Electricity Bill Has More than Doubled — Bulb Community

Electricity Bill Has More than Doubled

Hello,
I switched to Bulb in September 2017 and have seen a series of erratic electricity bills since then. This may not have been helped by my own failure to submit very regular metre reading but I have submitted them around 8 times in around 16 months. Without a significant change in household circumstances and being fairly conservative users of both gas and electricity over many years and many suppliers, I have found that my electricity bills have now doubled in the latter half of 2018, whilst my gas usage remains as consistently low as ever. I have submitted metre readings fairly often during this time too.
I do not fully understand the billing system that utility companies use and I have never really had to spend the time in doing so as I have rarely encountered problems. I do know that usage is seasonal and payments over-compensate in Summer for Winter but I have now seen payments rise from £67.57 for both utilities to £150 and I am still in debit of £140. I imagine the larger payment is to try and get this back in credit but this level of electricity usage makes no sense to me as the tariff has not increased by that much.

Some help would be appreciated.

Regards,
Dave

Comments

  • BuenoDave said:

    but this level of electricity usage makes no sense to me as the tariff has not increased by that much.

    It sounds like you have a good understanding of how the billing system works, in terms of monthly payments, seasonal usage, and payments being temporarily higher while paying off debt. You say you do not fully understand the billing system, but you've definitely got a good head start on many people that post to energy supplier forums.

    You have just over a years worth of meter readings now with Bulb. Hopefully you also have access to older usage readings with previous suppliers, perhaps from older paper bills or maybe you can still access old PDFs from old supplier accounts. In order to start working out what is going on, you really need to be able to look back over your historic usage and see if your usage really has gone up.

    When you look in your Bulb account dashboard, what does it say for your "Assumed Annual Consumption" under "My account and tariff info"? Is this where you expect it to be, or much higher than you expect based on previous years?
  • Thanks for your considered reply.
    Looking at previous readings I have my 2016/17 readings prior to my October 2017 switch to Bulb. The charges from October to September were between £35 and £45 a month with January being the highest and no discernible trend in between. The kwh day rate was fixed at £12.57 in this period whereas Bulb is currently higher at £15.83 and began at £13.28. I would expect a max increase of 25% at the extremes of these rates even though the rate changed between these points.
    Assumed Annual Consumption of electricity is £962 (at £14.65 on last December bill) for electricity as of now and in June 2017 was £653 (at £12.57).
    Having looked at this, it goes some way to explaining part of the increase but not even half of the rise.
  • BuenoDave

    I'm having a little difficulty in understanding your problem.

    In your latest response you mention "The kwh day rate was fixed at £12.57", unless I am mistaken the the figure of 12.57 is the average amount of energy in kWh you have used per day during the billing month and this is nothing to do with being quoted in £.

    As you have previously pointed out some of the erratic bills may possibly be due to you not submitting regular monthly meter readings at the correct time, which ideally should be 1 or 2 days before your statement is prepared.

    My electricity use has gone up and down since I joined Bulb in May this year, my lowest monthly use was 183kWh to the highest at 351 kWh.

    These are based on actually monthly meter readings, there are various reasons in my household for the large fluctuation between the low and high energy usage.

    If you could look in your "Energy Usage" page on your account dashboard. Does this show a combination of "Input Type" Customer and Estimated with perhaps more Estimated than Customer, if so then your energy bill will be all over the place due to them being estimated.
  • Allanr,
    The Energy Usage page does indeed show a mixture of customer and estimated readings so I do expect a level of erraticity. Over time i.e. one year, I would expect this to level off sooner or later rather than just increase. Previous supplier bills have shown a pretty level usage of electricity, it is gas which increases hugely over the winter.
    With regards the 12.57, I was referring to this as the unit price per kwh rather than my kwh usage.
    Fundamentally I'm trying to understand why my electricity bills have doubled, yet my gas bills remain as they ever were regardless of estimated or actual readings. This has continued for a while as I have expected a correction over time but it has been high for eight or so months now. As I stressed in the initial email, having not experienced any issues with spikes in bills or usage before over many years and multiple suppliers, it is not something I have had to give much consideration to previously.
  • edited January 10
    @BuenoDave

    Thanks for the update.

    Just to clarify the unit price would have been 12.57 pence per kWh rather than £12.57.

    What are you expecting to level out over time, is it your annual estimated energy consumption?

    Do you know your electricity energy usage in kWh for the last 12 months and also the previous 12 months. Unless you know these it is difficult to give a possible answer why your electricity bills have doubled.
  • edited January 10
    BuenoDave said:

    Looking at previous readings I have my 2016/17 readings prior to my October 2017 switch to Bulb. The charges from October to September were between £35 and £45 a month with January being the highest and no discernible trend in between. The kwh day rate was fixed at £12.57 in this period whereas Bulb is currently higher at £15.83 and began at £13.28. I would expect a max increase of 25% at the extremes of these rates even though the rate changed between these points.

    As @Allanr has pointed out, the "unit rate" is in pence, so that's 12.57 pence per kWh.

    Working with final bills is difficult since, as you've seen, changes in cost per kWh confuses matters.

    Could you do the same comparison based purely on kWh used? What I'm trying to establish here is whether your actual metered usage of electricity has gone up considerably, and for this we only need to know the meter readings the cost is irrelevant.
  • Thanks Hooloovoo. Good advice about kwh over cost. I did understand the unit rate was cost but it is obviously better to compare kwh usage.
    So, I will give readings as combined day and night for Jan-Aug 2017 with NPower and Nov 2017 to Dec 2018 with Bulb. There are a couple of strange ones I do not understand on the Bulb bills but anyway:
    2017 (NPOWER) Jan - 364, Feb - 309, Mar - 320, Apr - 334, May - 326, June - 288, Jul - 292, Aug - 286.
    2017 (Bulb) Nov - 384, Dec - 421, Jan - 590, Feb - 354, Mar - 315, Apr - 54, May - 450, June - 312, Jul - 810, Aug - 300, Sep - 312, Oct - 1332, Nov - 680, Dec - 689.

    January 2018 was actually 900 kwh day rate with a minus 310 kwh on the night rate.

    As I've mentioned earlier, the metre readings I have gave have been erratic but I did submit them in January 2019, Nov/Oct/Jul/Jun/Apr/Mar/Jan 2018.
  • edited January 12
    @BuenoDave it looks to me like a slight increase in electrical usage after moving to bulb but vastly increased (nearly double previous year) from July which your October reading has caught up on and verified high in Nov.

    Worryingly your comment about the January adjustment suggests you have shifted your usage from night to day which is more expensive.

    It may be best to examine your day / night in further detail you may be better off without a dual rate meter.

    Just a thought, have you got an immersion heater for the hot water that is unknowingly stuck permanently on thus increasing your day usage instead of only being used at night? Although I would have thought it should be gas fired?

    Edit - extra thought:

    If you do have a hot water cylinder it may be worth checking your gas usage, if that has decreased greatly it could be due to the immersion element providing some of the heating rather than the cheaper gas.

    Our gas usage has decreased slightly in comparison so far this mild winter, but not enough to offset the increase in kWh cost so we are spending more on gas than last year. Barely use gas over summer due to the solar diverter.

Sign In or Register to comment.