Initial UX feedback


here’s my experience so far.

  1. VERY MINOR - Email notifications sequence
    Both Gas & electricity readings provided on 26th of August 2018 at 10:05 AM, yet your system triggered a notification “It’s time to for your first meter reading” at 08:43 PM.

  2. MEDIUM - I deliberately initiated a Switch in beginning of the August so that you have enough time to settle it. It generated assurances that the switch will finish in august and the first payment will process in August. Yet after 1.5 weeks it changed to first of september with me leaving a gap in montly utility payments. I don;t like systems messing up my established cashflow.

  3. MAJOR - I asked - as a condition to join - if thesystem will provide an option to pay out-of-order manual payments initiated on my own for the purpose of winter top-up or anytime I feel I need to pay more. I thought this option is not available when I was logging in because the switch did not complete yet. However it did now and I still do not see the option when I go to payments.

  4. CRITICAL and I AM PISSED OFF - when I logged in to the web for the first time, I provided details of my circumstances and the system estimated the monthly usage to 86 GBP. To my suprise when I logged in the first time AFTER succesful switch, it now suddenly warns me my amount of £86 is low and it should be £120. What the hell is happening? What was the point of this Switch exercise if my average spending at my previous provider was basically the same £120? Did you just pull off a design/UX dark-pattern?

I can get over 1) and 2) but not 3) and 4).

I really hope switching was not a mistake.

Without knowing the exact details and purely as a another customer:

  1. The email issue was a one off during the joining phase.

  2. When did you join Bulb as normally the switch takes place 21 days later? Bulb take payment in advance, so if your switch was on 1 September the first direct debit would also be taken on the same day. Once the first direct debit has been taken you can then change the date of future direct debits not to mess up your cashflow.

  3. Of course you can top up, please see the “Payments and Statements” section in your dashboard account.

  4. Personally I ignore what Bulb are telling me to pay.

I know what my energy usage in kWh is likely to be for the next rolling 12 months (based on my previous 12 months usage). From this I can calculate my annual estimated cost (using a simple spreadsheet) . I then set my own monthly direct debit payments so that over the next 12 months it will more less remain constant, with the idea that my account is not too much in credit or debit.

I submit monthly meter readings to Bulb just prior to bill preparation which mean I have accurate bills and I know exactly what I need to pay.

Four months into being a Bulb customer without any issues.

I didn’t have this flexibility with my two previous suppliers (both were the big six).

I doubt switching will be a mistake.

Hi @KristianAngyal - Thanks for flagging your issues to us. I’ll echo a lot of @Allanr 's points, for Number 2, we only offer standard direct debit dates between the 1st and the 28th to ensure none are missed in the month’s that don’t have 31 days. I’d be more than happy to change the date for this, let me know if you’d like me to shoot you an e-mail.

Your Bulb account allows you to do one-off payments whenever you liked - if you still can’t see this after Allanr’s advice I can have a look for you about this as well.

As for Number 4, it’s an issue we’re working on. Our quotes are based off the average usage for a home of your size in your area of the country (if you didn’t refine your quote). We’ve been having some issues with suggested payment amounts being quite a bit outside what we’ve quoted early in a member’s journey with us, and we’re working on fixes. We aren’t trying to be dishonest, it would only lead to shortfalls for us when we try to buy energy in advance if we quoted everyone poorly.

Let me know if you want to go over anything else, and I’ll feed your experience back to the design & engineering teams.

Hi Bill,

thanks for the reply. I don’t mind when there are issues (nobody’s perfect), as long as there’s willingness to address them.

I have something else. In good tradition, the old utility provider messed up the switch. They simply did not initiate all the processes related to a customer leaving them. As a result, they took a Direct Debit payment in September as well. Now not only they owe me the built-up credit but an onerous payment as well.
They say they can’t prepare the final bill and return money owed because Bulb supposedly only provided one of the readings (either gas or electricity) and not the other one. How convenient for them.

Could you please check that for me and send them the other reading if that’s the case? And also let me know the status of this problem once investigated (and resolved)?

Thank you.

Hiya @KristianAngyal, I’ve had a look at your account and it looks like the electric reading is still outstanding. What that means is that we’ve sent it out for validation, but it hasn’t been validated yet and sent to your old supplier. These validation steps are to make sure that your previous supplier and Bulb use the exact same readings to close/open your account. We’ve sent it out though. These are usually sorted 2-3 weeks after the switch, but Ofgem allows 6 weeks for these (though it’s admittedly rare that it takes this long).

We can send chasers regarding this, but since we’re within the allowed timeframe for this at the moment they have no obligation to prioritise this.

Cool… I kind of resigned to the fact that although the resolution process at large utility and telecom providers is designed with fairness in mind (thanks to legislation obviously), it is not forcing them to be efficient and automate things. It’s literaly designed with a huge bureaucracy in mind, stacks of papers on everyone desk, 30 days here, 45 days there. Insanity.