From Economy 7 to a normal single-rate tariff

Hi everyone,

I just moved on a new flat with an Economy 7 meter with Bulb. I received my first bill today and I have found I’d save more by being on a normal single-rate tariff.
I have read that other companies allow you to switch without the need to change your meter (they’ll add the day and night readings together, and just charge the single rate for everything you use).
Is this something Bulb does as well?

Thanks.

Concetta

Hi @aliens

I have had a look and we couldn’t offer this for your meter but you could get a smart meter and then apply for a tariff change to 1 rate.

You can do this on your online account, by using this link

Let me know if you have any other queries. :grinning:

Thanks,
Mel

Note that one of your colleagues, @renee_n_at_bulb, seems to think this isn’t possible:

Hi @stevefoster

We can still add the member to the list to change tariffs, this is not yet up and running but will be in the near future.

Thanks for flagging this up.

Best,
Mel

Thanks both for the information.

That’s a shame you don’t allow to switch without the need to change the meter.
It is weird Bulb doesn’t have this option as tariff settings for meters are essentially handled by them, not the meter.
So all it is required is for Bulb to aggregate the usage and bill at the single rate (pretty easy and straightforward).

Pretty weird…

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I made the same point in the linked thread.

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@stevefoster
I totally agree with you.

Bulb is a great company but the fact they don’t provide you with this option is very disappointing.

I have been with them for more than 3 years now and I have always been using them in all the properties I have lived (I move a lot). Under these conditions, I am afraid I have to switch to another one that allow to change tariff without changing the meter.

I am renting the flat where I live so before installing a smart reader I need to have the authorization from the landlord. Plus, once installed I don’t want to wait other six months in the waiting list before the software to programme a smart meter is ready.
I could pay to installing a normal meter but again authorization from the landlord first. Plus, I don’t really want to pay 120£ for installing a meter in property and then leaving after 6 months.

IMHO, that might have been true once upon a time, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be the case these days.

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I have had a look and we couldn’t offer this for your meter but you could get a smart meter and then apply for a tariff change to 1 rate.

This just isn’t the case, as others have mentioned.

My Mum joined bulb with a normal dual rate meter, thinking she could combine the readings and be charged on a single rate (as she had done with her past two suppliers); she selected “single rate” when she enrolled, thinking that was enough. That turned out not to be the case, as she and others found out later when the bills came in.

She then asked Bulb what her options were, and was told (a verbatim quote from the email) this:

Would you be interested in a Smart meter?
If you change to a smart meter, we can then reconfigure your meter to a one rate after.
If you want to switch to a standard, single rate meter, it’ll cost £120.

My Mum didn’t want a smart meter, but she changed so that she would be reconfigured to a “proper” single rate meter post install, and so get what she thought she had signed up for (and also make it easier to move suppliers later without going through this again).

It wasn’t until she got her bills that she found out she was still being charged on a dual rate. That was when Bulb said that they couldn’t actually make the change to single rate with the new smart meter after all. Long story short, after much fiddling about, Bulb reluctantly agreed to charge her on a single rate and combine the two smart meter readings their end.

She now has a dual rate smart meter she didn’t want, that’s presumably going to look like a dual rate meter when she moves suppliers, and is being charged on a single rate using combined meeting readings Bulb originally stated they just couldn’t do.

That was all months ago.

Since then, trying to find out when Bulb will be able to do what they said they could do, and change the smart meter to a genuine single rate, just gets vague responses no matter how specific the question - no timescales, no explanation of the reason why this can’t happen e.g.:

At the current moment, we do not have a time scale as to when we’ll be able to switch tariffs as we haven’t received any update as yet, however this is looked into.

It’s a shambles… I have no faith it’s being “looked into” much at all, given her experience.

This might be a good place for Bulb to comment on the actual specifics of why the smart meter installs they’ve done for people on dual rate standard meters appear stuck on dual rates, contrary to what they told people before changing. If Bulb are really looking at this, they should be able to provide some sort of timescales as to when the issue will be fixed.

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Hi @c128,

Thank you kindly for leaving such a constructive reply :relaxed:

So a switch doesn’t mean that you can change from what you have, to what you want. We do have to take on the supply like-for-like due to how your meter is configured.

This helps to prevent issues such as some prepayment members switching to us but choosing a direct debit tariff as it leaves an issue where they would not get sent their top-up bits and face being without gas or electricity.

In regards to now having a smart meter, these also have to be installed like-for-like due to Ofgem regulation. We are in the midst of speaking to Ofgem to see if we can get a change in policy as this will allow us to change your mum’s smart meter settings.

We should have an update hopefully by the first half of next year (we too are eager for this), so that way we can perform change of tariff requests.

Apologies that you haven’t had a clear cut answer from us though, this is something that should have been explained more clearly.

Hi @Trevor_at_Bulb,

Thanks for your response.

Thank you kindly for leaving such a constructive reply :relaxed:

Just the facts of the situation Trevor :relaxed: . My Mum’s not in a situation to be constructive or otherwise, to be honest - she has no control over what Bulb suggested she should do to resolve her dilemma and then their subsequent failure to actually be able to implement it :frowning: . This conversion went over many email threads, over much time, to end up with a result that it seems that Bulb could have implemented at the very beginning (but with her now having a smart meter she wouldn’t have had installed otherwise, and doesn’t want if it doesn’t fix the rate issue).

So a switch doesn’t mean that you can change from what you have, to what you want. We do have to take on the supply like-for-like due to how your meter is configured.

Not something that was expected, in my Mum’s case - she was trying to change from what she had to the same thing, originally i.e. the configuration of the supply and the type of meter installed was never the issue, the billing applied from it was. My Mum had a dual rate standard meter with two prior suppliers and provided both readings to then be charged on their single rates. She selected single rate when moving to Bulb and then found herself charged on a dual rate. Quite literally a “like for like” move would have been the same: “both readings from the meter charged on single rate”. Bulb told her this wasn’t possible - I understand some other suppliers won’t do this either (and should also be clearer about this, IMHO, but that’s another issue). I suppose the salient points aren’t really related to that:

  • She was told by Bulb that if she had a smart meter installed it could then be re-configured to be a single rate - a route out of this
  • So, she went though the hassle of this, for a smart meter she really didn’t want, solely as it would resolve her rate issue once and for all
  • Bulb then charged her on a dual rate after the move, and (only when she noticed it and asked when the switch could be made) was told the change couldn’t be done after all
  • After more to and fro, Bulb then relented, and said they’d combine the smart meter readings on single rate…something Bulb could, presumably?, have done at the very beginning of all this :frowning_face:

In regards to now having a smart meter, these also have to be installed like-for-like due to Ofgem regulation. We are in the midst of speaking to Ofgem to see if we can get a change in policy as this will allow us to change your mum’s smart meter settings.
We should have an update hopefully by the first half of next year (we too are eager for this), so that way we can perform change of tariff requests.

That doesn’t really help my Mum now though - if she now changes supplier with a smart meter, she’s then going to take this dual rate problem with her and have all the same problems over again.

She thought the one benefit of the smart meter being installed (to her) would be to resolve her rate issue, as that’s what Bulb advised (months ago). That advice has also been repeated on this very thread…

So: she was also told (as quoted in my initial post) that her original standard dual rate meter could be replaced with a standard single rate meter. Now that she’s got a smart meter stuck on a dual rate, based on Bulb’s advice, how does she go about getting it changed to a standard single rate meter?

Thanks.

Bulb right from the off several years ago quite happily used to use my Day and Night readings on a single rate tariff so it’s not a case of ‘they can’t’ sounds more like ‘they won’t’.

Saying you have to transfer the supply as-is is a complete crock; it’s your tariff you can choose what you want to charge for day/night units so just have a tariff for people with E7 meters who don’t want E7 where the tariffs are both the same as the standard rate. It’s not rocket science.

Having said that Bulb managed to break my billing sometime back ‘due to my meter’ so perhaps the mathematics of [(dayunits_now - dayunits_before) + (nightunits_now -nightunits_before)] * standard tariff has suddenly become much more complicated that it was before

Similar situation with me , I’ve got a dual rate meter but I don’t need the E7 as I’ve central heating …Bulb have been charging me a single rate for both for a while but I’d much rather have a single rate meter like they promised me when installing new meters last year

Hi @c128,

I’ve sent you an email to find out a bit more around your mother’s meter. If you send me the details I’ll examine this in more detail for you.

We will soon be able to reconfigure smart meters between single rates and E7 rates, but initially we need to install them with the same configuration - something that as Trevor mentions, we’re discussing with Ofgem.

As I say though if you can pass on her details by email I’ll see what I can do!

Best

Oisin

Hi,

So…unfortunately I find myself back on this thread 4 months later :frowning: .

To re-cap: Bulb told my Mum that if she switched from her standard dual rate meter to a smart meter, they would reconfigure her smart meter to be single rate shortly after the change i.e. she only had a smart meter installed to gain a “proper” single rate meter, based on the advice directly from Bulb support that this would be the easiest way to get a single rate meter.

Here, again, is what she was told by Bulb:

Would you be interested in a Smart meter?
If you change to a smart meter, we can then reconfigure your meter to a one rate after.
If you want to switch to a standard, single rate meter, it’ll cost £120.

She’s heard nothing at all further from Bulb since the last update of “we can’t do it yet”, in December last year - no change has happened to reconfigure her dual rate meter to single rate, and no update as to when (or if) this might ever actually happen…

Is there any update on this?
This has been going on for over a year now…

Thanks.

Hi does your mom have storage heaters on economy 7 because if she changes to single rate it’s going to be expensive for her ?

Hi does your mom have storage heaters on economy 7 because if she changes to single rate it’s going to be expensive for her ?

No, she doesn’t - she hasn’t had a use for Economy 7 for over a decade. She did, however, still have a dual rate standard meter when she first joined Bulb.

There’s context above in this thread, but: she joined Bulb originally believing that she could just combine her two meter readings and they would charge her on their single tariff rate (as she had done with her past 2 suppliers without any issue) - there’s nothing that said this wasn’t possible, at the time.

After joining, she found she was being charged Bulb’s dual rate, and Bulb refused to combine her two meter readings and let her pay on their single rate. However, she was also told, as above, that if she had a smart meter installed it could be configured (post-installation) to be a true single rate meter and that she would then be charged on their single rate. She didn’t want a smart meter at all, but agreed only as it was a route to getting a “proper” single rate meter, and finally do away with all this dual rate hassle.

Post-install of the smart meter, after many emails, Bulb then said they couldn’t change the meter’s configuration to be a single rate meter (despite that advice to get a smart meter to do this very thing being repeated in this thread, earlier); she would still be charged on their dual rate. After much to and fro of more emails, Bulb finally relented and now combine her two smart meter readings and charge her on a single rate - something they could have just done from the very start, without the smart meter install she didn’t want.

However, what she’s now got is a smart meter stuck on a dual rate, so if switching suppliers she’s going to have the very same problem to resolve. However, this time she doesn’t have the option of having a standard single rate meter installed, as presumably they’ll refuse to replace a smart meter with a standard meter. If she knew this, and hadn’t been given duff information by Bulb, she would have just had a standard single rate meter installed.

Bulb’s explanation is that Ofgem won’t permit this smart meter change from dual rate to single rate - I’ve had trouble getting clarification of this from Ofgem. However, they should never have offered this option as a route from a dual rate to single rate if they couldn’t do it. As above, this has been going on for over a year now - no updates from Bulb on when or if they’ll ever be able to do this, it’s always the deflection of “soon” and “we don’t have any timescales”.

It’s a mess.

It certainly sounds a mess to me I would make big complaint hope she gets it sorted

Hi @c128, I’m sorry to hear that your mother has had a lot of back-and-forth with her account.

I can confirm that we are looking to be able to change our members’ tariffs between 1-rate and 2-rate in the near future. I’m sorry that we don’t still have a rollout date for this, but I can confirm that this will be able to be done.

Hi Lou,

Thanks for the response. However, the problem is that my Mum has been told exactly this for well over a year :frowning: - “soon” and “near future” are what Bulb were telling her in early 2020.

The fact is that she would never have had a smart meter installed if Bulb hadn’t told her that if she did this, they could switch her directly onto a proper single rate configuration.

What are her options here?
Will you exchange her dual rate smart meter for a single rate standard meter, given all the hassle she’s had with this?

Thanks.