Do Bulb pluck their usage numbers out of thin air?

So here’s the thing, my bill average over the last 12 months has been around £70 yet you send me emails saying my usage on average is £123 meaning my DD should be going up.

I cannot actually find a bill even across the peak of winter that got anywhere near £123 - so how the heck do you calculate these figures?

By the way I’ve now cancelled my DD and you can bill me in arrears, not putting up with these ridiculous requests to change my payments every month when I send a meter read on the 2nd of the month and have done since the day I joined.

Hi @MikeRolfe

I have looked through your account and can see that the payment review looks a bit off I am going to direct message you about your payments, as this is a public forum so it is best to keep account details private.


I have also been grossly overcharged for energy I have not used and am unlikely to use in the future. As of yesterday I am £420 in credit and yet my monthly bill is only around £110. In spite of this I got the following email : You’ve used £106.53 of energy since 10th October. Your account is now £267.71 in credit. We’ve attached your statement with more details.

We used your meter readings from 7th November to calculate your usage. Thanks for that, it means everything’s up to date.

Your upcoming payment will show on your next statement
This statement shows your balance after last month’s usage. We take payments in advance, so your upcoming payment of £152.85 will show on your next month’s statement.

So in spite of the fact that I am already months in credit you have increased the payment to more than I used and now you are sitting on 3 months worth of energy.
Are you taking the mickey out of me?

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I’m assuming your meter readings are fully up to date?

If so, cancel your Direct Debit and email Bulb to advise why you have done this and that you will reinstate it once your credit has reduced to an acceptable level and your monthly payment aligns with estimated annual usage divided by 12?

Hey @Andy666, your payment review is based on your account excluding any WHD payments. We’re happy to reduce your payments which I can see my colleagues have already done for you :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi @Andy666,

Thanks for getting in touch and raising this with us! I can see that you have recently spoken with a member of our team and had your monthly payments adjusted which is great.

The account has increased in credit since the pay review, which would also be due to the Warm Home Discount that has since been applied to the account. I have also taken a look through your account and can ensure that we have only billed you based on your usage.

We don’t typically recommend that you cancel your direct debit, as to get this re-activated tends to take anywhere between 4-10 working days. This would affect us from being able to resolve any payment scheduling enquiries in a more prompt manner.

I have sent you an email now too, so if there is anything you would like to discuss further, please do feel free to get in touch and we can take it from there!

Best wishes,

Hi @Andy666 with the sheer amount of credit you have, either get Bulb to refund you or cancel the DD and use what is left in the account to pay for the next x bills.

You can then either choose to restart a DD once Bulb have actually set your payments or go to the following link and top up online. That way you are completely in control and won’t build up a ridiculous amount of credit.

Thank you for the reply but your calculations are absurdly inaccurate. Could I remind you that under the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme the company has agreed to repay in full any overcharges but this has not been done? At all!

Earlier last year I noticed a huge surplus building up and reduced my payment. If I could have done so I would have reduced it more but the software does not allow it.

As long ago as 12 Aug my account was up to £420. The WHD was paid in on 9 October and since then a further £200-odd of energy has been used and paid for. I consider the Warm Home Discount to be used up, you can’t keep spending it.

So as of yesterday and in spite of the fact that it was agreed to reduce my payments to £95 a month a further £152.85 was taken bringing my balance to over £420.

What is more the company knew that it was taking £153 for a debt of £106 and has consistently done so all year. As I’ve said this is in breach of our agreement by which the company has agreed to refund in full any overpayments. This is hardly advanced maths and the company has a duty to ensure that only the correct payments are taken.

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Background - in common with a number of customers on this chat site Bulb have (in my case within 3 months of joining them!) decided to increase my monthly DD. I disputed the massive and unjustified “hike” and received what I can only call a standard reply back from them. As a result on 05/11/20 I sent them an email and( to add weight to my argument I attached 7 years of my annual gas and electricity usage figures (my actual usage figures). I then selected the highest gas and electricity usage (respectively) from those years and applied them to Bulb’s charging rates (i.e. per unit and per day)
This simple exercise showed that their proposed monthly DD amount would result in a huge credit balance (i.e. an overpayment by me) after a year.
Consequently, I have sent the following email to Bulb who have failed to respond to mine 05/11/20. I hope you find it self- explanatory. BEWARE PLEASE.

Good evening Bulb,

I replied to your email from Paul a week ago (5/11/20) giving reasons why I considered your proposed monthly DD instalment amount to be excessive. You have failed to respond to that communication by either: -

  1. Providing an alternative written calculation justifying the proposed excessive increase to my monthly amount which you had intended to start collecting on December 1 2020 or,
  2. Confirm that you agree with my suggested monthly instalment amount (using as a basis my working paper sent to you on that date) in which I selected my highest actual annual usage figures for gas and electricity respectively during that 7 year period.

As a result of the lack of reply this dispute is no further forward to being resolved and, consequently, I am no longer prepared to entrust you with the responsibility for collecting monthly instalments by DD . Please note the following: -

  1. Your invoices include the following narratives (more specifically, undertakings to customers) given by Bulb I quote -“Please tell us if you are not happy. At Bulb we strive to give you the best member experience possible. If we make a mistake or you think we haven’t done the right thing let us know so we can put things right.” AND “We will do everything we can to solve your problem within 5 business days”.

  2. Clearly you have failed in both these undertakings.

  3. Generally I am neither happy nor have I received “the best member experience possible” (far from it!!) in connection with this matter.

  4. I have advised you of your mistake and you have NOT put it right.

  5. I have NOT received a reasoned explanation from you (to my 5/11/20 communication) and that silence has extended beyond “5 working days”.

  6. It is quite evident from your “chat” website that other customers too are experiencing the same as myself and, in some cases, have decided to “leave” Bulb as they too lack confidence in your business practices and ethos.

  7. There is no facility on your website for entering a realistic DD instalment (your “minimum” cannot be overridden by a lower figure) and I am therefore “trapped” by your intended (and unjustified) hike and I have no other alternative recourse other than to take the action which I shall specify further on.

  8. Bulb does not seem to understand that artificially “hiking” usage figures in this way to justify increases in monthly DD amounts highlights to those of us (customers) who keep previous usage records going back over a number of years that something is radically wrong at the company (it frankly sends out the wrong message). Further, customers can see that Bulb’s “forecasts” are not driven by factually based statistics but by greed or trying to overcome cash flow difficulties.

The action I have already reluctantly taken (and will be taking) are as follows:-

  1. I have now cancelled my direct debit with you w.e.f. 01/12/20.
  2. Each month I shall take meter readings at the end of that month (first month November 2020 - 30/11/20) and pay the balance due on that date. If I find that you then commence to “hike” prices I shall have no other choice than to look for another supplier.

Should you not be prepared to work on this basis (having abused the previous arrangement) then I shall look for another supplier.

I expect you to email me WELL IN ADVANCE with the date on which new rates/calculations are to be implemented and those new rates: -


  1. The unit price per KWH
  2. The daily standing charge rate.


  1. The unit price per KWH
  2. The daily standing charge rate
  3. Any changes to the calculation to convert gas units into KWH.

This whole, very unsatisfactory, situation is one of your making (and avoidable) and I really cannot understand how arrogantly (and stupidly) the attitudes of Bulb’s management in relation to their customer base have descended.

Perhaps you will reply this time?

Ian Bewick


I am getting charged a £199 and going to get charged again this month. But I have noticed the meter reading I gave them is way lower than there estimated reading.
Also my account is still saying I owe bulb even though reading is miles below.
How do I get my money back as I am paying for energy I haven’t used?
R smith

Generally when I’ve had wildly inaccurate readings I’ve had to make sure I supply a reading the day before the billing date each month. That ensures their wildly inaccurate calculations don’t mess with the bills as much. By submitting just before billing you’ll get an accurate bill and statement of account, if you don’t it’ll show completely incorrect info.

Hi @Smithy89 & @Trikkitt,

I would like to give you both a warm welcome to Bulb community! :partying_face:

So @Smithy89 , to answer your question first. I took a look into your account and apologies that our systems recommended a payment amount of £199 and that it was taken from your bank account :slightly_frowning_face: We can refund the difference between that and your previous payment amount if you’d like?

I did notice however that your meter readings haven’t changed since joining us so that does seem rather strange.

Could you get in touch with us via email / live chat / any of our social medias so we can look into your account further?

@Trikkitt that is definitely a textbook example of what we recommend too!

We accept any readings within 2 days either side of the bill date, but we usually recommend a day or two before so that way we only use an actual reading and that way our systems don’t have to reversion the bill :relaxed: