Bulb seem to have ignored my readings and only using estimates

Hi,

I’m quite miffed, but I figure some context may be needed to explain as my prior dealings with bulb support have been less than satisfying. I’ll try to keep things short as I can.

I moved house on 2021-02-10 and decided to go with bulb because I used to use them at another flat I rented and they used to be good, and because a price comparison site claimed they would be cheaper.

Prior to moving in, I visited the property and asked the landlord what type of meter the electric was on and whether it was an Economy 7 meter, they said it was a smart meter and not Economy 7, but when I went to look at it, I saw it had two switches labelled ‘peak’ and ‘off-peak’ (though odd-peak one is set to off) and the meter read Rate 01. The landlord, fantastic as they are, didn’t seem to be the most technically minded as they were under the impression that Sky broadband didn’t require a landline. I assumed that they were slightly mistaken and it was an Economy 7 meter, and signed up to bulb as Economy 7 - I’m not that experienced with these different types of meters but everything seemed to point to Economy 7.

Time rolls around to moving in and the landlord is quite adamant that the meter is not Economy 7, I can’t get a second reading up on the meter no matter what I tried and I started thinking they may in-fact be right. This becomes more urgent when I get a e-mail asking for a first meter reading and so I tried to contact bulb on 2021-02-23 and explain that actually I think I made a mistake and I don’t think this is an Economy 7 meter.
I was convinced of this as I couldn’t get a second reading up - despite following the meter reading guid on the bulb website. I could only get ‘Rate 01’ and a Total reading with several button presses which wasn’t much higher, but no ‘Rate 02’ anywhere to be found.

What followed was a very unhelpful e-mail chain where I was asked to send a picture of the meter (which I did, the photo taken on 2021-02-15, with a ‘Rate 01’ reading on it of 1795 clearly displayed), and then they asked if I had an IHD (which there was, left over from the old supplier, which would power up but wouldn’t connect, no matter what).
After not receiving a response from customer support for a week I chased and I was told it I could choose a £30 charge to be sent a new IHD on 2021-03-15, I declined.
I then asked if I could just take my readings off my meter. I was given a link to the meter reading guide (again, which suggests a method that doesn’t work, and only gives the total reading or Rate 01). I didn’t bother to reply at that stage and went it alone. Despite being advised not to by the website I was desperate to submit a reading of some sort as it was now 2021-03-26. So I got a second reading by subtracting ‘Rate 01’ from the total reading and got 444. Fair enough, it’d do, as I’d wasted so much time going down the IHD rabbit hole.

I eventually found a youtube guide which actually showed how to get Rate 02 up, it requires holding down buttons for several seconds to get it.

Now on to the billing/meter issues.

Except for my first calculation for ‘Rate 02’ on 2021-03-26, for 444, every reading I’ve ever submitted, including today’s ‘Rate 2’ has been 442. I have submitted this reading three times, each time submitting a photo of both meter readings with the whole meter shown in all of them. I have received ‘Thank you for your meter readings’ e-mails for each one.

Question 1: Why haven’t any of these readings (on 2021-03-26 been accepted, despite the photographic evidence I’ve sent?
Question 2a: How is it possible that my second meter reading hasn’t moved by a single unit in coming up to two months now despite having an electric water heater, fridge, freezer, router running and having a few late weekends nights using a PC? Not a single unit?!
Question 2b: Could the meter in-fact be functioning as a non Economy 7 meter, despite giving a Rate 02 reading (that has never actually moved since I’ve seen it). Making the Rate 2 charges I’ve had since moving in wrong?
Question 3a: Why have I been charged twice for March (2021-02-28 to 2021-03-27)? Once on 2021-03-28, and then again on 2021-04-10?
Question 3b: Even though there is a credit note refunding the first of those bills, why has that suddenly made my projected energy usage jump from £777 to £1041?
Question 3c: Won’t that increased energy projection now be buggering me on every bill? Especially as you are refusing to accept my customer energy readings, and only using made up estimates?
Question 4: How did you estimate my 2021-02-27 Rate 01 reading at 1489 after I sent your customer support a picture that they requested of my meter, clearly showing a Rate 01 of 1795 on 2021-02-24?
Question 5: Why is my 2021-04-06 recorded reading stating a customer Rate 02 reading of 444, when on that date I actually submitted a reading of 442?
Question 6: I have an old picture of the Rate 01 reading from 2021-02-08 (From just before I moved in). Can that not be accepted, despite not having a Rate 02 reading with it due to the runaround I was given by your customer support? It states a Rate 01 of 01566 which is nearly 100 units higher than your first estimate you dealt me of 1489.

I’m don’t want to be making a strop but I am taking this to a public forum as from experience your customer support hasn’t impressed me since I’ve returned - and I have doubts I’d get a proper answer in that avenue. I can repost any photos you want, here or via e-mail? Though there are quite a few of them.

Hey @amputret :relaxed:

Welcome to Community! Sorry to hear about the back and forth with your economy 7 meter! I’m glad to hear you’ve managed to find the readings though.

So just to confirm- the 442 reading doesn’t ever move?

I’ll answer the questions below.

1.The reason the reading won’t have been automatically accepted is because along with your meter readings we use estimated annual consumption (EAC) to produce estimates if there are months you don’t submit a reading. Your billing date is the 28th of each month, so we need a reading submitted 1-2 days before to avoid using estimates.

So for example, you submitted a reading on 6th April of 444 for the night reading, and another on 17/05/21 of 442. In between that, as you’re billed on the 28th, estimates were used. This is based from the EAC which at the moment predicts there will be use on the night reading of the meter. This produced an estimate of 490 following from the 444 read, so when you tried to submit 442 not only is it lower than what you should have used on a night rate expectedly, but lower than your actual last reading submitted so the system picks up something is wrong.

2a and b. In regards to your second rate not moving ever- can you ask the landlord whether a previous supplier billed them on a 1 rate or 2 rate, or if you have a copy of that bill it would be helpful. We can then investigate further into this for sure!

3 a-c. You haven’t been charged twice. The statement for March was issued and then subsequently corrected due to the updated meter readings being given. This means, when a statement is corrected, we refunded the previous bill onto your account and rebilled correctly. You’ll be able to see this in the Bulb Account as a credit added under ‘statement correction’ for the same amount the previous bill was, and then a bill for that period again.

In terms of your projected use, I can see you were sent tariff change email on 17/3/2021 confirming their estimated annual cost is changing from £710.92 to £781.12 per year. I can’t see a message about £1041- where was this? The estimated monthly use on the account looks correct to me under the suggested payment amount.

4.When switching to a new supplier, meter readings are sent off to the industry to be validated. For example on 09/02/21 we received reads of 1306 and 269 from the previous supplier, so the estimated first reads took this into account. If we don’t receive readings submitted to us via the Bulb Account then estimates are used based from the information the industry has available. If you sent us a photo of 1795 after the switch happened, we would have to raise a dispute instead and can’t unilaterally change it as the old supplier needs to also change their last reading.

5.That reading on 06/04 was submitted through the Bulb Account so perhaps it was a typo when you submitted it. We can change it if its 442 and this was a mistake its not a problem.

6.As I mentioned in Q4 above, we would need to raise a dispute as we can’t just change the reading. This is because the old supplier will be using our opening reading as their last reading and we need to ensure both suppliers use the same to make sure energy isn’t paid for twice.

I’ve emailed you a copy of this response as I think it will be easier to continue the conversation there to make sure we can get all the information we need- as you said there’s quite a few photos! Pop me a reply and we’ll be happy to help further.

– H :bulb:

Hi Holly,

I sent a reply via e-mail 5 days ago as requested and have yet to hear back from you?

Hi @amputret :wave:

Apologies for the delay. Your email was received on another thread, rather than in direct response to Holly’s email, so this was missed. Holly has now got this and will get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks,
Cara