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Bulb enters special administration - what does this mean for you?

Bulb has announced that it supports being placed into special administration. This is the first time Ofgem's special measure has been used to support an energy supplier. But what does it mean for customers?
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What should you do?

Special administration is designed to allow the supplier to operate as normal until the situation has been resolved, so it's important that customers stay put until then. There will be no change to your supply and your credit balance will be protected.

You can find out more about how you are protected in the event of an energy supplier collapse here.

Bulb has stated that:

  • Your tariffs are not changing

  • Energy payments via top up will continue to work as normal

  • If you’re in the process of switching to or from Bulb, your switch will continue

  • Smart meter installations and other metering work will also continue.

Should you switch your deal?

Although you can technically switch your deal, most affordable deals have been taken off the market. In the event that you’re transferred to a new supplier, you’ll probably be put on its standard variable tariff which is capped at £1,277 until 1 April 2022. This is probably the most affordable plan for you at this time as, again, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to save by switching.

What happens to your credit balance?

If you have a positive balance outstanding on your Bulb account, don’t worry - that will be secure. It’s probably best to leave the money on your account to help pay future bills rather than asking for a refund, though.

If you're a Bulb customer, Uswitch can let you know when there's more news to share, along with tips, insight and any suitable deals that come onto the market that you may be able to switch to. Simply sign up with your email address below.

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Why has Bulb gone into special administration? Why not use SoLR?

The difference between Bulb and the other suppliers exiting the market recently is down to the number of customers Bulb has relative to those other suppliers. It has approximately 1.7 million customers across the UK (6% of the overall market) - this is around three times more than Avro, which was previously the largest supplier to go bust with 580,000 customers. 

This means that other suppliers cannot easily take on all of Bulb’s customers alongside their current customers, as usually happens under SoLR.

What happens now?

A situation like this is unprecedented in the energy market. However, Ofgem has specified that a supplier whose customers cannot be transferred under SoLR will enter special administration, where Ofgem works with the company to find a solution that resolves the situation while also protecting customers. This is where things get slightly more complicated.

What are the possible outcomes for a supplier in special administration?

When a supplier is too big to go through the SoLR process, a special administrator is appointed to run it until it is either:

  • rescued (e.g. through a restructuring or significant investment)

  • sold

  • has its customers transferred to other (potentially multiple) suppliers.

This ensures that the market remains stable and protects customers. The Secretary of State may also approve grants and loans to Bulb, and may provide guarantees for any sum borrowed while it’s in administration.

However, it’s difficult to predict which action might be taken, so customers are advised to keep checking and look out for information from Ofgem and Bulb. The company's website states that "The process to appoint special administrators is not yet complete but we expect them to be appointed shortly."