Why is my bill unexpectedly high? — Bulb Community

Why is my bill unexpectedly high?

Here are the most common reasons you might receive an unexpectedly high bill:

1) You have entered your meter readings incorrectly on your Bulb Account. If so, just let us know and we can amend your bill.

You can check your previous meter readings in the “Energy Usage” section of your Bulb Account.

2) You submitted your first meter reading for a while.

When we don’t receive your meter readings we use estimates. These are not always exact. So if your meter readings were actually a bit higher than the estimates, it might look like you consumed a lot in one month. But this is actually the result of us catching up on the usage from all the months previous to this.

3) Your meter is broken.

This is very rare. If you think your meter is running too quickly, you can do a quick test to find out. Simply turn off all appliances in your home and see if the meter is still ticking over.

If the meter stops, turn on 1 appliance at a time and check the meter. If the meter starts to move very quickly, the appliance could be faulty.

We recommend giving meter readings once a month to get the most accurate bills and to give these just before your payment is due, or once every three months at a minimum.


Still not answered your question? Post it below as you might not be the only one.

Comments

  • Simply turn off all appliances in your home and see if the meter is still ticking over.

    The easiest way to do this is to just 'throw' (turn off) all the circuit breakers in the consumer unit (there should be a main 'on/off' switch in the cabinet). Remember when you do so that ALL the power will go off - lights, freezer, fire alarms, burglar alarm systems etc (just like a power cut) - so don't do this in the dark and don't leave them off for too long: ensure that all the circuit breakers are returned 'on afterwards (sometimes turning the main 'on/off' breaker switch back to 'on' doesn't turn the individual ones back on automatically).
  • Hey Eleanor
    I think my meter has some problems,my meter reading shows that I have used 15,000KWh for the last 6 months. That is ridiculous. I share a flat with a friend, and we only use electricity for heating, hot water, lighting and just several conventional household appliances. So what should we do next? How can we request a check if the energy meter is faulty?
  • cquliuxl said:

    I share a flat with a friend, and we only use electricity for heating, hot water, lighting and just several conventional household appliances.

    That list you've given includes pretty much everything electricity could be used for, including the two biggest consumers - heating and hot water. To give an example, my gas boiler typically uses about 14000kWh of energy for heating and hot water. I also use typically 3500kWh of electrical energy. That's a total of 17500kWh per year. The value you've stated is for just 6 months, but most heating occurs in the winter months and so it's not spread evenly throughout the year.

    Your 15000kWh reading for 6 months I'd agree is a little high, but it's far from ridiculous. But to answer your question, yes you can get Bulb to install a "check meter", which is another meter alongside your existing meter. If the two match within the expected precision of the meters then there is nothing wrong and you'll be charged for the check. If your meter does show to be out of calibration, your meter will be changed for free. If you want to proceed with this, you should contact Bulb directly via the contact information in the help pages rather than via this customer forum.
  • I've just submitted my meter readings for the first time in a while, I received a statement today to say I've used £252 in energy for the past 4 weeks! I nearly fell off my chair. That's impossible since its a small house and we barely have the heating on. We have a gas hob which is use and a gas fire which is never on. I'm baffled.

    Could this be related to point 2?
  • Without me looking at whatever point 27 says I would suggest the problem is due you not submitting regular meter readings . I would guess earlier months were based on low estimated meter readings and your recent meter reading is a catch up on your energy use?
  • Point 2 is:

    2) You submitted your first meter reading for a while.

    When we don’t receive your meter readings we use estimates. These are not always exact. So if your meter readings were actually a bit higher than the estimates, it might look like you consumed a lot in one month. But this is actually the result of us catching up on the usage from all the months previous to this.

    Hopefully this will clear itself over the Summer?
  • @GameOfThrowIns

    On the basis you have just submitted a meter reading it means you have brought your billing up to date. Personally I submit monthly meter readings in the time frame contained in the monthly email reminders from Bulb, thereby my bills tend to be accurate.
  • I always aim to, but we've just had a kid, well 6 months old now (no real excuse I know) but I keep meaning to submit them but then forget.
  • edited April 6

    I always aim to, but we've just had a kid, well 6 months old now (no real excuse I know) but I keep meaning to submit them but then forget.

    You're billed monthly, whether you submit readings or not. If you don't submit readings then estimates will be used instead, and these estimates vary between correct and wildly inaccurate. In your case, it's most likely that the estimates have been low. When you submitted your readings, your usage was brought up to date. The actual usage from all of your previously low estimates, when brought up to date with correct readings, then appeared on the most recent monthly bill. That's not the same as saying you've used all that energy in one month.

    For example, if your estimated readings were ...

    100 reading
    200 estimated
    300 estimated
    400 estimated

    But your actual usage was ...

    100 reading
    300 reading
    500 reading
    700 reading

    Then your bills would have been based on ...

    100 reading
    200 estimated
    300 estimated
    700 reading

    Which makes it look like you've used 100 units of energy in the first two months and then a massive 400 units of energy in the most recent month. Clearly that's not the case, it's just that your bills have caught up with your real usage in the last month.
  • edited May 20
    Is there any wrongdoing with entering Meter readings more often than per month, maybe every two weeks.
    As a new bulb Customer I'm interested to know how my usage will settle an DD.
    My previous supplier sse discouraged multiple meter readings-though that was their i.t. System.
  • I'm wondering the same thing. Would love some answers
  • There's no harm in submitting more than one meter reading per month.

    On the one hand, there is no advantage of doing this. If you submit your meter reading a couple of days before your statement is due (we'll send an email reminder) then your statements will reflect your usage exactly.

    However the advantage of submitting more than one meter reading is that if you do forget to submit your meter reading before a statement, our estimates will be more accurate. That's because we'll have more data points to calculate an accurate estimate.
  • Thanks Eleanor
    Think I'll try one more meter reading this week and possibly get an idea of projected costs in plenty of time before next DD early June.
    Only for my reference to ensure I'm not off track usage wise.
  • Great, we have your reading
    This meter reading is more than 3 days before your next payment date, so we'll use it to make your estimated readings more accurate.
    Will my account balance be debited with tonight's readings in a day or two or will it only debit from balance from total month a few days before DD date.
    Thanks
  • Hi @Donfor

    If you submit your meter readings too early, we'll use an estimate on the day we create your statements. But it should be pretty accurate if you gave a recent reading. This meter reading will then be used to debit from the overall balance for the month.

    We create your statements on the 11th of each month. So the best thing to do is to send us a meter reading on the 9th. This way, we don't need to use an estimate.
  • What do you class as too early?
  • More than 3 days before your statement is prepared.
  • So if my DD is 1st of month I need to go two days before that
  • edited May 22

    So if my DD is 1st of month I need to go two days before that

    Yes that should be fine. Bulb send out a monthly email reminder to submit your meter readings. I have an alarm set up on my PC to remind me to send in my meter on the off chance I don't receive my email reminder.

    Please also see: https://help.bulb.co.uk/hc/en-us/articles/115003193451-When-should-I-submit-a-meter-reading- for the definitive answer.
  • Thanks for your reply
  • Hi @emmapearson,

    As @Allanr explained if you submit them up to 3 days before your statement is sent out we'll be able to use them. You can also submit them through you 'payment reminder' email which is the perfect time. :)

    Thanks,
    Pollyanna
  • Thank you Pollyanna. Will I get a statement of usage at that time?
  • Yes @emmapearson, you'll get an up to date statement showing what you've used up until then via email. :)
  • As @Allanr explained if you submit them up to 3 days before your statement is sent out we'll be able to use them. You can also submit them through you 'payment reminder' email which is the perfect time. :)

    What happens if someone submits a meter reading, say, 5 days before their statement date? From what I've read on here it would appear that the reading gets completely ignored. Is that right? If so, why isn't it used to calculate most of the bill and then and then an estimate made for just the 5 days between the most recent reading and the statement date?

    There seems to be many instances on here of people submitting readings for months at the "wrong" time and they've only ever been given estimated bills. Surely all the readings given should actually be used, and the bills should be mostly correct. Just silently ignoring the reading because it's not given while the reading window is open seems to be bad design or bad coding, or both.
  • @Hooloovoo

    My personal experience when I have had to submit my meter reading somewhat earlier than normal due to being away at the appropriate time is that Bulb made an estimate to cover the extra days between when I submitted my reading and when nominally it should have been submitted,
  • Allanr said:

    My personal experience when I have had to submit my meter reading somewhat earlier than normal due to being away at the appropriate time is that Bulb made an estimate to cover the extra days between when I submitted my reading and when nominally it should have been submitted,

    Ok. Good. That's what I would expect to happen.

    In which case, how come there are so many people on here saying they've submitted readings, but they haven't been used at all? I suppose some of them have had the problem where the estimated reading is so far out that Bulb have outright rejected the actual reading as wrong. But not all I would have thought.
  • @Hooloovoo

    No idea why this sort of problem is being reported, perhaps the customers are not adhering to submitting readings each month?

    If this is the case then it could make their estimated readings way off target which grows exponentially as time goes by.

    Even so I bet quite a lot of these customers don't check their statements each month and report any issues direct to Bulb for the issue to nipped in the bud.



  • If a meter reading is submitted too early, we'll use an estimate but this estimate is based on meter readings previously given. So as @Allanr said, it will just make up for the few days in between. This makes the estimates very accurate.

    As long as we receive meter readings once every three months then statements will be accurate. If members don't submit a meter reading for a while, estimates will get less accurate. That's why we remind members to submit the reading every month.


  • As long as we receive meter readings once every three months then statements will be accurate. If members don't submit a meter reading for a while, estimates will get less accurate. That's why we remind members to submit the reading every month.

    Just to clarify. If a customer submits a meter reading every three months the statements between each three month readings wont necessarily be accuarte as will have had to be based on estimated readings.
  • If a meter reading is not submitted, we cannot guarantee to be spot on. Instead we use estimates and these are pretty accurate.

    There are some cases where the estimates are higher or lower than the actual usage. That could be because a member hasn't submitted a meter reading in months, or even years (to us or a previous supplier). The more meter readings we receive, the more accurate these will become. All meter readings go into a central industry database to help suppliers keep their estimates accurate.
  • I'm submitting electricity meter readings that aren't appearing on my account and then estimates are being made. I always submit all 3 reading at once. There has never been an occasion where I haven't, but some recent examples:




    My day usage electricity is the one that usually goes missing, which is the important one as the night one doesn't seem to move.
  • Nobody is responding on here or the support email I sent over a week ago. Can you please help.
  • Hi @ChrisA

    Sorry for a slow response :#

    Your statements are sent out on the 7th of each month. You also send us your meter readings on the 7th which means that you're submitting them a little too late.

    The estimates are taking your actual readings into account but we need your readings on the 5th or 6th to be able to put them on your statements.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Thanks for getting back to me. As the pictures show I'm entering them on the 4th not the 7th. It's more a problem that some of the ones I enter are just never appearing too, regardless of when I enter them.
  • ChrisA said:

    Thanks for getting back to me. As the pictures show I'm entering them on the 4th not the 7th. It's more a problem that some of the ones I enter are just never appearing too, regardless of when I enter them.

    No readings are showing for May not even estimated ones?
  • I just took two pictures of where the problem had happened, they're two different screenshots.
  • ChrisA said:


    My day usage electricity is the one that usually goes missing, which is the important one as the night one doesn't seem to move.

    Just a thought - This might be were problems are occuring, presumably its economy 7 and the night reading is the larger of the two figures.

    If so historically you use more in the night and now your not using any, the figures may be too far out to be accepted automatically based on what is expected historically?

    You need to look into why its stopped registering on the meter. It should be increasing by a unit or two each night due to background fridge surely? (at least over a week if too small to register an efficient fridge over a single night)?

    Perhaps you only have storage heaters that are only on over the colder months which would explain it barely moving over summer months.

    How is the hot water heated - if it's an electric immersion element that should register a few units overnight.

    To be cost effective you need to be consuming more electric overnight than the day otherwise you are better on a standard single rate tariff.
  • @Eleanor at Bulb – can you help with this as I still haven't received any response to my email.

    @Phillip_PAL seems like I might have a separate problem with my meter, I've raised a ticket with Bulb about that as well.
  • @ChrisA It seems that our system has been blocking some of your readings because one of them appears to not be changing over time. Does that sound in line with what your meter is doing? Could you confirm?
  • My smart meter has recorded two days of £200000 usage each yes £400000 for two days!!!!! This has got to be wrong and I am livid!!!!
  • My smart meter has recorded two days of £200000 usage each yes £400000 for two days!!!!! This has got to be wrong and I am livid!!!!

    Sounds like you'll need a bank loan, like these other people ...

    See: https://community.bulb.co.uk/discussion/12367/i-used-2-000-000-of-electricity-on-2nd-july
  • edited July 8

    My smart meter has recorded two days of £200000 usage each yes £400000 for two days!!!!! This has got to be wrong and I am livid!!!!

    Hi @GillHudson

    :# that certainly doesn't sound right. Let's have a look at this for you...

    It looks like the same bug that has been recorded by @sindbadpeter and @SimonS on this thread. @PJ at Bulb is on the case and is working with the Smart Team to get it fixed.

    Apologies for the shock but the good news is your statements will show your accurate usage and your payments won't change. Please ignore the incorrect figure on your Bulb account for now. Once we've fixed this, I'll let you know.
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