Bulb management of smart meter issues

Since the meters were installed 15/5/19, the hitherto efficient and effective management of readings and billing has come to a stop in my house and from reading the many helpful comments on the Community Forum as well as the two Blogs, I now know it is nothing to do with me or my home.

During this time I have gone through being bewildered, shocked and disappointed as well as comparing to how similar large scale projects I have been involved with have been led and managed. Techie projects often go wrong, it is how the wrong is managed and corrective action plans communicated to customers that separates good suppliers from poor ones. Irrespective of the technical problems, for me the way in which the Customer Service team appear to not be supported is the biggest concern, over and above a lack of time frame on when bills based on actual usage without having to mess around with photos being uploaded etc., or trying to phone in etc.

It will take some form of communication, ideally a personalised one from the two founders to each of the circa 7,000 customers experiencing problems, giving a reasonable estimate (even with a tolerance) of when Bulb can go back to being a supplier no-one has to think about. That is to say, we turn on the kettle, TV, lights, take a shower, without even thinking about the wretched IHD or smart meter not doing that which it was designed for, and we trust the billing process.

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I am so disappointed with Bulb. No response to failed smart meter installation emails. I thought that I had found a company that cared. Used to receive update emails whenever anything was happening, but sadly no more.

@Bobbybenthall Excellent well written and thought out summary of the current state of Bulb.

+1 to this.

Now I’ve been a customer for quite a long time.
I joined when this forum was little more than a handful of posts, and I tried to help Bulb get it into a state where it was useable and useful.
I’ve been to their (old) offices and I’ve met and been to lunch with some of their staff (and former staff).
I’ve been personally thanked by @“Hayden at Bulb” for my help.
I’ve posted well over a thousand responses to queries on this forum.

I’m soon going to be going elsewhere.

I have a smart meter on my wall downstairs. In fact, I was one of the first to get it.
The meter engineers who came to my house came as three. One doing the install, one watching, and one marking the first on his competence. They’d never installed any of these before.
It took them around 5 hours on the first day, and they left without the system being connected.
They then came back again for another couple of hours another day and tried again. Basically the DCC were being lied to by Arqiva about how fit for purpose the long range network was in the north and it wasn’t going to work due to signal issues.

A few weeks later and meter installs in Leeds were in full swing. A few of my friends got them and they were connecting with fewer issues, so I contacted Bulb again. I confirmed that my meter was flashing to show it was now connected up to the DCC network.
I was informed that they could walk me through getting it connected up to their systems so I could be at least in the same position as everyone else with a half-working display.

That was months ago.

I’ve been ignored by @“Selina at Bulb” since the 18th March.
Now I don’t say that lightly. She hasn’t simply not received emails or not had chance. I know she has and I’ve been in communication with another member of Bulb staff who has informed me on a number of occasions that they have reminded her of my plight and been told that I’m being sent an email. I’ve even sent further emails (weeks later) to this other member of staff suggesting that maybe she’s just a very slow typer, trying to make light of how ludicrous this whole thing is.
I even sent this!:

Please can you tell her that I'm not going to give her a hard time for the lack of response or information so far, I'd just like to get the meter connected up if it can be done at this time.

If she’s been holding off on the hope that the Arquiva smart meter network will be improved soon so a fix can be employed with a greater chance of success (or any other sensible reason) then that’s also fine, so long as someone lets me know!

Again, apologies for contacting you directly but I at least know that you email me back.

I then tried a different angle, opening a support ticket about it, and through the wonder of their hidden support request page (https://help.bulb.co.uk/hc/en-us/requests), I know that it was passed to another member of the smart team, then picked up by Selina and then closed with no action.

Anyone want to make comment?

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Now I know what I posted above is just the experience of one, but it’s clear that nobody gets a better experience than anyone else, or if you do it’s completely luck of the draw and nothing to do with Bulb’s processes and procedures.

I then tried a different angle, opening a support ticket about it, and through the wonder of their hidden support request page (https://help.bulb.co.uk/hc/en-us/requests), I know that it was passed to another member of the smart team, then picked up by Selina and then closed with no action.

Remember that, according to @“Eleanor at Bulb”, apparently closed as complete/solved does not mean internally to Bulb what it means to Zendesk and everyone else, due to the daft way they’ve got the service desk setup. So potentially it doesn’t mean it was closed with no action. We don’t really know what it means. Not that this is any excuse.

I’d start looking elsewhere, but at least right now my SMETS1 meter is working just fine (mostly) on the smart tariff. To switch I’d have to find someone else that can read my SMETS1 meter and that offers similar economy-7-style tariffs. I believe the eight-legged company insist on installing their own smart meters, and I can’t be bothered with the faff.

I assume that my meter will continue working normally up until the point they try to migrate us all to the DCC, at which point it will all hell will break loose. At that point I may as well switch supplier since my meter wont be working again any more.

Remember that, according to @"Eleanor at Bulb", apparently closed as complete/solved does not mean internally to Bulb what it means to Zendesk and everyone else, due to the daft way they've got the service desk setup. So potentially it doesn't mean it was closed with no action. We don't really know what it means. Not that this is any excuse.
Yes, I do remember that, but it's also been said that some response should be given. I just had no response whatsoever, and then the ticket was closed.

What this does mean is that becuase there’s no official case open for it, Bulb hasn’t been sending me £10 periodically for their poor customer service…

What this does mean is that becuase there's no official case open for it, Bulb hasn't been sending me £10 periodically for their poor customer service...

The case might still be open internally. I recall “solved” means something like they’ve sent a response and are now waiting for the customer to get back to them. I think this is usually called something like “stop the clock” rather than “solved”. The idea being the time waiting for the customer to respond isn’t counted towards the SLAs.

So it’s your fault, you’re supposed to respond every day to remind them that you’re still waiting. In the same way someone with a smart meter that’s not logging readings needs to tell them their systems aren’t working, because Bulb are incapable of automatically flagging the fault themselves and fixing it before the customer even notices.

You’re just not nagging them enough :#

You're just not nagging them enough :#
I used to wonder what would happen when Bulb got to the size of the Big 6 suppliers.

Now I know that they just get closer and closer as they grow - it’ll just become the Big 7.

Oh bugger, I’ve just joined for my London flat, gas and electricity, because the prices are significantly lower than edf and sse Atlantic…but these comments might explain why my questions about the product in relation to Economy 18 at my cottages in Suffolk have received zero response…

Good post @Bobbybenthall. I am thoroughly fed up with Bulb. Phoned yesterday as the app is still not showing our gas usage from the last reading I gave them and no statement for the last quarter which was due on 26th June. I know there is an issue with our gas meter being too far away from electric meter, which I only found out after chasing them. Apparently we need a signal extender but that won’t happen until the end of the year earliest. I gave the up-to-date reading for gas and was told I would receive an email by the end of the day with bill figures. Yes I got the email but apparently the issue is more complex than originally thought. How difficult is it for them to issue a bill when I gave them the exact reading they would have got if my meter had been ‘smart’. This is the second time I have provided a gas reading since installation of ‘smart’ meters and despite them telling me the initial reading I gave them would show on the app, it doesn’t.

Don’t get me started on providing manual readings as the app does not have that capability once you have smart meters. You either hang on the phone forever or send an email which generates the standard reply ‘we will get back to you within X time’.

I am currently doing energy comparisons and unfortunately will have the same issue with the gas meter not being smart, however if I find a company that is willing and able to give me an accurate bill when I provide them manual readings we’re switching. Even if I have to provide manual reading for both meters it will be better than the black hole we’re in with Bulb at the moment.

Oh and of course the useless IHD which is neither use nor ornament.

For the love of god Bulb communicate with your paying customers that are keeping you in business.

How difficult is it for them to issue a bill when I gave them the exact reading they would have got if my meter had been 'smart'. This is the second time I have provided a gas reading since installation of 'smart' meters and despite them telling me the initial reading I gave them would show on the app, it doesn't.

Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

I bet getting a peek at their code repository would be a delight.

Exactly the same issue as Finty and everyone else on this thread and unfortunately the same level of customer service. Does anyone from Bulb read these threads or are we just in a pointless echo chamber?

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

I bet getting a peek at their code repository would be a delight.

They are currently advertising for a raft of s/w engineers… and yes would be nice to have a peek!

They are currently advertising for a raft of s/w engineers... and yes would be nice to have a peek!

I’ve been keeping an eye on that. Closing date was end of June. By my reckoning, three months to get up to speed on whatever the hell is wrong and start working out how to fix it. Then another three months to actually start deploying changes. It’ll be the end of the year at the earliest before we start seeing improvements.

And that’s assuming the new hires last that long. Based on the glassdoor reviews that seems unlikely.

What a tragedy, reputation destroyed by an utter shambolic smart meter rollout. Bulb was great when all I had to do was submit a manual reading. Now I have a smart meter, an IHD that has never worked and no monthly statements. As off today checking my online account they seem to finally be receiving Electricity and Gas readings, so a small improvement. But zero communication, and when you phone them, their energy specialists have not got a clue, different answer every time. Shame, as they have a good concept ruined by poor execution.

After 3 months of constant problems with my smart meters and terrible customer service from Bulb I have given up and joined look after my bills. £20 to you if you sign up using my link https://lookaftermybills.com/?source=marketing&referral=PAUL800801

I want to be fair to Bulb, and give them ample opportunity to sort themselves out, because I think the entire smart meter rollout fiasco is largely other peoples’ responsibility. I just wish I knew who!

I am however hugely disappointed at the way my smart meter installation has gone. I’ve just come off the phone to the Bulb help desk who were helpful, admitted to the problems, and reassured me that I would not end up out of pocket over any of it. I was told that I might need to supply manual readings for several bill cycles - so once more I ask myself what the point was of agreeing to this, and I shall continue to kick myself for doing so.

To add insult to injury there is a very annoying radio ad that I’m hearing all too often which features someone saying “thank you” to everyone who’s had a smart meter installed. No idea who’s behind it, there’s no mention of any electricity supply company.

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This article https://www.energylivenews.com/2019/08/29/more-than-a-third-of-smart-meter-users-report-having-problems/ amongst others shows it is an industry wide problem not limited to Bulb.

Why oh why didn’t customers read the multitude of threads on this Community forum before agreeing to have smart meters installed.

I’m sat here quite contented with the excellent service I am receiving from Bulb due I guess to the fact I have declined to have a smart meter and spend two minutes each month reading my indoor electric and outdoor gas meters and submitting them to Bulb for spot on bills.

This article https://www.energylivenews.com/2019/08/29/more-than-a-third-of-smart-meter-users-report-having-problems/ amongst others shows it is an industry wide problem not limited to Bulb.

Why oh why didn’t customers read the multitude of threads on this Community forum before agreeing to have smart meters installed.

I’m sat here quite contented with the excellent service I am receiving from Bulb due I guess to the fact I have declined to have a smart meter and spend two minutes each month reading my indoor electric and outdoor gas meters and submitting them to Bulb for spot on bills.

I don’t think you’d be so smug if you actually had a need for a smart meter. I appreciate that it doesn’t interest you and you have no need at all, but that doesn’t apply to everyone. Some of us charge EVs, or have solar panels, or battery storage, or electric heating, or all manner of other reasons why we need more flexible billing arrangements and the ability to monitor usage at a cadence considerably shorter than monthly.

Whilst I appreciate you provide a lot of good advice on this forum, and I understand you personally see no need for smart meters, that doesn’t apply to everyone by any means. The constant “why didn’t you stick with old meters” isn’t particularly helpful.