Erroneous (i.e. wrong usage calculations)

I joined Bulb on 9th September 2018. My initial charge was 74 pounds per month, which I was told in my Welcome email would go out on the 9th of each month. Somewhat surprisingly they took the first 74 pounds within 2 days on the 11th?? Since then - after all of 3 months - I am now being told that I should be paying around 174 pounds per month. Needless to say I was confused. I raised the issue with their help line who informed me that they use a 3rd Party to estimate usage, which they believe is really quite scientific and accurate… This was really confusing as I had already submitted many actual meter readings which they seem to ignore and proceed with their estimate. I explained that this was a rented property and that the previous owners had 4 children, meaning 5 bedrooms to be heated, 3 en-suite bathrooms being used and someone in the house 24 hours per day. By contrast we are only two people using only one bedroom and one bathroom and are out of the house all day. By my own calculations, confirmed by Bulb calculation and using actual usage figures, I actually owe them 24 pounds and not 174 pounds. Just what is going on? If I were a pensioner living almost hand to mouth, to receive a demand for a totally erroneous amount might give me a heart attack. My experience of this company is shoddy and shocking. Either the company is just incompetent or is trying to milk its clients whilst hiding behind Green Credentials. Unfortunately I do not believe that there is not anyone in their organisation that cannot operate a Spreadsheet. This leads me to the conclusion that there is more afoot. I won’t even comment upon the recent 33% hike in Gas Tariffs. Fortunately we shall be moving in January and will never have to deal with this shady, or being nice, incompetent company again.
So, so disappointed Peter

You’re confusing the monthly payment with “the bill”. Provided you submit your meter readings it’ll all work out fine. If Bulb are refusing your readings due to an overinflated estimate of previous usage, send them another support email with photos of your meters including the whole device and serial number. Bulb will sort it out.

In the mean time, you can set your direct payment to be whatever you want via your account dashboard. You have full control and do not need to go via customer support to do this.

@Regina1950

I’ve been a customer for about six months and from my experience Bulb don’t operate in a shady way. Having said that I think their estimations of usage are sometimes out of sync.

The problem at the moment is that Bulb can only work out an estimate of future energy usage for the property based on past usage for the property. This should become more accurate as you you submit monthly meter readings.

I assume before you joined Bulb you carried out a comparison using one of the comparison sites or using the Bulb quote facility. What parameters did you enter when carrying out the comparison or Bulb quote facility? In my particular case since I have lived at my house for a number of years I was able to insert my past annual usage to arrive at a fairly accurate figure for annual costs on Bulb.

I’m assuming by now you have had three statements from Bulb, are all these based on actual monthly meter readings supplied by you? If so then your statements from Bulb will reflect your actual energy usage.

Bearing in mind that Bulb require payment one month in advance for your energy use, is your account in credit or debit as showing on your most recent statement (I’m assuming this was issued on 9 December)? If the account is in credit then there is no need to increase you monthly direct debit. If however your account is in debit then you will need to increase your direct debit to at least pay off the debit element, or you can do a one off top up.

In a utopian world your direct debit should be set to the amount showing in your “Payments and statements” page under “Monthly usage”.

You can however adjust your monthly direct debit (which most other energy companies don’t allow) so that you don’t accrue too much credit but at the same time have sufficient credit to pay one month in advance for your energy.

Unfortunately I do not believe that there is not anyone in their organisation that cannot operate a Spreadsheet.
So you believe there's someone at Bulb who cannot operate a spreadsheet?

Hey @Regina1950

Firstly, I’m sorry that you’re unhappy. We aim to be totally transparent about the cost of your energy. Clearly, on this occasion, you have not found our communication straightforward. So we need to make this better to prevent other members from having the same experience.

I’ve taken a look at the spreadsheet you sent over to Nicola at Bulb. Thanks for putting it together. I can spot a couple of things that are not quite right which is why our calculations don’t match. I’d be happy to organise for one of our team to call you about the calculations?

At Bulb, we do take payment in advanced. We outline this when you sign up and in your welcome pack. The first payment should have been taken on the 9th of September. Occasionally, it can take a little longer to process from the bank. Your first payment was received on the 11th. I’m sorry for the delay.

If you’ve not been with us a year, the suggested annual consumption is based on the figure we receive from Elexon, the third party regulator. They calculate the annual consumption using previous meter readings from the meter.

If it looks like your current payment won’t be enough, then we suggest an increase. This is only advice though. If you’re on top of your payments and know that what you’re paying will cover what you use longer term, you can change both the amount and the date at any time in your online Bulb Account.

I can see that you have been submitting frequent meter readings which is great. However, your usage is greater than your current payments which is why your account is currently in debit.

I have sent you an email with an up to date bill. This is a calculation of how much energy you have used since joining us and how we calculated your bill. As I don’t have today’s meter reading, an estimate has been used. But it is based on your previous readings that you have submitted.

If you have any further questions, Nicola would be more than happy to help you out. Equally, you can direct any questions my way.

@Regina1950

It would be extremely courteous if the OP @Regina1950 could now publicly say on this forum whether their opinion of Bulb has now changed following the detailed response from Eleanor at Bulb.

Clearly if there were any faults they did not all lie with Bulb.

It is so easy to make possible unsubstantiated disparaging comments on this forum and just as easy to set the record straight.