Change to my payments

So for the 2nd time in 3 months, bulb has changed my monthly DD to over £100. This time it is to ~£120.

My current DD after resolving this last time is £70 (up from £65). I summed my last 12 months bills and divided them by 12 and my monthly average use is £63. Im currently about £30 in credit and probably going to be £55+ in credit after this months payment.

The new figure of £120/mth that they have unilaterally imposed on me is £30 more than my highest ever mid winter bill. I have given them meter readings every single month over the last 2 years but they simply dont use them to extrapolate my average usage.

Bulb are not my second bank, i will not be accumulating a huge credit in their finances. If i have to contact them every 3 months just so they dont charge me far more per month than i have ever used mid winter ill just go somewhere else.

Whats going on with this?

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Their prices are going up, so they’re asking customers to up their DD. But their estimates are OTT, so the DD increases are excessive.

Lots of us are switching away as a consequence.

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Seems like a deliberate cash grab to me. Decisions made can be the only reason these estimates are so wrong.

Ive sent in my switch notification through uswitch. Got much cheaper standing charge on electric and similar unit cost. Gas standing is practically the same but unit cost is the best part of a penny cheaper too.

I dont like messing about, but when switching provider is FAR easier than stopping bulb change your average usage to a level WAY above what you have EVER using in a month, you gotta do it.

Bye bye bulb, was great up until 3 months ago.

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I was disgusted by the increase to my payments. They reckon i will spend over £8 more a month and want to increase my payments from £32 to £45 a month. I have tried to contact them about this but no joy. Looks like I will be looking for a new provider. I have heard Octopus are good?

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I dont think octopus are available in my area, they wernt on uswitch anyway. I moved to e-on. Im not even bothered if its barely any cheaper, i simply dont want to accumulate £400 in credit each year with a struggling electricity supplier. So going with an established company can hopefully mean i dont have to micro manage my account.

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I use the cheaper tariff club on Martin Lewis’s site. If you sign up for it, they let you know when you can switch to a cheaper tariff. Maybe have a look at that?

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It’s such a shame that it’s impossible to have the following system.

  1. They calculate a credit balance that covers one months average consumption. You pay that as a “Deposit”
  2. If you are on a Smart Meter that’s working (?) then they calculate your bill for the month in a timely manner.
  3. The bill amount is deducted from your bank account.

I don’t need to spread the cost of my bills over a year, and I hate being treated like a bank, like a lot of people on this forum.

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Hi @PaulMC12345, here is how our billing works:

  1. We calculate your monthly amount based on your estimated consumption for the year. This is your set direct debit amount each and every month. We take this payment in advance.

  2. Your statement is generated based on either estimations, your submitted readings or your smart meter readings. We charge your statement to your Bulb account balance. We don’t charge your direct debit for your statement amounts unless you specifically ask for your account to be billed in arrears or if it is your final bill.

  3. If your debit balance builds up to more than one month’s payment, we are happy to process a refund for any excess readings. This is provided that your account has had at least one actual meter reading within the last three months.

We do have the option to pay in arrears, all you’d need to do is contact us and let us know. We understand that paying in advance is not the best payment option for everyone.

I hope this information helps. :slightly_smiling_face:

Well, im in credit, provide meter readings every month and have done for well over a year and over the last 12 months used on average £63/mth. My DD was £65 originally, but a couple of months ago you wanted to change it to over £100. I complained since ive never had a bill that was more than £100, let alone average usage. My DD was set to £70. This should cover my usage and your subsequent price rise for electricity.

Im still in credit, and now they want to change my DD to £120+/mth even though ive never come close to using that much energy. Its a joke. You want me to accrue £400+/year in credit with your company. Simply not going to happen.

You should have started your post with “here is how our billing system milks liquidity out of our customers”.

Scandalous.

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TBF, they have a TV ad to pay for circa £50kpm, referral @£100 per customer, and bulb USA to get up and running(at your expense, somebodies got to pay for it)

)

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I have the same issue. My average usage over the last 6 months is circa £46, but they have just increased my DD from £58 to £78. My account is around £80 in credit too.

I expect my usage will go up a bit heading into winter, but not to that amount.

The cynic in me says they need to improve cash flow, but I’m not a bank, so I resent lending Bulb money. The only other possibility is that last winter I was using an electric car so my usage was higher this time last year, maybe that had a bearing on the decision but it sounds like plenty of other people are having the same problem.

I’ve just contacted them asking to drop the DD amount to something more sensible, however I’ve just read that they can bill in arrears on request - I may well request that! Totally happy to pay for my actual usage the time the bill is generated so I’m not building up a credit based on spurious guesstimates.

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Just got an email telling me my average winter bill is £84/mth so they would be happy setting my fixed DD to £84 going forward. Lets consider that they initially wanted my fixed DD to be £120+, and that half of the year im paying nearly half of my average winter bill, this is absolutely outrageous.

Im wondering if ingratiating themselves to people for a couple of years before pillaging their bank accounts was part of the business model.

Absolute cowboys.

They didnt respond to me directly until they got my uswitch notice. Id recommend everyone reading this looks for another deal immediately.

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I raised the issue by email more than a week ago, because Webchat hasn’t even brought up a box to begin a discussion.

Today I realised that customer services are providing some individual replies on these boards. So here’s hoping.

My position is being notified of an automatic c. 45% increase in monthly direct debit, but with a ‘minimum’ c. 30% higher. Unlike some I have not gamed the payment in advance system, generally having a month’s usage as credit on the statement date - which is the same date the DD is taken, typically putting me two months of summer/autumn usage in credit.

The ‘projection’ algorithm is evidently terrible. The ‘energy usage’ bar chart shows higher amounts than I have been charged so far this year… possibly a ‘correction’ reflecting the forthcoming price increase? However, it is also currently showing that I am predicted to always use less than the automatic DD set for this winter!

I know that that will not be the case, because it will be winter, but not by how much, because there could be a severe freezing spell or barely any frosty days. I have actually offered a 10% voluntary DD increase, but have had no response.

I find it insulting to be told I am a ‘risky’ customer that has to have their payments automatically ‘managed’ to avoid running up a debt. I am both willing and able to ‘top up’ to cover my extra winter usage as it occurs.

This is exactly the sort of high-handed exploitation that drove me away from other suppliers; I do not find it helpful or convenient to build up credit with utilities that hold it as ‘savings’ for me on inflated projections.

If this is a question of Covid-related cash-flow, Bulb’s policy should be to be open about that… and calling a halt to the £25/fuel and ‘refer a friend’ switch-bounty schemes as part of it would be an indication of good faith.

If there are bad/late payers chase them up, and don’t pay to potentially take on more. Do not apply a blanket policy targetting the reliable, existing customers just because it’s easy.

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Hi @GMA77, I have responded to your email, apologies that you haven’t had a response in the meantime.

Thank you.

I’m happy to share that my voluntary DD increase has been accepted and set by Lou, so I’m no longer faced by the algorithm’s automatic or minimum demands.

While I’m being indulged as a ‘low risk’ customer as I claimed, there’s no answer to the wider policy issues I raised and I am still on notice that Lou’s “system does advise [him] that this may mean that your account may not stay in credit and we may need to increase your Direct Debit at a later date.”

So, I assume Lou’s preformed an over-ride on my account, but the algorithm is still in place and running for anyone that hasn’t complained.

Help keep Lou and his colleagues in a job by raising any similar objections with them, and let’s hope that the CEO and other board-executives take the hit on having produced the need for extra work by the customer service bods with such a cack-handed policy change being implemented so cack-handedly.

They really should change the policy they’ve set and I’m taking part of Lou’s email to heart…

I would just advise keeping an eye on your account in the meantime.

:slightly_smiling_face: