Bulb over estimating your usage on the app — Bulb Community

Bulb over estimating your usage on the app

Has anyone had the problem of bulb recording your usage as too high dispite providing regular meter readings?

Comments

  • Are you sending in your readings within the time frame when they send a reminder email, if not they will use estimates.
  • I have been sending the readings every month and they always get it wrong. They predictions are also completely off for the rest of the year and clearly not based at all on the readings. There are constantly also actual errors in amounts etc on the account and in their emails. I am finding it really frustrating as I have to check it all more often as don't trust that their system is working fine.
  • vmk said:

    I have been sending the readings every month and they always get it wrong. They predictions are also completely off for the rest of the year and clearly not based at all on the readings. There are constantly also actual errors in amounts etc on the account and in their emails. I am finding it really frustrating as I have to check it all more often as don't trust that their system is working fine.

    Sorry, should have added that I am not using the App, but cannot see this making any difference as always logged into my account.
  • edited May 19
    I agree with @vmk . When I go to my account dashboard for Payments and Statements the Monthly usage (at the top-right-hand-side) is definitely wrong!
    I have paid 3 bills so far, of which none have been above £65.
    I am in credit by over £200.
    and yet the Monthly Usage says I should be using £103.51 per month!
    And recommends that I should increase my payments to over £80 per month!
  • I agree with @vmk . When I go to my account dashboard for Payments and Statements the Monthly usage (at the top-right-hand-side) is definitely wrong!
    I have paid 3 bills so far, of which none have been above £65.
    I am in credit by over £200.
    and yet the Monthly Usage says I should be using £103.51 per month!
    And recommends that I should increase my payments to over £80 per month!

    The payment thing fluctuates, looking at it around 3 days before statement is when it's most accurate. You should probably be targeting to have a net balance of 150% of a winter month bill come September that way your payments will never change. Mine never have
  • I agree with the original message. On my online account my monthly usage is showing at £59. However, I've never had a bill above £49 and provide a monthly meter read 3 days before my bill is generated. I also have a credit balance of £170. I simply IGNORE the monthly usage figures as they OVER ESTIMATE and are forever changing! Wish Bulb could get it right!!
  • Hey @vmk

    The reason why we use estimates on your statements is although you provide regular readings, they are often submitted after your statements have been sent to you.

    Your bills are generated on the 1st of each month but I can see that you submit your meter readings either on or after that date.

    Our estimates do change when you submit readings but to make sure your statements are super accurate, you'll need to submit them a tad earlier. Two days before the 1st of each month is ideal. We send you an email reminder so there's no need to remember.

    @ky326vvb thanks for flagging this. We are also making changes to our estimation calculations that will make sure estimates are accurate :)

    You are in control of your payments in your Bulb account so if you think your monthly payment is a little too high, you can adjust it at any time.
  • Greetings,

    I have sent an email to Bulb this morning regarding this matter but I do feel compelled to add my two penn'uth to this thread.

    The way I read this thread is that the OP is complaining about the ACTUAL usage figures (or cost as it really is) being wrong NOT the estimates - as indeed is my case with regard to the email I've sent to Bulb today.

    It's good to read that Bulb is "also making changes to our estimation calculations that will make sure estimates are accurate" and I'm sure that will be welcomed by all, however it's the hard fact figures of energy used cost that seem to be estimated. They are certainly (in my case at least) inaccurate.

    I've been with Bulb now for 9 months. The Usage figures used to be correct (if memory serves me correctly) but since January 2019 they seem to be out by around +30%.

    All this doesn't really matter to me as I keep my own monthly figures, but some people may be confused by it and actually put up their Direct Debit unnecessarily - in my case Bulb recommend an increase of 26%.

    At least the actual accounts side of things (money paid, credits, debits etc.) seems accurate which is the most important thing.

    If I've got hold of the wrong end of the stick then I apologise and trust I've not overstepped the mark.

  • Charade said:

    The way I read this thread is that the OP is complaining about the ACTUAL usage figures (or cost as it really is) being wrong NOT the estimates - as indeed is my case with regard to the email I've sent to Bulb today.

    It's not clear exactly what the OP was asking, since they haven't come back to clarify.

    In terms of the later question from vmk to which Eleanor replied, it's quite clear that the problems were their own making. It's fairly obvious to anyone that if you submit your meter readings on the day the bill has just been produced, or worse later, then those readings can't be included on that bill. I'm not sure I comprehend the mindset of someone that expects a reading to be used after the bill has already been produced, and clearly after the deadline given in the reminder email.

  • I am about to say bye bye to Bulb. As they keep estimating my readings even though I have a smart meter! Its not a problem for the gas readings and it is on a single rate tariff. But the electricity is on the tree tier rate and this affects the final price as their estimates are always on the high side!
  • Greetings,

    I really can't see what is unclear about the OP's
    "Has anyone had the problem of bulb recording your usage as too high dispite providing regular meter readings?"

    Or indeed @vmk's "I have been sending the readings every month and they always get it wrong"

    The problem is not the future estimates but the ACTUAL historic usage figures. The estimates are obviously going to be wrong if the past figures are wrong. I send in my readings religiously 2 days before my bill date and Bulb always use those figures to produce the bill and the usage figures are STILL WRONG.

    I'm sure this is just a computer hiccup, and as I said in my previous post it doesn't really matter to me, but if some data that is meant to be informative is wrong then some people could be misled, possibly seriously.

    How many horror stories about "The Big Six" have we heard.

    @Hooloovoo Just out of curiosity, are your figures for JAN FEB MMA and APR 2019 correct in "My Usage"?
  • Charade said:

    The problem is not the future estimates but the ACTUAL historic usage figures. The estimates are obviously going to be wrong if the past figures are wrong. I send in my readings religiously 2 days before my bill date and Bulb always use those figures to produce the bill and the usage figures are STILL WRONG.

    What exactly do you mean by still wrong? If the meter readings you've provided are listed correctly on the bill as "actual", then where has it gone wrong? Could you give an example of where something is wrong, and what you expect the correct value to be?

    Perhaps you are experiencing this issue regarding the precision to which Bulb quote prices. Are your values wrong by a few pence, or larger amounts?
    Charade said:

    @Hooloovoo Just out of curiosity, are your figures for JAN FEB MMA and APR 2019 correct in "My Usage"?

    I have a SMETS1 meter being read half-hourly and billed on the SMART tariff. Every day I get four meter readings showing up under "My usage", these are the three electric readings and the gas reading. They agree with the values displayed directly on the meters themselves.

    Under "Payments and statements" I have costs each month for "Energy used" and these values agree every month with the total on their associated statement for that month.

    No problems so far.

    Now, on each PDF statement, I can't reproduce precisely the final cost as calculated by Bulb. Each statement correctly lists the expected meter readings for that month, either from my smart meter or previously from those I entered manually. But because of rounding errors in the way Bulb lists the variables used in their calculations, the value is always a few pence out. This is because internally Bulb use more precision than that printed on the statements as described in the thread linked above. Is this the problem you're having?

    If your statements are wrong by more than £1 at most compared to what you expect, then as I said I think you're going to have to give an example so that we can see what's going on.
  • @Hooloovoo I agree with everything you say.



    I have said, the Statements (Bills or whatever you want to call them) are correct. The figures under "payments and statements" are correct.

    I don't have a smart meter but I do run a spreadsheet daily to calculate usage and costs. I also cannot get the figures to quite equate with Bulb's but I'm happy with a £ or so either way.

    BUT the figures under "My Usage" are incorrect. The attached pic shows the Graph produced by Bulb with my (rather poor) marks to show where the top of bar graph should be. This graph has been incorrect all this year.

    Under "Payments and Statements" I'm told what my monthly payments (which is correct) are and also my Monthly Usage which is inflated by 27.2% (hence incorrect) and a sentence saying "Looking at your current balance and energy usage, we recommend changing your payments to £xx,xx"
    I ignore this because I know better but my concern is that a less savvy person may believe it and put up his/her Direct Debit unnecessarily when they can ill afford it

    I absolutely certain that this is not what Bulb want and I'm sure it will be corrected at their earliest convenience. I have the same problem as the OP and others. I don't think this should be swept under the carpet but I will leave it here - probably.
  • edited May 20
    Charade said:

    BUT the figures under "My Usage" are incorrect. The attached pic shows the Graph produced by Bulb with my (rather poor) marks to show where the top of bar graph should be. This graph has been incorrect all this year.

    I've never paid any attention to the graph. I can't compare it now because mine is different to yours due to having the smart meter. My graph shows usage per day for the last month or so. It varies between £1 and £3 or so per day for electricity, depending on whether I've plugged the car in or not. Gas of course varies with the weather. It seems right to me based on my usage, but I haven't checked exactly.
    Charade said:

    Under "Payments and Statements" I'm told what my monthly payments (which is correct) are and also my Monthly Usage which is inflated by 27.2% (hence incorrect)

    It's not incorrect or inflated by 27.2%. The "monthly usage" figure is your expected monthly average over the next 12 months. i.e., if you pay that and match your expected usage, your account should end up back at the same balance this time next year. It's "inflated" compared to what you're using now because it's taking into account next winter as well.

    None of this bothers me very much. So long as the statements/bills are right, which they are, I don't care.

    I also don't care if my monthly payment varies a bit. I understand that even if I were paying £200 per month, that doesn't mean Bulb have suddently become massively expensive. I'd just be building up credit on my account. Many people, unlike you or I, simply don't get that the monthly payment isn't equal to the bill. There's two thread on here right now where people are complaining they aren't saving anything because their monthly payment is the same or higher than with their previous supplier. It's financial education that needs correcting, not the energy supplier.
  • "I've never paid any attention to the graph. I can't compare it now because mine is different to yours due to having the smart meter" Fair enough.

    How can you say that Monthly Usage is "not incorrect or inflated by 27.2%"? As you say "The "monthly usage" figure is your expected monthly average over the next 12 months" so if the first 4 months are incorrect then the forecast has to be incorrect.

    This is obviously just a glitch in the software used for the customer interface; most software errors aren't found until people start querying things. I have no doubt that the mainframe for the business is absolutely correct - the statements every month prove that.

    "None of this bothers me very much. So long as the statements/bills are right, which they are, I don't care" is a little strong but fair enough again. My statements/bills are correct also which is all that really matters.

    As for "It's financial education that needs correcting, not the energy supplier", financial education is a moot point not for discussion here. I am not trying to correct the energy supplier just pointing out an error in their public customer accounts pages. The OP and others including myself have a problem with incorrect actual figures in the customer account pages available to us - NOT the statements - which give us an incorrect forecast based on those incorrect figures. I choose not to act on those incorrect figures. Unfortunately there are probably some with less "financial education" who will not ignore them.

    It's obvious that Bulb customer service people read the comments in the Community forum. I think they do care and I'm confident that this will be sorted.
  • Charade said:

    so if the first 4 months are incorrect then the forecast has to be incorrect.

    The forecast is based on historical data for the property, not just since you became a customer of the energy supplier, and so includes information considerably longer than 4 months previous. As such the forecast typically only becomes seriously wrong when major changes in usage occur - e.g., installation of extra insulation, a new boiler, purchase of an electric car etc.
    Charade said:

    I have no doubt that the mainframe for the business is absolutely correct - the statements every month prove that.

    Not that it's relevant, but mainframes haven't been used for decades.
    Charade said:

    Unfortunately there are probably some with less "financial education" who will not ignore them.

    Does it really matter? If you're paying more than needed then you just end up with a larger credit on your account. I accept that for people on very low incomes there could be cashflow problems if a bill is increased unnecessarily. But I'd think that for most people the difference between paying £60 per month or £80 per month wouldn't matter, if only they understood that the monthly payment is not the bill.
  • As the graphs are in £s and not kWh usage I wonder if when there is a price increase if it resets the historical information at the higher price?
  • scudo said:

    As the graphs are in £s and not kWh usage I wonder if when there is a price increase if it resets the historical information at the higher price?

    I don't think so. I've gone back to 2015, converted usage to todays prices and still December and January should only be around £110 if that was the case.

    @Hooloovoo I think you'll find that mainframes are still in use, especially in large finance houses - been there, done that and have several T-shirts. How, I wonder, does Bulb collects it's monies? However they do, that side of thing is accurate and I have no complaints there.

    If the Inland Revenue gets my tax coding wrong, I question it straight away not wait for 12 months in the hope that all will sort itself out. All the OP and others are doing is questioning why the figures are wrong for the months when actual figures (readings) were given which ultimately generates incorrect forcasts
  • edited May 21
    scudo said:

    As the graphs are in £s and not kWh usage I wonder if when there is a price increase if it resets the historical information at the higher price?

    Think you may have found the problem.

    I'm on Economy 7 - no gas on site. When I calculate monthly day and night units using the standard electricity price for both types of unit, the price is roughly as per the graph. So the graph seems to be showing my "excessive" amounts using the wrong tariff.

    It works for me anyway. If I'm right, then this is just a simple admin error which should be easily corrected. I'm happy now, knowing why the graph was wrong even though it didn't affect the account in any way.

    No other comment is (should be) required from me.
  • Charade said:

    scudo said:

    As the graphs are in £s and not kWh usage I wonder if when there is a price increase if it resets the historical information at the higher price?

    Think you may have found the problem.

    I'm on Economy 7 - no gas on site. When I calculate monthly day and night units using the standard electricity price for both types of unit, the price is roughly as per the graph. So the graph seems to be showing my "excessive" amounts using the wrong tariff.
    Yes the usage graph for Economy 7 is known to be faulty unfortunately.

    https://community.bulb.co.uk/discussion/1947/my-usage-graph-counting-all-electric-usage-at-the-day-rate
  • @Phillip_PAL

    I did a search and didn't see this thread, well remembered. If I had found it I could have saved myself a bout of RSI.

    Maybe 12 months further on with a quick reminder we'll achieve a good result.

    Thanks.

    Aaargh - I said I wouldn't comment about it again. Sorry
  • edited May 21
    Charade said:

    @Hooloovoo I think you'll find that mainframes are still in use, especially in large finance houses - been there, done that and have several T-shirts.

    Agreed yes, still in legacy use particularly in banks. What I meant was mainframes haven't been deployed as new production service for decades, which is true. Bulb certainly wont be using one.

    Yes the usage graph for Economy 7 is known to be faulty unfortunately.

    https://community.bulb.co.uk/discussion/1947/my-usage-graph-counting-all-electric-usage-at-the-day-rate

    Bulb are currently advertising for 7 software engineering related roles, with an application closing date of next month. If we consider 3 months for the new hires to get up to speed with how the current systems work and where the problems lie, I wouldn't expect issues like this to show any improvement until the end of this year.

    Edit to add: From that other thread ...

    @mcfetti we appreciate that this has lastest much longer than we would like. Our Tech team are working on it, but unfortunately it is not a simple one solution fixes all.

    This sounds like a fundamental flaw in the whole software stack - i.e., the total kWh usage being calculated way too early and not being passed to the subsequent visualisation functions. No wonder it's taking a long time to fix.


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