Consistent overestimations

Im getting annoyed with Bulb estimations. After submitting so many meter readings over the past 12 months you would think you would have estimations close to correct, but it is now clear to me that your system must be set up to overcharge on purpose. This month is a great example… From customer readings you can see I am using around 3.5 units a day (data below). Yet in the FOUR remaining days of the month your system ‘estimates’ that suddenly I am using DOUBLE the amount at 7 per day. This is not good enough, even I could write an algorithm that could do a considerably better job than this. Every single month your system has overestimated by a not insignificant amount - this is not really acceptable. Energy companies have a reputation for using customer payments as a saving scheme but I thought better of the ‘simpler, cheaper and greener’ Bulb. Can you let me know why this is happening and what Bulb intends to do about it? Thanks

30-Dec-19 Customer Read 18499
27-Jan-20 Customer Read 18597
01-Feb-20 Estimate 18625

If you had submitted your January reading just a few days later there wouldn’t be an estimate used at all. Speaking purely as another customer, is this really a big deal? It’s not like it’s having any practical effect on your payments.


Welcome to the “customer” Community forum, which basically means none of the customers can give you specific advice.

It does seem somewhat odd that the estimated reading for the last 4 days is so high.

The system self corrects itself each month as you submit your monthly reading.

So an overestimate will at some stage become an underestimate.

Are you able to share your readings including actual and estimated for say Oct & Nov to see how the estimates play out.


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Hello Hooloovoo, of course it’s a big deal. It’s may not be a big deal to me personally, but over millions of customers its a huge deal. You must understand, it’s the principle of (accidental?) overestimating which greatly concerns me for two reasons. 1. It is used to increase companies bank balances and therefore profits via interest, and 2. For many/some individuals, bill confusion combined with unnecessary requests for more money, e.g. emails saying “we recommend changing your payments too XXX” could in fact be a major issue in terms of finances and stress. Not everyone is a) on top of their meter readings, and b) not in debt so could run into trouble. Do you see the point? You will find many examples of this. My girlfriend, for example, has recently realised her ‘recommended’ SO payments have seen her overpay by around £200 over the last year or so.

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Hello Allanr, I attach as my particular example so you can see the dodgy estimates. Perhaps the meter reading was taken too soon to the date when the estimation was made so it was ignored in the estimate? Will

I understand that you are annoyed. But you are annoyed about something that is beyond the scope of this forum and the members on here to resolve for you. R-

I do see your point, but I think there’s something you’re forgetting here. It’s not always an overestimate. There are as many instances on here (and I’d assume other suppliers) of people facing a huge unexpected bill due to several months of underestimates, as there are people complaining about overestimates. My feeling on this is that it’s likely zero sum and funding-neutral to the supplier.

Ultimately, it’s expected these days that people provide meter readings every month and in general this isn’t a difficultly. Then there are no estimates and the problem goes away. Not to mention the gradual installation of smart meters (the system problems notwithstanding … ) meaning the problem will eventually cease to exist at all. It’s probably too late to be worrying about improving the accuracy of estimates now.

This could just as easily be an issue with the expected annual usage being out. Now I guess that’s just another way of saying the estimates are wrong, since the estimates are based on the expected annual usage. But there are so many parameters that go into estimating usage that it’s difficult to get it absolutely right. Just this year we’ve had a very mild winter and I’ve used much less gas than might have been expected had it been very cold, which means I’ll technically have “overpaid” and will have more credit left over than I otherwise would have. But you can’t fix that without a functional crystal ball. If the monthly payment is set too low, you could just as easily end up not paying enough even if the readings are overestimates.

This is fundamentally just a problem with the monthly direct debit system that requires too many guesses to be made about future usage. I suspect you, like me, would prefer to just pay the actual bill based on actual meter readings as it comes in. But these days people seem to have forgotten how to budget and so need companies to budget for them, which is what brought the fixed monthly payment system into being. You can still pay that way with many suppliers but typically the tariffs are more expensive.

At least with Bulb you’re in full control of your monthly payment, so if you think you’re paying too much you can easily reduce it. That’s about the best you can hope for really.

Thanks for the measured response. I agree with most of your points. The only thing I dont agree with is that it would be a very bad crystal ball indeed to estimate that for 4 days at the end of the month I havent suddenly gone wild and played with all my power tools at once :slight_smile: I do, however, appreciate it is difficult to get estimates right - just perhaps should be better after 12 months of readings.

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Hi rogerbeschizza, its good to get on one’s soapbox every now and then! I appreciate you can not help me with such an industry wide issue.

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All I can say is WOW, apart from that I am keeping my head below the parapet

Thanks for the screen shot of your meter readings, I can’t account for the high estimated reading on 1 February following you actual reading on 27 January.

However this in part may be due to the inconsistency by you in submitting your meter readings.

To get accurate bills based on you supplied meter readings it means you need to submit your readings within a 3 day time frame prior to the date your statement is prepared. For example if your payment date is on the 5th of the month, you should send your reading on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th. otherwise, Bulb will have to estimate your meter reading, please see

Looking at you screen shot you have supplied meter readings a couple of days after the date they should have been supplied and in some instances there has been two months between your submission of meter readings.

To prevent a reoccurrence of all estimated readings in future I would suggest you need to submit your meter readings one or two days before the 1 st of the month.

You should be receiving a monthly reminder email from Bulb asking you to submit your meter readings.