Absurd monthly payment recommendation

Hi,

I’ve just received a notification to increase my monthly payments by £11/month. If I don’t I will be in debt to you by £1 this time next year!

If I did increase my payments then according to your calculations I would be (11*12)-1 = £131 in credit instead of £1 in debit!!

Can I really take this recommendation seriously?

Personally I would ignore such advice and amend your monthly payments to whatever is shown in your “Payments & statements” page under “Average monthly usage”. This obviously assumes your account is neither in debit or credit. if either of these apply then you need to adjust your monthly payments accordingly.

As Bulb require one month advance payment, any monthly payment amount should ideally be sufficient to meet that requirement.

Further details at: https://help.bulb.co.uk/hc/en-us/articles/115003405632-How-do-Bulb-payments-and-statements-work-

@Allanr the thing is if I don’t amend my monthly payments (ie don’t change anything), then this time next year I will be debt to Bulb to the tune of £1. They would rather that I was in credit by £131 instead!

It seems the recommendation is a bit one sided.

I guess the problem is just ‘warning levels’ in Bulb’s code. They’ve probably set it if ‘If customer balanced predicted to be less then £0, send them a message’ and since £1 in debt is less, then the message is sent. If you are in credit, you can ask for a refund.

@RichyB it would seem that they are a bit robotic and petty then. Surely a predicted debit of £50 is a fairer amount than £1 to suggest an increase of one’s monthly payments especially given that there is a whole 12 months for the prediction to fulfil or not?

@endorphin

It is difficult for me to give a definitive answer as I haven’t received any email asking me to amend my monthly amount and advise the amount I will finish up in 12 months time. Was it an email you received or the information showing in your “Payments & statements” page? which mentioned increasing your monthly payments?

My situation is much clearer in that I maintain my own spreadsheet of past energy usage (in kWh) which I then use for my next 12 month usage (in fact a rolling 12 month) to which I apply the current or notified new unit costs to work what I should be paying.

My aim being to have a constant monthly direct debit amount for the next 12 months, however I do review each time I get my monthly statement.

@Allanr I received an email with the subject “We think you should increase your payments” - I suspect you only get this email if your predicted balance ends in shortfall even if, as in my case, this is only £1.

It’s the pettiness that I’m concerned about.

@endorphin, one thing you have to remember is that as you pay Bulb in advance, will you actually only be in debit by £1 when Bulb take your monthly payments out of your Bulb account (before your next monthly payment goes in)?
For your account to always be effectively in the black, you should have one month’s payments in it at all times.

I would agree that they could be a little more lenient with some of their automated triggers though, or make it clear that they don’t really care that much and you can adjust things as you like.

@Allanr I received an email with the subject "We think you should increase your payments" - I suspect you only get this email if your predicted balance ends in shortfall even if, as in my case, this is only £1.

It’s the pettiness that I’m concerned about.

Only the Bulb team can address your concerns as they are in possession of the details of your account.

Without giving away any personal details a litmus test:

1… Is you account currently in credit and ideally sufficient to meet Bulb’s requirement of one month in advance?

2… Is the suggested monthly payment (i.e. after taking into the extra £11 suggested by Bulb) roughly equivalent to the amount showing in “Average monthly usage” in your “Payments & statements”?

@Allanr

  1. my account is in credit by more than the current monthly payment amount and also by more than the increased amount suggested in Bulb's recommendation.
  2. the increased amount is less than my "Average monthly usage" (to be expected considering I am more than a month's usage in credit)
I will just monitor my usage and predicted spend myself rather than relying on their recommendations.

@endorphin

You haven’t previously mentioned your credit is more than your months usage. Will this still be the situation in say the next three months following the price increase which takes effect from 11 November plus the possibility you will be using more energy during the colder months?

If your suggested increased monthly payments is less than the “Average monthly usage” then it is obvious that over a period of time whatever credit you have will be whittled away.

@Allanr I didn’t mention it because it doesn’t matter! The thing is, according to the Bulb email, if I carry on with my current monthly payment then in a year’s time I will be in debit to the tune of £1! I presume their calculations take into account my current credit balance and their project tariffed increases.

Seeing as they don’t like me to be in debt to them, even by £1, they’re suggesting I increase my payments by £11/month so that in a year’s time I will be in credit by £131 instead.

I call that petty or at least the calculation which triggers the email needs revising to be less cut throat.

@endorphin

Hopefully one of the Bulb team will be able to resolve your query as they are in full possession of the facts regarding any credit you have and whether your suggestee increased monthly payment is valid or sent in error?

@David at Bulb

Not something I normally ask, but is it possible to sort out the query from @endorphin since it seems an odd situation?

Hi there guys, @endorphin I’ve taken a look at your account, I don’t want to go into too many specifics on a public forum (please feel free to email us on help@bulb.co.uk if you like) but I’ll see what I can do. The first thing I should mention is that, due to the way our payments are set up (with payments taken in advance of your usage, so that a payment on the 1st of September would be for the energy you’re going to use between 1st September and 30th September) your account should always be in about one month’s worth of credit. That goes up and down a little over the course of the year but it should average out at about one month’s payment in credit. So if, after a year, you would have a balance of -£1, that really means you’re behind by about one month’s payment plus £1. Also, we would anticipate that at this time of year you would have built up a bit of extra credit, as we go into winter (as you have at the moment) since people’s bills tend to go up as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. I hope that helps! Please do let me know if it didn’t.