Are Bulb charging the new high price for energy used before the price cap increase?

In five weeks Bulb have not replied to my query, now sent to them six times:

“Are Bulb intending to charge electricity used before the price cap interest at the post-increase price?”

As Bulb has avoided answering the question one has to assume that they are intending to charge us the post-April 1st price for electricity used before that date.

It’s almost enough to make you cancel your direct debit isn’t it? And that is exactly what I have done. Once they give me the correct answer (which is ‘no’!) I’ll reinstate my direct debit and increase it by the exact amount the energy cap has been raised by, 54% (assuming you are on a variable tariff).

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I sent in a reading on 31 March. Units up to then were charged at the previous rate. My bill dated 7 April showed the correct spilt. Where readings weren’t sent in, Bulb would have estimated. Therefore, there’s a chance that any estimate would include a higher useage after the increase. If Bulb have got the estimated split wrong, and you have proof of your 31 Match reading, Bulb will reissue your bill corrected.

If you have a smart meter there is no need to estimate or to send in meter readings as smart meters take readings every twenty minutes (as I understand it).

I want Bulb to confirm that they will not attempt to charge anyone the higher rate before April 1st whether they sent in a meter reading or not.

I’ve been trying to get an answer from them about this for five weeks. All my missives have been ignored so I am putting the pressure on here and on Twitter and indeed any way I can in order to get them to make an unequivocal statement.

This is not the Bulb of old and personally I don’t trust government appointed administrators any further than I can throw them.

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I wasn’t aware you had a smart meter!

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If Bulb have received a smart reading on the day of the price change they’ll use it. For those without smart meters, if a reading wasn’t submitted, one will be estimated.

I’ve got a smart meter and was billed correctly pre and post price change.

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I wonder why Bulb have not been able to give me an answer about this in five weeks then? It leaves me thinking that they are not being straight about charging the higher rate only after the cap was increased.

If you haven’t had a reply it’s down to poor customer service, nothing more sinister. This company is in the public eye and under the spotlight, so not going to attempt blatant fraud in the way you’re suggesting. Taking higher monthly payments than they need to, is perhaps another thing.

Bearing in mind Bulb attempted to increase my standing order by 110% when the price cap has increased costs by much less (54%) forgive me if I don’t agree with you.

This is not the Bulb of old, this is a Tory appointed administration company. You’d be wise to keep an eye on your bills from now on.

To find out more about how energy companies are unfairly increasing direct debits try googling:

“Energy bill increases: regulator to crack down on unfair energy direct debits”

There’s a big difference between unjustifiably increasing a payment amount and purposefully charging too much. The former is bad practice and certainly unethical in these times, the latter would be outright fraud, blatantly obvious and something they’re hardly likely to get away with.

As for the 54% rise, this is an average for dual-fuel customers paying by direct debit and is a unit cap which varies by geographic location. Electricity charges at the price cap went up by about 36% and electricity standing charges increased by around 82%. Gas charges at the price cap went up by about 81% and gas standing charges increased by around 4%. So it’s not just a case of assuming your bills/payments will go up by 54%, and of course ongoing usage is always a factor.

I’m certainly not condoning the fact that Bulb may be taking too much in monthly payments. There’s too many cases on this forum proving their algorithm for calculating monthly payments is far from perfect, so it’s not surprising to see customers cancelling direct debits and paying on receipt of bill.

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That’s even worse then. I only get electricity from Bulb. If what you say is correct then 36% is probably the correct increase for my Bulb direct debit. In no-ones world is it over 100%!

And if you Google that headline I posted above you’ll see that many energy companies are using the rise in the energy cap to increase direct debits by much more than they should be. Tory administrator-run Bulb is not alone.

Anyway after five weeks of trying to get an answer out of them Bulb have woken up and are now responding to my outstanding queries. I’m sure it has nothing to do with my comments here, or on Twitter or on Trust Pilot…

Bulb support operative ‘Jack’ has said:

“Yes, Bulb will only charge the new rate from 00:01 on 1 April 2022”.

Which I realise is not exactly the same thing as saying that only energy used after 31st March will be charged at the new, higher rate, but I am giving them the benefit of the doubt.

They have also agreed to my suggestion that my direct debit is increased from £105 a month to £160, which easily allows for a price cap increase of between 36% and 54%. However, they have failed to supply any credible answer as to why they wanted to increase my direct debit to £213 (despite my account being in credit for a long time).

I have expressly forbid them to change my direct debit in the future and asked that this request be added to their records.

So a result, but why it took five weeks is beyond me. Maybe it’s due to something Kwazi Kwarteng said…

Google:
“Energy bill increases: regulator to crack down on unfair energy direct debits”

Hi @SimonTurner :wave:

I am sorry you have not been able to get an answer to this.

I have taken a look at your account and as you have a smart meter we have readings for the day the prices changed. This means we will charge for any usage up to that date on the previous tariff which is lower than the tariff you will be on now.

Let me know if you have any questions about this,

– KT :bulb:

It has been pretty common for energy companies to use the energy cap as excuse to bank money by doubling customer’s direct debits (or more in my case). Our government have slapped their wrists over it and Martin Lewes’s money site is warning consumers against it too.

It is endemic, deliberate and not confined to Bulb.

Definitely not to be trusted all crimnal behavior like the rest of em .