Is Bulb dumber than a smart meter?

Back in May this year I switched from EON to Bulb and am benefitting from their lower prices. I submit gas & elec readings monthly (I can’t have smart meters as they’re too far apart) and have been happy with my account since.

So, when my 80 year old mum received a letter from British Gas in Sept this year saying they were putting up her energy prices, I switched her to Bulb. She’s been with BG for several years, always had smart meters and has never submitted a reading or had the meters read by an energy company.

Her first communication from Bulb was to supply final readings, which I did on her behalf only for Bulb to reply back with their own estimates. Since then, Bulb has requested readings monthly, despite my mum having perfectly good smart meters. Now, each time I visit mum I take meter readings and submit them which are listed on her account, along with Bulb’s own estimates!

Despite several emails requesting Bulb to iron out this issue and start using the meters as they were designed, they have yet to honour me with a reply. My mum now reminds me to take readings each time I visit. It seems Bulb’s customer service is revealing itself to be a complete shambles!

BG smart meters will be (smets1) they won’t work with any other supplier

That’s ‘smart’ meters for you! Shouldn’t have got one if you can’t take a joke!:laughing:

It’s a long story, and very common for existing smart meters to “go dumb” when switching supplier. I’d suggest Googling “SMETS1 SMETS2 differences” and go from there.

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So let me get this straight. For someone that doesn’t want the hassle of sending meter readings, for whatever reason, your solution is they shouldn’t have got a smart meter at all. That improves things, how? How would keeping their traditional meter have made this better? Presumably you prefer having random people turn up at an 80 year old lady’s property to read the meter, or have her get on her hands and knees to do it herself.

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Before I left British Gas I had my meter read externally by a meter reader. The quarters where no actual reading was done they provided an estimated reading. If I found this to be out of kilter I would telephone my own customer reading to them. This worked well. Bulb requires us to provide customer readings or they will estimate them (which I have found to be wildly exaggerated estimates) and thus always provide my own readings now. As so many of these dumb ‘smart’ meters don’t do the job that they were installed to do there is no advantage to the customer in having one installed. The only benefactors are the utility companies and the manufacturers who have made a killing out of this stupid project. Reading my meters once a month is NO HARDSHIP! It also helps me to evaluate my usage so a ‘smart’ meter has no value to me. My ability to read my meters and to carry out basic arithmetic negates any of their stated ‘benefits’. The woman may be 80 but I fail to see how that prevents her from reading her own meters unless she is disabled and this somehow prevented her from doing so. My father did so until he died at the age of 103 4 years ago. My neighbours are in their 80s and they carry out their own readings too. Many others can do so as well. If for some reason she cannot do this then her readings can be estimated until her son does this for her. I realise that you have a habit of speaking up for the ‘benefits’ of ‘smart’ meters (I have been reading your posts for many months) but even you are getting desperate on this one. You don’t happen to actually work for Bulb do you?

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Don’t be shy Terry, tell me what you want to say!

True enough, but they will eventually. And mostly with no further visit required after the initial installation. So you get the experience of a traditional meter for now, and the smart functions will work eventually. Of course it’s not ideal, but it’s really not a huge issue.


What a staggeringly insensitive comment. I mean I have a reputation for being blunt, but wow.

Nope. They’re based in London and nothing would get me to move there.

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You missed the point. My mum’s smart meters had been installed by BG several years ago. I didn’t request them as they were already there. Which makes your post a moot point. She is disabled and unable to read her own meters. I’m genuinely pleased your father was still able to read his meters until the ripe old age of 103.

The point I was trying to make was that at no time did Bulb make it clear that pre-existing smart meters may not operate when ‘taken over’ by Bulb. The whole point of my mum having smart meters was to negate the need for reading them and forwarding to the energy supplier.


As I have already made clear many, many times if one has the ability to read a meter and to perform basic arithmetic (which should have been covered in Primary School) then a ‘smart’ meter has no benefit. What you are doing by agreeing to have one is to lose even more privacy and control of your life either to corporations or government agencies.

I may be blunt but I speak the truth. Unless an 80 year old is disabled they should be able to read a meter. I have arthritis in my knees and hands but a bit of occasional bending will do the joints good.

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Oh I see, so you did not have them installed then? I misunderstood that point. To be honest with you I would never move to a property with a ‘smart’ meter. You can always get them to rip them out and replace them with traditional meters, even if you have to pay them to do it.

If you mother is disabled then this explains it but you did not make this point in your original post. It helps to give us all the relevant facts Terry if we are to advise you correctly! My suggestion to you is to get them ripped out as they are clearly not fit for purpose and presumably SMET 1s?

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I’ll ask again. How will that improve matters to go to a traditional meter from a smart meter operating in traditional mode?

It would have the obvious benefits of eliminating any illegal hacking or spying by those who have ill-intent. It would prevent utilities from being switched off by a utility company or by a malicious government agency and it would safeguard against the health and safety risks that ‘smart’ meters pose. If they really want a ‘smart’ meter then the obvious thing to do would be to get it replaced by a SMETS 2 If and WHEN Bulb can get them to work!

So it wouldn’t help the current problem at all then. Gotcha. Good to know.

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That would depend on WHICH ‘problem’ we are focusing on. I take it that privacy and hacking issues are not a ‘problem’ in your Weltanschauung then? (I won’t mention health and safety as I know you will never agree with me on that point).

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I would like to think we’re focussing on solving the problem described by @TerryK. The other “problems”, either real or imaginary, are not relevant to this thread.

With you they never will be ‘relevant’ but I will not drink the ‘Smart’ meter Kool-Aid.

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Guys, let’s not fall out over this! Hooloovoo and skippy64, thanks for answering a question Bulb have yet to answer for over a month now.

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Ah, don’t worry, @wulf and I just have a bit of ongoing lively discussion :grinning: Sorry for hijacking your thread.

You’re right that Bulb don’t make it clear that they mostly likely can’t read existing smart meters when switching. They probably ought to add a note to that effect on their switching pages when completing the forms. Not that it’s any defence, but it’s quite widely known and published in the media that many existing smart meters more than 6-12 months old are supplier-specific. I appreciate it’s not necessarily something many people are interested in reading about. I suspect that the reason you haven’t had a reply is because your request to “start using the meters as they were designed” isn’t simple. It’s not just a configuration issue or something that can be sorted out with the click of a button.

You currently have only two real options:

  1. Move back to British Gas who should be able to start reading their meter again.
  2. Wait for the smart meter to be enrolled in the DCC over the next 12-18 months, at which point it will become readable by all suppliers.
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Nobody is falling out and your input is appreciated. I see that the censors are trying to hide my messages about waking up the masses!