The company currently has exclusive deals with three UK-based hydroelectric plants. It’s also started offering renewable gas thanks to a deal with a pig farm that turns the waste into bio methane.

It actually costs hundreds of thousands of pounds – and half a year’s work – to become a licensed energy supplier in the UK. But thanks to early angel investors, the startup dream in action, Bulb has already leaped that hurdle.

It takes seconds to check if you could save money simply by entering your postcode on Bulb’s very swish mobile site. The company uses energy data to check what the average is for your area – I could save £243, the tool finds.

If you opt to switch, which very few people have done historically, the company says it takes just three minutes to gather your details, including a meter reading from you. Bulb then handles the move with your current supplier.

Bulb is battling inertia around people’s willingness to make that switch, as well as cynicism about whether green energy can really be cheaper, or is even necessary.

It’s also awaiting smart meter roll out across the UK, and those all-important renewable batteries to finally arrive, for it to truly be the option for every home.

But it’s already made a good start by building-in efficiencies from the outset that enable it to charge low prices – and creating a rather cool brand that’s really flown with trendy companies and individuals across the UK.

“Renewables have historically been a premium product,” Gudka says. “If they were fairly priced, that would create real consumer demand.

“We just want to show that renewable energy can be affordable so it becomes a mainstream option.”