How do Bulb calculate monthly DD

To other customers who have had the same experience as me, a copy for you to read of my final email to Bulb. I wont be boring you any more as I have had enough of their practices and I am calling it a day with them. Just to add that they sent me an email threatening to add an admin charge when I cancelled my DD - below is a pretty self explanatory response to their email. YOU HAVE ALL BEEN WARNED IT COULD ALSO HAPPEN TO YOU (ALREADY HAS FOR SOME).

Hi Bulb

Let’s get things in order before you go off at a tangent - this issue is down to you not me - read on!

  1. To add to your financial incompetence, lack of response to my communications you now are threatening me with an administration charge. So I now (in addition to everything else) have a problem with your attitude towards your customers which in practice is the polar opposite to what you promise on your statements in terms of resolving issues.
  2. Specifically - I sent you an email on 5/11/20 - please read it.
  3. I sent you another email on Friday 13/11/20 - please read it.
  4. Strange isn’t it - I cancel my DD (referred to in 2 and 3) on Friday 13/11/20 and “hey presto” all Bulb’s guns firing by way of a response on Monday 16/11/20 i.e. in super quick time, but still the silence continues in terms of a reply to 2 and 3 above. My queries were DELIBERATELY raised in good time (well enough in advance of my DD payment due on 01/12/20) giving Bulb an ample opportunity to respond and we could have reached a fair compromise to the issue of the appropriate DD instalment amount which was the issue I originally raised.
  5. Bulb operates a robotic correspondence reply system which has not been sufficiently well enough programmed to react to anything other than a simple perceived financial disadvantage to it (in this case the cancellation of a DD).
  6. Obviously you did not read, digest and respond appropriately to this customer’s correspondence (see 2 and 3 above) despite the aforementioned being VERY relevant to and leading to, my action (cancelling the DD). I have, ultimately, been forced to take this action as a result of your negligence in responding. Such action was necessary to protect my finances (I am retired and on a state pension) by avoiding running up a huge credit balance by the end of 12 months as a consequence of agreeing to go along with your baseless estimate of a much higher (and unrealistic) energy usage than any of my 7 years actual usage statistics which I have provided to you (2 above).
  7. One thing Bulb and myself do share in common is that I do not want to run up a huge debit balance (by paying too little each month) and I am sensible and financially responsible enough to manage a constant review and make the necessary changes to ensure that after 12 months neither of us is “out of pocket”.

I shall now look for an alternative supplier (you simply cannot be trusted - and I am not the only one feeling this way). I obviously will settle any balance due to you (and expect you to refund me if there is a credit balance) as and when the transfer to that supplier has taken place and the debt/credit has crystallised.

Summary of your performance - most disappointing and unprofessional.
Ian Bewick[date=2020-11-16 timezone=“Europe/London”]

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Did that generate a response from them or no? I am having similar issues. Very generic responses, asked for another space test despite having already provided one, still no answer as to how they are projecting such an increase in my spend per month. Even after my very detailed email proving how their calculations are inaccurate I still have not received a response advising how this came to be.

Hi Paige

Many thanks for taking the trouble to respond (unlike Bulb). We are indeed all in this together.
No to confirm they have not replied and frankly I doubt that they will as I honestly believe that they have realised now that they are facing a factual presentation of data I have given them and there is nothing to be gained by trying to argue their case any longer since it is based on fiction. I am actively looking to change supplier even if that means having to have a smart meter (these have apparently improved since their first generation and means that you can change supplier without there being a problem - one reason why I previously avoided them). NOT ALL suppliers are geared up to Smart meters but I understand those that are will usually offer a lower tariff as they get their meter readings automatically (as opposed to third party or user manual readings). Some suppliers (e.g. British Gas 14 month fixed which is one I am looking at) insist on the customer having a Smart Meter under the particular tariff they are offering.

Best of luck hope the aforementioned helps.

Kind regards

Ian

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Hi Ian,

I think you’re right. Once presented with factual data that they have no justification for they either go radio silent or reply with generic responses. I have now asked multiple times via various avenues for a full explanation and not once have I received a reply even attempting to explain how my projected usage is that high! £100+ per month for a single person in a flat when my usage has never been more than £55 ever (even during COVID wfh or last winter). I am waiting for a reply to my latest email but I’m not holding much hope that it will lead to anything positive. I am starting to believe this company are holding our money to ransom to keep them from collapsing completely. This, along with the shockingly poor level of customer service has already led to many customers like your good self looking elsewhere (I am not far behind) and I fear this will only make the situation worse for the customers staying put. Thank you for sharing your email as it was indeed helpful for me. I wish you the best of luck in resolving this and I hope our new supplier(s) will provide the service we should have received with Bulb!

Take care and stay safe (& healthy).
Paige.

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Hi again Paige

Great comparing notes. For Bulb read Tonik (who went bust).

My best wishes to you too in your search for an much improved alternative supplier.

You take care too!

Best wishes

Ian

Similar experience to myself with responses, non-resonses, delays, and un-answered questions.
Emails seem to go unanswered these days unless you complain on these forums about the issue or the lack of response.

My “smart” meters were installed April 2019, and had issues with meter number not being updated correctly.
Back then, Bulb responded to emails fairly quickly. I’ve just had a look, and I emailed in May 2019 with Meter photos at 8:39am, and had a response just 5 hours later at 1:47pm.

Then things started to slip - emailed 10th August 2019 about the same issue, received a response 23rd August, saying it can take a few months for readings to show correctly on the account. I replied to say it had almost been 5 months already. Nothing back.

I then received an email on 14th September 2019 to say “we really need a meter reading”, I replied saying I thought you were getting them automatically (as I was previously advised in May).
Received a response the next day (my email was outside office hours), and a flurry of back-and-forth on that day.
I emailed the 17th September to ask if it worked, thena gain the 25th asking for an update. Then again on the 4th October. Then received a response on 10th October 2019.

I chased up again the 15th, then again on the 22nd.
I called up then, and finally got someone to correct my meter serial number on the account, because it was never updated when the meter switched in April.
I had an reply on the 25th October, suggesting my IHD may need replacing and asking me to send it back - at the time I didn’t want the hassle, so asked if it could be my account settings that caused it to not work, because the meter number was wrong.
I then received a reply on the 15th November with a link to a guide on how to read my smart meter… :man_facepalming: At that point a gave up.
Account info still wasn’t correct, things weren’t updating in my account properly, and bills were still incorrect.
I filed a complaint in Feb 2020, got a response 18th Feb, then another 4th March.
A confirmation that the meters were commissioned now, and a request to reboot things to get the IHD working, and it was done by the 5th June 2020.
I was added to a waiting list for a new IHD then, but lockdown and working from home meant it couldn’t happen.

After the September price increase email, raising my bill from £60 to £172 because of all the above earlier issues meaning my account had bad data, I contacted to say I’m cancelling my direct debit (had a chat conversation where the person wasn’t interested, and wouldn’t accept the calculation was wrong - I had to spell it out). I received a call about that, and explained again why I cancelled, why I won’t be re-instating.
A payment re-calculation was already requested, and I was waiting for that to happen before re-instating my direct debit. I’m glad I didn’t, because that re-calculation was done and it’s still suggesting £172 with a minimum of £155 :man_facepalming:

I asked about the replacement IHD on 23rd September, and now we’re going through the reboot process, and a comms hub reboot was requested on 19th October.
Still waiting for that comms hub reboot to happen.

I’ve tried using a third party with approved access to the DCC, so I can see usage data on that third party app too, but the gas information on the meter is wrong, so the third party app shows usage costs that are 11x actual. I’ve queried that with Bulb and waiting for an update.

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@ibewick

You’re certainly not alone. I had similar issues, 3 weeks of being ignored, being 230 in the queue to talk on the phone so relying on emails that never got answered. It tooke writing on here and complaining and threatening Ofgen and trading standards to get a response and getting my complaint escalated via complaints email.

I live your final email to Bulb. Sadly my faith in them has been shaken too. What used to be an ethical transparent professional company with great customer service has turned into an automated overestimation and nanny state mentality of controlling behaviour, resulting in taking too much money from their customers “just in case” of a rise in usage. Like you point out, we are all capable of rising and lowering our monthly direct debit to match our usage whether higher for winter or lower for summer, or somewhere in the middle all year round to accrue a credit for the colder months. That should be a customer decision and not forced on us. I’ve seen automated bot estimates sent out to customers that is basically double, sometimes trebled their usage of both electric and gas, when electric only goes up marginally due to earlier light usage unless it’s an electric only household.

It’s so disappointing that they have not responded to you either. I hope someone will respond but, I do t blame you for changing supplier.

Hi Mcsurrey69 (Sorry that’s the only way I can address you but you did not announce your name).

You are the 2nd person who has taken the trouble to respond back to me so I feel that it has been a worthwhile exercise - thank you for that. In addition there seem plenty of others posting the same observations so we are in good company. I have avoided the telephone contact (your experience sums up the time that can be wasted via that form of contact) a email is a written record which can be referred to if things don’t get done (or turn nasty!) - that’s seems to be the way the world is going and if they don’t answer even the silence is on record!

I only joined Bulb in mid August so this is a super quick experience (3 months!) compared with you and one I hope is not going to happen with whoever I choose next.

Hope your search for an alternative goes well - as I said in my reply to the first customer who contacted me - for Bulb read Tonik (who went broke just after I left them in August) they started played the same “trick” i.e. unjustifiably increasing the monthly DD instalments.

Best wishes

Ian

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Hi Ryan
Seems to be that many of us have hit upon the same issues with Bulb. It’s simply unacceptable treating customers this way - they seem to out of control (going broke like Tonik?) We personally have not gone down the Smart meter route yet as we have heard (via the media) how many problems have occurred with using them. We prefer to work via the “old” way of submitting readings. In fairness I understand that “Mark 2” meters are more of a success than “Mark 1” in that if you change supplier there are not the transfer problems any longer and will take advice on that from “U Switch” before signing up with someone else and perhaps get ourselves up to date! But, and it is a “but” I understand that not every supplier is “attached” to Smart meters.

Anyway I hope you find a good alternative supplier because things just cannot continue like they are.

Best wishes

Ian

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I’ve already chosen an alternative, but am a little stuck for now. I don’t want to switch and then find it’s even harder to get things resolved because of how much of a mess my smart meters are.
Tricky!

Hi Ian @ibewick, my name’s Michelle, apologies for not introducing myself.

I do wonder if Bulb are in trouble. Like I think I briefly hit upon in my reply (or not, I’ve been responding to a few threads so might have done so elsewhere), I’ve moved and my issues started in earnest (tho I suspect some underhand activity last winter but no proof) when I moved house and needed to have my final bill settled. It’s finally been resolved, a month on.

I’m now having separate issues in that my new property has prepay meters and I hate that faff and disabled do struggle with top up. Anyway, that aside, that’s not Bulbs fault, I’m having issues now with bulb taking chunks of money off my top up! My very first top up with electric after using up credit leftover from my prior supplier here I had just over £6 taken off, and it isn’t standing charge accrual as I wasn’t using Bulb electric until that moment. Now, having just topped up my gas, I’ve had £5 deducted as “debt”. I have no debt. Not on this account and as any emergency is deducted the next time I top up, it’s either standing charge accrual, which seems a lot, or they are deducting something I don’t owe. Given the struggle I’m having getting anyone to respond to my electric prepay deduction issues, I’m.not holding my breath for a quick resolution for my gas either. :disappointed:. I’m on a low income, disabled lone parent and my budget is tight. The money I topped up, allowing for the amount I had used on emergency was meant to last a fortnight. As it stands, it’ll barely last a week now :roll_eyes::pleading_face:

Hi Ryan

As a result of your comments I think you are persuading me NOT forward with British Gas who (I understand from U Switch (just a few moments ago) advised me that they insist on all customers being on Smart Meters. I really do not want to be on “hold” with a problem supplier if the use of Smart Meter precludes me making a swift change. I am really sorry to hear of your experience it’s unforgiveable of Bulb. Are you on the original type of Smart Meter or the more updated one which I understand is referred to as a SMET2?
Hope things get sorted out soon for you.

Best wishes

Ian

Hi,

I’m on a SMETS2, and readings are coming through to my account fine, but my issue lies with the IHD not displaying info and the Gas Unit rate being wrong on the meter so using a third party solution to monitor my energy cost isn’t working out.
I should be fine to switch, and readings would transfer through the new supplier (I would hope), but I don’t know what switching would do to those 2 issues, and I wouldn’t want to make resolution even harder.

Hi Ryan
Many thanks for that info really helpful.

I’ve taken the plunge and gone for B Gas as switching suppliers and using the newer Smart Meters (you obviously have got one) don’t seem to present the problems experienced in the past -let’s see how they behave. I really hope Bulb are reading these exchanges!

Really appreciate your responses - my best wishes to you.

Kind regards
Ian

Hi Michelle

I am so sorry to hear things are a bit grim for you at the moment. We too moved house in August this year got a refund from Tonik who supplied our previous property until we moved out (and who a month or so later went bust!) and then we went with Bulb purely on the basis that they were our predecessor’s supplier (at this new address). So not exactly the most researched switch (Bulb had roughly the same rates as Tonik so we took the easy option) but given that Tonik went down the drain about a month or so after our refund we got out at the right time (unwittingly!). I understand that where a company does go out of business owing any of their customers that the credit balance is carried over to the new supplier (please check me out but I think that is correct).

We have never experienced top up meters so I cannot comment helpfully other than to say we have all seemingly experienced Bulb’s poor quality responses (and that’s if you are lucky to even get one) and hiking up monthly instalments which has all the hallmarks of administrative (and financial) incompetence and which will (unless they have a “sugar daddy”) lead to the inevitable downward slide into “Tonik land”. If you can find another supplier might be just as well to do so.

It’s been very nice exchanging experiences with you and my best wishes for you in the future.

Kindest regards

Ian