High bill

I joined Bulb in August and have just had my statement covering electricity use 18/10 to 18/11 and it is higher than expected, especially considering the weather has not been very cold. If I extrapolate from that statement the likely costs over December, January and February, it’s likely that my electricity costs this winter will be higher than with Eastern Electricity. I don’t understand, I thought I was supposed to save money here?

Southern Electricity. It’s only been 21 years . . .

To work out what’s going on, you need to look at the base units.

What was your usage for the month in kWh? Is that typical of your usage?

Is the electric pence per kWh what you expected it to be? How does it compare to pence per kWh from your previous supplier?

And one last thing, how does the pence per kWh compare to what you could get now from a different supplier? Prices have gone up across the board, so while you may well be paying more now than what you used to pay with another supplier, that’s mostly irrelevant. What you need to consider is how does Bulb compare to what’s available right now from other suppliers?

In terms of saving money, changing supplier is mostly about minimising the cost increase, as opposed to costs actually going down!

I can’t answer your questions, all I know is roughly what a winter quarter would cost me and I can’t see that I’m saving money at Bulb.
Now I find out that I’m expected to have TWO months’ credit in my account? Which months? Winter months, presumably. That means they have £200+ of my money in advance.
At least with SE I paid in arrears and only what I’d used. This system at Bulb is complicated and time-consuming. Wish I’d stayed where I was.

The email I received today included the following:

“Your account should have some credit
Having credit in your account will keep your account healthy all year round. If it’s in debit, your payments might be too low. We’ll be in touch if you’re paying too much or too little.”

Some credit. Not two months, not even one month, but SOME credit. And I’m aware of the option to ‘top up’ which is never mentioned by Bulb in their emails nor, as far as I can see, on this forum. I was intending to top up when each statement arrives if my level of credit is insufficient to cover it, which it will be next time. Is this not going to be acceptable? I don’t want my monthly DD hiked out of the blue to a level that, looking at some of the threads on here, I simply won’t be able to pay. This is causing me a good deal of stress.

An answer from a Bulb rep would be appreciated, please.

I can't answer your questions, all I know is roughly what a winter quarter would cost me and I can't see that I'm saving money at Bulb.

If you can’t answer the questions, then you can’t possibly know if you’re making any saving or not.

Don’t confuse “the bill” with “the monthly direct debit”. The two are almost completely unrelated to any specific month or bill. You need to look at your PDF bills that Bulb produce for you each month and actually start paying attention to your usage in terms of kWh, and the cost in terms of pence per kWh.

Have you been submitting monthly meter readings? If not then all your bills will have been estimated and could be wildly out. No one can really give you any advice here if you don’t take ownership of your energy use and keep track of what you’re using.

As I said, it could well be that you aren’t saving any money over your old supplier. But you most likely will have suffered an increase that is less than you would have had at your old supplier. In a continually rising market, the game is to minimise the increase. The cost will never go down.

Now I find out that I'm expected to have TWO months' credit in my account? Which months?

Two of whatever your current monthly payment is. Not a specific month.

At least with SE I paid in arrears and only what I'd used. This system at Bulb is complicated and time-consuming. Wish I'd stayed where I was.

Bulb use the standard system the same as all the other suppliers. You make a monthly credit to your account, and then that credit gets used each time you submit a meter reading and a bill is produced.

If you want to pay quarterly based on 4 bills a year, then you should not have switched to Bulb. A moment of research would have told you this before switching.

I don't want my monthly DD hiked out of the blue to a level that, looking at some of the threads on here, I simply won't be able to pay. This is causing me a good deal of stress.

You have full control over your direct debit and can set it to whatever you like. The only time a change would be forced is if you’ve been underpaying for some time and have a huge debt.

Stop panicking. You’re making a big deal out of nothing. Just continue paying 1/12 of your typical annual usage and all will be fine. If it looks like you’re underpaying just increase your payment a little to cover it. It’s not complicated.

What an incredibly patronising response.

What an incredibly patronising response.

I’m sorry you think that. But it sounds like you simply don’t understand how the tariff you’re on works, hence the need to explain in detail.

As you say, you’re probably better off switching back to a quarterly in arrears tariff with another supplier.

I thought I did and perhaps I actually do and should not have listened to some of the horror stories posted here.

Perhaps you are not on a low income and easily worried by possible price hikes. Assuming that someone is just too thick and lazy to work things out for themselves is patronising and lacks compassion.

Perhaps you are not on a low income and easily worried by possible price hikes.

If you’re on a low income and easily worried, that’s precisely why you should be on a monthly tariff so that you can slowly build up a buffer for the expensive winter months. That way you don’t face a massive bill to pay in December and March.

Assuming that someone is just too thick and lazy to work things out for themselves is patronising and lacks compassion.

This is true and I apologise. But there really are some incredibly thick people on this and other energy supplier forums, so that generally is the default assumption.

I accept your apology, thank you. But it’s a faulty assumption, as assumptions tend to be.

At the risk of being called even more patronising - have you been submitting monthly meter readings? If you’re relying on a meter reader to come round and do it then all your bills so far will have been estimated and likely very wrong.

I know you said you don’t know the answer to the questions, but I’m sure we can get to the bottom of this somehow.

What an incredibly patronising response.

This discussion can go around in circles.

To assist with your query.and get you on an even keel.

  1. Have you been submitting your meter readings each month when requested by the email which you receive from Bulb? If you haven’t then Bulb will have to estimate your readings. If you haven’t been submitting monthly readings I would do so for the future.

  2. If you have sufficient credit to pay one month in advance for your entry then keep your DD at the amount it is already set.

  3. If you don’t have sufficient credit in your account then I would change your DD to the amount showing against “Average monthly usage” in your “Payments & statements” and if need be use the “Top up balance” facility if your account has gone into a debit situation.
    .

Yes, I have. And, no, I am not expecting to see the meter reader sigh.

Believe me, I know what I signed up to, it’s just I keep hearing stories that have shaken my belief.

The readings are correct. I have just somehow used more than I thought I had.

3. If you don't have sufficient credit in your account then I would change your DD to the amount showing against "Average monthly usage" in your "Payments & statements" and if need be use the "Top up balance" facility if your account has gone into a debit situation..

Just to add to what @Allanr has said - if you have NOT been submitting meter readings, then bear in mind the displayed “average monthly usage” could well be way off your real usage, either higher or lower. Likely higher than your actual usage.

But it's a faulty assumption, as assumptions tend to be.

Unfortunately, demonstrable experience suggests that it’s not a faulty assumption in general.

Perhaps you mistake lack of familiarity with stupidity. Unlike yourself, most people don’t spend a lot of time studying the T&Cs of various energy companies so they can relish insulting anyone who asks a question on their forums.

I have just somehow used more than I thought I had.

Is that the fault of Bulb? Would you have used less if you were still with your previous supplier?

No. My comment was an acknowledgement that I had moved on in my thinking. And now I’m moving on from this board and the insults hurled by the self-appointed ‘experts’ that infest it. Good evening.