Just switched to the smart tariff

Hello

I’ve just switched to the smart tariff beta as it turns out the meter (AS300P supplied by Scottish Power) is now compatible. I received an email saying they were checking the meter then around a day later one confirming I was switching over.

I understand that it is a beta but I am struggling to find out further information about it, the confirmation email states that “As we’re currently in beta, we might not send a first statement while your tariff switches. But you’ll get both statements the following month.”

As I live in an apartment block I wouldn’t be unable to get an IHD so, I’m wondering if I should eventually start to see the meter readings on the bulb website or are they only displayed on the statements?

Thanks

Craig

You should start to see daily meter readings (three of them, for the three rates) start to show up on your online account.

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Thanks that’s good to know. Will it take a while for it to be switched over? The tariff is still showing as Vari-Fair on my account still. Unfortunately I don’t have access to the meter to see if it’s been moved to the smart mode.

It’ll still say Vari-Fair. Most of the account portal isn’t setup to work with the beta very well, so a lot of the functionality is currently broken. Hard to say how long it will take, sometimes it’s straight away, for others it never seems to work at all. I’d suggest you keep an eye on it and contact customer services if you don’t see readings start to appear. It’s a shame we don’t have a more direct method of contact with the dev team to report bugs.

If you can get access to the meter at all, it would be beneficial to check if it’s showing 3 rates. Your AS300P will cycle between R1/R2/R3 on the main display.

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Thanks, I’ll do as you have suggested. It is a shame this sort of information isn’t provided by Bulb directly, no harm in being honest!

Thanks for your help.

I’ve checked my Bulb account this morning and can see the new graph being displayed with the readings from 6th November now present. Presumably then readings from the 7th will come through to my account tonight, at least it appears to be working!

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I joined the Smart Tariff in June and my energy usage showed the R1, R2 and R3 rates, however my dashboard showed me still being on the Vari Fair tariff. Also at this time Energy statements stopped being generated. When I requested that Bulb look into this for me, they failed to respond.

In October I dropped my direct debit payment to £5 and as if by magic an Energy Statement appeared within less than 24 hours.

The statement showed usage at R1,R2 and R3, however all 3 rates were charged at 12.60p /kWh, which clearly is not the Smart Tariff. This means I have been over charged. So I escalated this to a complaint. More than 5 working days have passed and still no response from Bulb.

I think this could end up with The Ombudsman

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The delay in responding notwithstanding, you’ve signed up for something that is specifically marketed as a beta trial.

smart

Beta testing

Beta testing comes after alpha testing and can be considered a form of external user acceptance testing. Versions of the software, known as beta versions, are released to a limited audience outside of the programming team known as beta testers. The software is released to groups of people so that further testing can ensure the product has few faults or bugs. Beta versions can be made available to the open public to increase the feedback field to a maximal number of future users and to deliver value earlier, for an extended or even indefinite period of time (perpetual beta).[55]

Whilst a product at the beta stage should have “few faults or bugs”, the expectation is that things wont work and may well require some time and effort to get right.

Whilst certainly Bulb ought to respond more quickly than 5+ days, and it would be great if there was a direct line to the devs for reporting bugs and faults, do you seriously think that going to the ombudsman is a correct and justifiable response to problems based on the above definitions and expectations?

If you’re not happy, ask to be removed from the beta programme and returned to normal billing.

It was only when I interrupted Bulbs cash flow by lowering the direct debit to £5 that a flag was raised and I got a response from Bulb. This leads me to think that it’s only money that motivates them.

Given that they are overcharging me on the Smart Tariff, why would they respond to a request to return to the Vari Fair Tariff?

I wondered if Bulb scanned the community for key words like “ombudsman”, “leaving”, “useless” etc. I would imagine that if a complaint got through to the ombudsman, the energy company would automatically be fined, regardless of outcome. This might be a situation they would like to avoid.

All I want is an accurate bill or an acknowledgement that any mistakes will be rectified in due course.

To be quite honest that all sounds like coincidence plus a lot of paranoia. I would suggest applying Hanlon’s razor, never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Changing the DD quite possibly overwrote something on your account that was causing the statement job to trip up and not work properly. I’d put money on what you did being the thing that suddenly made the statements work. That’s good to know, you should report it as a bug! It might help anyone else with the same problem, to suggest they try changing their direct debit value to something else.

Are you sure they were over charging you? 12.60p per kWh is less than the normal single-rate tariff for most (all?) areas. The mistake could just as easily be saving you money, if you had a large peak rate usage and insufficient night usage to offset it. Do you know what you expect your average unit rate to work out to based on your usage profile?

Because nobody is intentionally over charging you or ignoring you. It’s just a mistake. No company deliberately sets out to annoy their customers as a method of inflating profit. It might take a while to sort out, because in general the customer service is a bit rubbish. Having said that I do have to balance it with my own experience has been pretty great over the last couple of weeks.

I can only suggest you contact them again. The email address smart@bulb.co.uk used to get a message straight through to the smart team, I don’t know if it still does.

Once you get your meter reconfigured back to single rate, probably best not to get involved with anything flagged as “beta” again.