Headline of "2.8% rise" is highly misleading

Just got my email about the impending April price rise. Sure, the daytime electricity rate for me is going up by 2.8%, but the night time rate goes up by no less than 15.8% and the gas rate by 10.5%. So ONE of the prices is going up by 2.8%, but the average increase must be a lot higher. It’s 9% overall for me. That’s very hefty, which is bad enough. But it’s highly reprehensible for Bulb to try to conceal this overall hike with the email heading “We’re increasing our prices by 2.8% in April”. What happened to the much vaunted transparency of Bulb, the comparisons with the supposed deviousness of the Big Six?

How were you able to find out what your night rate is rising to? In my projection letter it just shows current unit rate versus new rate = 2.8%?

I am very disappointed to hear of this price rise I only changed to Bulb 3 months ago and was concerned about changing in the first place I thought at the time what if I change and then shortly after they have a price rise well I was right about that ! I thought the government were supposed to be doing something about the high price of energy what happened about that ?

I switched at the end of January and wasn’t made aware the prices would rise soon after I joined. Not a great way to treat new clients - I know it’s a variable rate, but it would have been more honest to have said ‘x is the current price, but we are going to increase them in a couple of months to y’. I could have made a much more informed decision. Now my first impression of Bulb is one of being misled.

Diefenbaker : the first page of the email you received yesterday/today (and should be in the “My account->Personal details” section of Bulb) should give the unit charges on the first page.


Bulb aren’t changing their prices for 60 days (they only need to give 30 days notice of price increases, so they are already doing this in customers favour) and they don’t have “exit fees” [aka “lock-in fees”] so you can switch to another provider free of charge/without penalty in plenty of time before the prices rises if you want.

However, I did have a quick check yesterday and out of the “online switch” providers on USwitch only ONE came cheaper than Bulb’s NEW prices: and that was by 70p/year - and I don’t know if they’ve announced price rises yet (plus I’ve saved a hell of a lot more than that with Bulb’s referral links: remember everytime someone signs up with your referral link you save £50). Disclosure: Yes, there were some “manual switch” providers cheaper (one saying around £170), but no names I recognised and a couple I checked just felt “dodgy” [“no standing charge”…“but there’s a hefty “monthly” fee which isn’t accounted for in the USwitch figures”] etc.

I know all existing members received notification that Bulb may increase prices in December (and I believe that new members since then were notified on signup within the 14/28 days cancellation period).

In 2013, Labour did say the Government should take action over energy bills but nothing happened ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/business-21600948/energy-bills-government-should-act-says-labour ) and earlier this month a report from MPs said a cap should be introduced ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43032248 ), but there’s been no progress on this (and the report did say the cap “should be temporary”.

Bulb does have a single tariff (most of the “big six” energy providers have multiple tariffs which look cheap initially until the promotional rate runs out when it shoots up- and USwitch said even their promotional rates were more expensive than Bulb for me!). And I get the feeling Bulb works quite hard to make their “administrative costs” (i.e. the money they have left to run Bulb after paying the electricity generators, buying gas, distribution costs) as low as possible: no/very little advertising, no/very little listings on switching sites (which want money to list companies) etc.

Sorry for a bit of a rant, it didn’t start like that and sorry if it has come across - but the up shot is, you are free to move away to somewhere cheaper (if you can find them)

I expected a price rise at some time anyway and I’m sure Bulb will be either the same, or less than the competitors. For bulb to make me worry they would have to add £30 pcm to my £59 to make it the same as E.on flat down forced upon me before I left them. As said, if I’m not happy I can go, there’s no contract.

Hi Richy - I’m not saying they shouldn’t increase prices (obviously we’d all prefer them not to) and of course I’m here because it was a better rate than I could get elsewhere. However, unless I missed something, at no point was I made aware that prices would go up so soon after joining. If they are only 2.8% then they’re still better, I’ve just got a slightly bad impression from the fact I wasn’t told this was going to happen. Unless of course, my joining rate is already at the new prices… :wink:

I am very disappointed to hear of this price rise I only changed to Bulb 3 months ago and was concerned about changing in the first place I thought at the time what if I change and then shortly after they have a price rise well I was right about that !

@Elizabeth Please do report back here when you’ve found a company that doesn’t have occasional price rises.

RichyB, you seem to have completely ignored the main point of my post, which is the fact that the figure of a 2.8% rise is totally misleading. The 3 unit rates I am subject to are going up by 2.8%, 10.5% and 15.8%, and the overall effect is an increase in my bill of 9% - 3 times the headline “2.8%”. I have fed in these unit rates into Ofgem’s “Typical domestic consumption values” (TDCVs), and the overall increases for low/medium/high consumers come out at 5.8%, 6.3% and 6.7%. My understanding is that the industry is supposed to use these TDCVs when quoting prices and price changes. It seems that Bulb has simply picked out the smallest of its unit rate rises and quoted that, hiding away their much bigger unit rate rises. If so, it’s sharp practice to say the least. If not, please explain where I am wrong. And please don’t just say that people’s usage levels and mix of energy varies, I know that, that’s why Ofgem puts out these TDCVs.

Agree it’s deliberately misleading. My unit charge for gas is going up 9.9%. Apparently the increase is different in different parts of the country. Will be leaving Bulb as soon as I’ve got my cashback for joining them.

We agree that we could definitely have made the email we sent to all our members better if the % increase figure was based on your own individual consumption and geographical location. The below shows how for a typical home with 3100 kWh of electricity use and 12000 kWh of gas use varies by region and also depends on whether it is an electricity only account or whether you have an Economy 7 meter. The 2.8% figure is an average for all regions and for the most common set up, a one rate meter with a gas supply.

Another factor which complicates things is, because this is only a change to the unit rates and the standing charge remains the same, that for higher users the price increase is more substantial. This is also the case if the member has a higher gas consumption than electricity consumption, as the increase is more to gas than electricity. The below sheet is for a member who may use 3100 kWh electricity and 24000 kWh gas, so double the amount of gas than the average household.

For anyone also interested in all the new rates: