Comfort plus — Bulb Community

Comfort plus

Hello I have Scottish power comfort plus tariff - a Meter for electrical central heating and a meter for everything else. Can I change to bulb -

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  • Hi @Ruaridh1, I believe that to switch, the secondary meter would have to be removed.

    I think that Scottish Power charge for this however I suspect that Bulb might cover that as part of the switch like they do for contract exit fees.

    Even with the removal of the Comfort plus meter and having your heaters wired straight into the main meter you might find the Bulb are still cheaper (as Scottish Power are stupidly expensive) but it might be worth getting an economy 7 meter (especially if your heaters support timed heating).
  • Hi @Ruaridh1 can you drop us an email to help@bulb.co.uk with your meter details and we can have a look into this :)
  • Hi @Ruaridh1 can you drop us an email to help@bulb.co.uk with your meter details and we can have a look into this :)

    How did this go? I'm in the same situation on Comfort Plus which is a dts system that no-one else will touch. Would be more than happy to get rid of it if Bulb would replace with something like an Economy7
  • I'm the same, desperate to leave the cowboys but got this comfort plus rip-off. Got the letting agent asking the landlord to get me down to 1 meter. Would be nice if bulb covered the cost as part of switching
  • edited February 13
    Heya all.

    I've taken a look at the email @Ruaridh1 sent to Bulb, and our reply.

    We can take on both meters. However, we will have to charge you an extra standing charge for the second meter. That's around another £75 per year. Unfortunately, this does make our tariff less competitive than other suppliers.

    We can replace your meter or have the second meter removed but there are extra charges for doing so.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.
  • edited February 19
    My parents are also stuck with Scottish Power on Comfort Plus. They've had (and are still having) a catalogue of billing problems, despite having a new meter installed a year ago, so I'd like to get them away from the expensive, nightmarish Scottish Power ASAP.

    They have no gas heating, so it's a single electricity meter with 3 rates for day, night and control. Same meter as mentioned in this thread https://community.bulb.co.uk/discussion/4117/horstmann-radio-telemeter-series-k-meter-reading As I understand it, the control rate is for their storage heaters. They also have a hot water tank/immersion heater set-up which is used on the night rate.

    What would be the options for a switch to Bulb? @Eleanor at Bulb?
  • Heya @norman7115

    I've had a dig around to find out what's best in this situation.

    We're required to take on all types of meters including dynamically teleswitched meters on an “accommodation” tariff (our single-rate tariff).

    This would mean the loss of periods of cheap heating rates so it is not recommended for members who still have storage heaters.

    If your parents have two MPANs (meter point administration number) they'll need to pay two standing charges also. That's an extra £75.

    Generally, with these setups, the Big Six energy companies are the better option. We're sorry about that.

    We'd recommend getting a smart meter. This means you can switch between rates and your parents can find the most affordable tariff for them.
  • Generally, with these setups, the Big Six energy companies are the better option. We're sorry about that.

    Really nice to see honesty from a company :3
  • Hi @Eleanor at Bulb. Thanks very much for following up. My parents do indeed have two MPANs on their bills, despite having only 1 meter for which they currently pay only one standing charge.

    So we're saying Bulb could take them on straight away onto the Vari-fair tariff but with the additional standing charge. If they switched on that basis but wanted to go onto the Economy 7 tariff, would there just be the charge (£120?) for replacing the meter?

    Presumably they could get a free smart meter but having mentioned the Monday to Friday peak rate from 4pm to 7pm on the Smart tariff, they weren't keen on that. Which brings me back to the point I mentioned in another thread (on the subject of EVs) about using Economy 7 on a smart meter. Anyhow, can you please clarify the E7 meter replacement cost (and how long it would take to organise) and I'll take it from there.

    Thanks again for your help.
  • You're testing my knowledge of meter setups here @norman7115!

    I've had a chat with @TimC at Bulb who is our resident expert.

    The answer is technically yes: your parents can switch to Bulb and then pay £120 to have a new meter. One of the MPANs would be 'de-energised' so the extra standing charge would not apply.

    We'd need to make sure that the meter has a fifth terminal. That's so it can link up to the radio teleswitch clock. It would be worth mentioning that to Bulb when you request the switch as it's a slightly different meter request. You can always mention that you spoke to me on Community about it so I can make sure it's booked in correctly.

    You could then wait for Bulb to come and install a smart meter - that's free of charge. Having a smart meter does not mean you have to be on the smart tariff.

    But I'm sure your parents don't really want the hassle of having two lots of engineers turning up. Plus I cannot guarantee when the smart meter can be fitted by Bulb. Currently, we're letting members know when we can install in their areas.

    My recommendation is that you ask if the current supplier to fit a smart meter now. If they are able to get this done quickly then there's no need to have two-meter jobs and won't need to pay the £120.

    It would mean holding on for a little longer but in terms of cost and hassle, it's the easier option.

    Either way, let me know what you decide :)

  • Thank you again @Eleanor at Bulb and thanks also to @TimC at Bulb.

    Your suggestion of my parents getting a smart meter now through Scottish Power would ordinarily make sense, but from their experiences so far that could be a recipe for disaster. They still haven't properly sorted billing issues from a year ago when the current meter was installed, so switching to a smart meter (and possibly a new tariff) could be asking for trouble.

    That plus the fact that my parents are sceptical on the subject of smart meters (given all the horror stories when suppliers starting installing SMETS1 meters) and although I could likely talk them round on this, I'm also bearing in mind that they are on electric only, so would likely be heavy users around the Bulb Smart tariff peak hours. You did point out that they could stay on the Vari-Fair tariff with a smart meter but cost-wise they'd only be marginally better off than they are now on the Scottish Power tariff.

    Which brings me back to Economy 7 which I know would give them a significant saving, despite the initial meter cost. Just so I'm 100% clear in what I'm telling them can you please just confirm my understanding:

    1) A switch to Bulb could happen without any work being done to the meter set-up and they could go immediately onto the Vari-Fair tariff. At this point they would incur 2 lots of standing charges because of the 2 MPANs. They'd submit readings manually by adding up the 3 different readings on the existing meter.

    2) They could then request a new Economy 7 meter, presumably a normal credit meter with E7 configuration and the fifth terminal you mentioned. This new meter would replace the existing radio telemeter and one of the MPANs would then be de-energised. The total cost for this would be £120 but thereafter only 1 standing charge would apply.

    Have I got that right? The thread I linked to earlier ended with this below from August last year, so I just want to double-check. Thanks in advance for your help.
    Omendata said:

    I tried to switch to Bulb using this meter and although it was accepted they later phoned me to say they couldnt take me on because this meter is tied into Scottish Power and designated as a "complex meter setup" so couldnt provide me with a White Meter Comfortplus 7 alternative even though they quoted me for it and began the switch.

    Rate 1 is always DAY
    Rate 2 is always NIGHT
    Rate 3 is control - storage heating

    Storage/night is 11:30pm to 7:00 am so check the readings when the time is right

  • Hi @Eleanor at Bulb. Just bumping this thread in case you missed my reply from last week. When you get a minute can you please confirm my understanding as stated above. Thanks.
  • @norman7115 Thanks for the bump and sorry I didn't catch this earlier!

    1) Yes, they can switch with the current set up. They will need to manually send us meter readings for the time being.

    2) And yes, once switched they can pay £120 for one meter to be removed and replaced with an E7 and we will de-energize the other. We only charge for the call out - not how many different jobs actually need doing.

    Another useful thing to do before making the request is to have an electrician check everything first. If you explain what job you want to have done, they can make sure it would be possible.
  • Thanks @Eleanor at Bulb. I'm almost there apart from that curve ball you threw me at the end. Can you just clarify that last bit please:

    Another useful thing to do before making the request is to have an electrician check everything first. If you explain what job you want to have done, they can make sure it would be possible.

    You've said it can be done but then said it should be checked by an electrician as it might not be possible?

    If I supply all relevant information about the meter and current set up (photos if required), is it impossible for Bulb to confirm if an E7 meter can be put in? I don't particularly want to put my elderly parents through the hassle and expense of an electrician visit if it can be avoided. Plus I'd hate for an independent electrician to say yes, we then switch my parents to Bulb, then for a Bulb engineer to say E7 can't be done.
  • Hey @norman7115

    @TimC at Bulb has just given me a lesson in related meters - I'm always learning something!

    The reason why we suggest getting an electrician to assess things first is that your parents have two supplies coming into the house.

    In most cases, an engineer can simply de-energize one meter and replace the other with an E7 meter. But this is not always the case. We can't tell from the MPAN how the wiring is set up in the house and whether a simple de-energization and exchange will work.

    This is a risk that you could take without checking with an electrician first. But we do recommend that you have it checked to be on the safe side.

    Once your E7 is fitted, however, the storage heaters will work in the same way.

    I hope this helps but please do ask any other questions if you still have them.
  • In most cases, an engineer can simply de-energize one meter and replace the other with an E7 meter.

    Thanks again for the reply @Eleanor at Bulb. Just to be clear (and this is probably just terminology), in my parents' situation there is only one physical meter (2 MPANs), so this de-energizing still applies?

  • Hi @norman7115

    Eeek - you did say so. Sorry.

    Yes - it still applies. You don't want to be switching off half the house's electricity supply.
  • edited April 10
    I am having the same issue, but after 3 failed appointments and lies galor on the part of Scottish Power I have taken this to the Ombudsman and have an appointment to change the meter on 25th April. I will then be sending SP an invoice for the difference in what bulb would have cost and what I have had to pay to SP and if they don’t pay, it’s off the the small claims court we go. It will have take 8 months to get the meter changed and so many phone calls! Hopefully bulb will let me join them once this is all done?
  • DawnFraz said:

    I am having the same issue, but after 3 failed appointments and lies galor on the part of Scottish Power I have taken this to the Ombudsman and have an appointment to change the meter on 25th April. I will then be sending SP an invoice for the difference in what bulb would have cost and what I have had to pay to SP and if they don’t pay, it’s off the the small claims court we go. It will have take 8 months to get the meter changed and so many phone calls! Hopefully bulb will let me join them once this is all done?

    You definitely deserve to join bulb after all of that. Never have I dealt with an energy company so friendly and transparent. While also being cheap.
  • If this helps anyone: I was with SSE on a superdeal 3 rate meter, all electric. It was costing me £200+ a month for a 2 bed bungalow and just running one storage heater! More like a super ripoff deal meter!
    I got SSE not bulb to switch my meter to an economy 7 one which SSE did for free.
    I waited til the 2nd mpan was dropped and the national database updated which took around 2mths THEN I switched to bulb at £70 cheaper per month :smiley:

    This two standing charges thing when you have 2 mpans is naughty. Most other suppliers only charge 1. I know of people with 2 mpans who were charged 2 standing charges with another supplier (not bulb) and they complained to Ofgem. Ofgem made the supplier pay the extra standing charge back.


  • Further to Bulb and the Comfort Plus White Meter. Having found out about the additional standing charge I decided to get a quote from Bulb, as I thought I would still be saving money against Ultilita that Ofgem have put OurPower customers with. However, it turns out that not only do you have to pay the extra standing charge of 20.44p per day, but the unit rate ifor the night time storage heater is 13.5p!!!!!!! Only 2p less than the day rate. So your storage heater ends up costing you more than your daily electricity costs. That can't be right

    And you will be paying 20.44p per day standing charge, 19 GBP when the storage heaters are switched off for 3 months. That also cannot be right.

    Would like Bulb to review their polcy. There are tens of thousands of customers in Scotland who were finally given a way out of Scottish Power through Our Power, with the backing of the Scottish government. When it failed they were signed up by Ofgem to Utilita, who have taken more than 4 months to finally come up with an exorbitant price with a 200% price increase on night and heat rates, and who are entirely uncontactable by phone (last waiting time no reply 27mins on paid call time) and have no email correspondence system.

    It has to be business sense for Bulb to come up with a reasonable and workable solution. Adding a 3rd meter alternate to registering meter readings is not that difficult, and it's what OurPower customers are used to. That does away with extra meter costs, and night and storage heater can be the same price.... as they are with other companies.

    Is there an address/email that we can appeal to at Bulb.... sure I can't be the only one, who wants to be with Bulb, as my son has had a good experience, but are being prevented by their pricing policy.
  • edited May 13
    @ChristineH, unfortunately the DNOs likely charge Bulb the extra distribution costs for the setup having multiple MPANs so Bulb are going to have to pass that cost on.

    You can always contact Bulb on the standard help@bulb.co.uk email though.
  • @ChristineH

    So does energy switching work differently in Scotland?

    From your comment it implies you are tied to Scottish power. I would have thought that's not the case.

    It sounds like this comfort plus tariff is a nightmare for anyone who isnt Scottish power. Guess it's a hook to maintain customers forcibly rather than offering incentives and reasons to stay.
  • edited May 13
    Hi @ChristineH

    [EDITED] Mowcius is right, we are charge an additional standing charge because we are charge by your energy distributor for each MPAN (supply point) we supply.

    At Bulb, we offer the same deal for all of our members, which means that we only offer one tariff per metering set up.

    We buy electricity according to the billing configuration of your meter in the national database. As Mowcius has said, we're charged by energy distributors for each MPAN we supply. Other suppliers, who may offer one standing charge for two MPANs, pass these extra costs onto their other customers, which means that some customers are subsidising others. We don't think that's fair.

    If a member contacts us about storage heaters, we should let them know that we may not be the best supplier for them. I'm sorry if this was not the case for you.
  • edited May 13

    We buy electricity according to the billing configuration of your meter in the national database.

    Hi @Eleanor at Bulb. As I understand it, the second MPAN for the storage heaters is charged at Bulb's standard variable rate because it is configured in the national database with more than 8.5 off-peak hours.

    From what I've read the current supplier can change the profile of a meter in the national database (ECOES?).

    So if someone with related meters has already switched to Bulb, can Bulb therefore change the storage heater MPAN profile (therefore billing configuration), so the second MPAN can operate and be charged on an Economy 7 basis, same as the other MPAN?
  • Cyberpixie thanks that's helpful

    From the Valleys Yes, Scottish power came up with systems that tied people down all over Scotland. I gather the Islands situation is even worse. NB Mowcius says Bulb are not the supplier for us ... that is the general situation. Originally the energy companies wouldn't take us at all, but then Ofgem stipulated we had to be offered supply, but the result is unaffordable tariffs. We can't use the switching sites either. as they don't cater for 3 readings . OurPower was set up to give us an option.... and was backed by the Scottish Government. It went bust at the end of January and Ofgem switched us to Utilita, who have admitted taking months to even understand our meters up here.... and like Bulb are now pricing us as if they don't want us. We didn't even know what we were paying Utilita until we got a bill two months later.

    Mowicus would be really brill if you could explain the 2 Mpans to me. There is only one meter, and it took so much research when I moved here to even find out that it was a Control Plus White Meter. So any information that helps understand the system and therefore the problem is great. Also, as my night storage heater is switched off by the end of this month and stays off until September, how about not charging the additional Standing Charge when not in use?

    and anyone happy to be corrected or to receive additional information, because I am unable to find an affordable supplier. My quoted night rate from Bulb is 8.71p, whereas the Storage Heater which runs an hour earlier at night, and switches off an hour earlier in the morning is 13.5p per unit plus 20.44p per day standing charge, putting it on a par with the day rate.

    And haven''t checked yet, but have seen posts saying that Scottish Power won't take us back with our 3 reads. Anyone with experience of that? And sorry, know this is a Bulb site... but 30,000 people just got bumped when OurPower went down, and appealing to energy companies to have a rethink looks like our only hope, other than the subterfuge of finding a company that will change our meter for free. But they may have sussed that already.
  • Oh sorry, Mowicus should read Eleanor at Bulb in previous post.
  • Heya @ChristineH

    There are all sorts of meter set ups. You can have on physical meter that you can see in your homo but two supply points (MPANs). This is to do with how the house is wired. Each MPAN delivers electricity to a different part of the house and the meter record these separately.

    This is not the same for all homes though. Some homes have two meters, one for each MPAN.

    Even if your storage heaters are off, you will need to pay the standing charge. The standing charge is applicable for all MPANs. It's the cost of having the ability of delivering electricity to you.

    I hope that makes sense - let me know if you have any other questions though.

  • Thanks Eleanor. Read and gone thinking. Back to where we started from before Our Power. Having been set up by Scottish Power with a system that they claim means we have to remove our storage heaters in order to have an E7 meter, we don't have real options on changing supplier. It's a nonsense that a 1 bed flat is considered to have 2 electricity supplies when it is all coming in on the same wiring.
  • @ChristineH I would have thought a professional electrician would be able to wire everything in the flat up to the meter (the meter is the dno or suppliers responsibility)

    That way, get the flat configured that nothing is wired to the second meter. When this is the case, you can request the meter removed by your local dno and you can have a more conventional energy supply.

    (Also if you use '@name' you can tag people and they'll get a notification when you reply.

    Replace the name with the username and remove the quotation.
  • Thanks @FromTheValleys . Yeah, it's only one meter, so would need replacement, rather than removal if I get the storage heater rewired or replaced. With Bulb's additional standing charge of £73 per year, and the expensive heat rate per kwh, that has to be the better option. I have seen quotes of . £120 for the meter change, and £100 for the rewiring, and that would be recouped in under 2 years.

    However, there is quite a lot of chatter online that the installation of Smart meters will remove the 2nd Mpan anyway. Does anyone have info on that?

    And for all those other Control Plus owners searching the web for solutions, despite @Eleanor at Bulb statement that Bulb is not for us, they are cheaper than Utilita's 60% price rise from June 1st. It's a 20% increase with the 2 Mpans on current cost, but clearly even better if you don't have 2 MPans. And yes, I am reporting the increase to Ofgem, who put us with Utiiita stating it was competitive.
  • edited May 16
    @ChristineH, the installation of a smart meter will remove the second MPAN issue, correct, but you will likely need to make sure that the rewiring (all into the one set of meter tails) is done shortly before the installation of the new meter.
  • Tx @mowcius. Hmm ..... that may not work with Bulb then who are concentrating further south with current Smart Meter installations, according to their blog. Ideal is to get it done before September, while storage heater not needed.
  • @ChristineH, there might not be too much they can do, but meters have and are being installed in the north as well. There are more issues with signal up north but not all areas are a problem to install in.
  • Has anyone else had any luck with meter switches or smart meters? I've got electric heating with comfort plus meter (no gas in my street). I'm with utilita since ourpower went under and ofgem switched me. Their prices have gone up vastly as of 1st June 19 and it's put my bills up by around £600 a year. My MSP suggested I speak to warmworks about my heating system.

    I put in my KWH usage as if i had 1 meter into price comparison sites and if that was the case bulb is a lot cheaper (pretty much same as what i was paying on old our power prices). It's showing a lot of the big 6 as being comparable price wise to bulb, might be cheaper if they can provide to my meter type.
  • edited July 16
    loraine said:

    Has anyone else had any luck with meter switches or smart meters? I've got electric heating with comfort plus meter (no gas in my street).

    My parents switched from Scottish Power on Comfort Plus to Bulb without changing their meter. They have a radio teleswitch meter (which gives day, night and storage heater readings) - one meter but 2 MPANs (2 supplies) .

    One supply (day/night) was switched to Bulb's Economy 7 tariff. The storage heater supply was switched to Bulb's standard tariff because the meter has too many off peak hours.

    The latter will be more of a cost issue when storage heaters are being used again in the winter, but even at that still a lot cheaper than SP. They are billed for 2 standing charges because of the 2 MPANs. It may be possible to have the storage heater supply de-energized (to avoid the standing charge) but this would likely require rewiring work and probably making the switch to a smart meter (or paying for an Economy 7 meter).

    The switch was complicated enough so have left as is for now. Thankfully, given SMETS2 smart meter installations in the North region are having some issues. We'll revisit the meter options in a few months.

  • edited July 17
    Hi Eleanor, can you tell me if SMETS 1 3 rate tariff would work for me. I have comfort plus white meter and am wondering if I get my supplier to change me to smart meter if the 3 rate tariff will work with my storage heaters?
  • loraine said:

    Has anyone else had any luck with meter switches or smart meters? I've got electric heating with comfort plus meter (no gas in my street).

    My parents switched from Scottish Power on Comfort Plus to Bulb without changing their meter. They have a radio teleswitch meter (which gives day, night and storage heater readings) - one meter but 2 MPANs (2 supplies) .

    One supply (day/night) was switched to Bulb's Economy 7 tariff. The storage heater supply was switched to Bulb's standard tariff because the meter has too many off peak hours.

    The latter will be more of a cost issue when storage heaters are being used again in the winter, but even at that still a lot cheaper than SP. They are billed for 2 standing charges because of the 2 MPANs. It may be possible to have the storage heater supply de-energized (to avoid the standing charge) but this would likely require rewiring work and probably making the switch to a smart meter (or paying for an Economy 7 meter).

    The switch was complicated enough so have left as is for now. Thankfully, given SMETS2 smart meter installations in the North region are having some issues. We'll revisit the meter options in a few months.

    Hi, I have been reading your posts closely as I've just moved into a property with a similar setup. I have a meter with 2 MPANS (Horstmann Radio Telemeter Series 2A) which has a single mains feed, which goes through a splitter, and there are 5 cables going in/out the bottom of the meter. The meter feeds 2 seperate consumer units, one labelled 'heater 2nd floor' and the other labelled 'lighting'/'fire alarms'/'meggaflow' etc...

    From what I've read, have your parents now got one standard E7 meter fitted allowing them to power the 2 consumer units? Or is further electrical work required in order to condense the 2 consumer units into one, and then allow the one E7 meter to feed the entire house from one fuse board?

    Thanks in advance.
  • JDM said:

    From what I've read, have your parents now got one standard E7 meter fitted allowing them to power the 2 consumer units? Or is further electrical work required in order to condense the 2 consumer units into one, and then allow the one E7 meter to feed the entire house from one fuse board?

    Thanks in advance.

    No, they've still got their original meter (Radio Telemeter Series K) and 2 MPANs with one consumer unit. The storage heater MPAN can only charged on the standard tariff. The other is on the E7 tariff.

    Rewiring would probably be required to de-energize 1 MPAN, although it might not. If required, this would be done at the time a new meter is installed (but by an electrician at your cost, not by the meter installer).

    The advice seems to be to get an electrician to check out the set up before swapping meters. It may be possible however that the meter installer can do everything required. We haven't got that far yet as it was complicated enough to find out if the supplier switch was even possible.

    FYI the cost of an E7 meter from Bulb is £120 and the smart meter is free (if and when you can get one installed) but you can't get the Bulb smart tariff or Bulb E7 tariff with a new SMETS2 meter yet.
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