Bulb - sadly no better than the rest

I honestly thought Bulb was different to the Big 6, where my experience of NPower and ScottishPower, was that they were completely incompetent at forecasting monthly payments on the basis of historical usage.

Alas Bulb has demonstrated themselves to be no different. For 9 months I have religiously submitted meter readings on time, and each time I have received the satisfying confirmation that my account is fine and everything is on track. What a warm comfortable feeling that gave me.

In fact, I was looking forward to an eventual decrease in my monthly bill as for the first 2 months of the year I was daily using about 22kwh of electricity to charge my EV. But from the end of February, I moved to home working and the car is being charged much less frequently.

I’d heard that Bulb were bucking the current trend by actually increasing their prices, and so I was not surprised to receive the email notifying me of the price increase. For me this was an additional £22.12 a month; a 7% increase in my current monthly payment. Imagine my surprise when I read further down the email to find I hadn’t been paying enough each month and in addition to the £22.12 increase, they were going to slap me with an additional £55.46 ‘to stop me going further into debt’ (I’m currently £18 in debt).

It makes you wonder how this is possible. My electricity consumption, when I joined Bulb, was 30,000kwh a year. Sounds a lot, I know, but this covered main property useage, an adjacent rental property on shared supply and daily charging of EV. The rental property ceased being let in April and the EV charging is greatly diminshed. My own spreadsheet tracker show’s my forecast annual useage, using the previous 9 months data, is on target for 22,000kwh.

So I’ve reduced my annual consumption by 8,000kwh and then received a 17% monthly increase to stop me going further into debt. At the same time being reassured each month that I’m on target. The only conclusion you can reach is that Bulb undersold the monthly price at the start to win the custom.

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Hi @rbagworth thanks for sharing your concerns with us and welcome to Bulb Community.

It’s really helpful that you’ve provided a detailed breakdown of your usage and how that’s changed over recent months.

When you switched to Bulb we received estimated usage data from the previous supplier, this is based on your historical usage at the property and it sounds like we may not have adjusted our calculations based on the changes to your usage, as we’d expect a decrease over summer anyway.

I’d be happy to look into the change to your monthly payments and discuss it further with you, as your situation sounds quite specific. Let me know here if you’d like to do so and I’ll email you, or please send an email to help@bulb.co.uk

Embarrassingly, I have to confess to an error in my original post, I reworked my forecast for the full year, based on all the bills from Bulb to date (9 months worth) and I calculate my annual consumption will be nearer 25,000kwh.

With useage @ 63% day and 37% night, I expect an annual cost of just under £3,000, therefore giving a monthly cost of £250. Instead my monthly payment is due to go up to £388.24.

Green Network Energy quoted £260 / month against 22,000kwh, I calculate this will be nearer £280/month at 25,000kwh.

Doing a price comparison using Moneysupermarket, where I identify Bulb as my current supplier, I should only be able to achieve an annual saving of £342, yet when you compare the monthly direct debit that Bulb have proposed, my saving would be (£342x12)-(£280x12)=£744.

Somebody’s got it wrong, or I’m missing something somewhere…

The question that really interests me and it’s one Scottish Power could never answer, is why, when you receive actual monthly meter readings aren’t you able to forecast the usage more accurately? It’s not as though we’re talking about the monthly payment being just slightly out. And what is most infuriating, and SP was exactly the same, is that when you enter your monthly meter readings, it comes back with a confirmation advising you you’re on track! That is the part that annoys me most because that undermines the credibility of the system and hence my ability to be able to trust it.

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Assuming Bulb’s new Economy 7 tariff prices and 25000kWh annual consumption (split 63/37 day/night), I make the annual cost ~£3875 (both for my Surrey postcode, and for an Edinburgh postcode [since you mention ScottishPower]). Which equates to ~£323/mo.

I make that £295. (£260 × 25/22)

I think you mean (£388-£280) × 12 = £1296pa vs MSM’s £342pa.

Though you should be using £295 not £280, of course, which reduces your annual saving calculation to £1116pa.

It looks like MSM are working on the £323/mo figure for Bulb, as (£323-£295) × 12 = £336pa, which is in the right ballpark.

Your maths skills have let you down today :wink:

I used to have the same problem with EON on my gas bill. Despite giving them monthly readings for several years that showed my summer gas usage was negligible, they’d invariably insist on lowering the DD heavily in late summer, just as the usage was about to climb steeply going into winter (when the heating got used - duh!), and then want to reverse that in spring.

I think one reason (and there may be others) that Bulb get it wrong is that they don’t appear to allow for Economy 7 rates in the projected usage DD calculations for those of us on Economy 7 tariffs. This automatically distorts the outcome.

Schoolboy error on my spreadsheet for the Bulb calculation!

I calculate that my monthly DD with Bulb should be in the order of £328, so in line with Steve’s calc.
A call to Green Energy to confirm 25,000kwh usage, on their V8 deal (although this has now been superseded by the V9 deal), puts me on a DD of £270 (which I actually still think should be £280), but I elected to overpay and go for £300/month.

Job’s a good un!