New account and wrong tariff

Just received my first monthly statement.

I joined from a Big 6 supplier, bog standard single tariff. The quote from Bulb for a standard single tariff looked pretty good. Signed up in good faith - but now I find that Bulb have put me on Economy 7. Never been on Economy 7 and the house isn’t set up for it. So effectively and without warning Bulb are charging me an extra 2p per unit for no benefit to me at all.

Apparently I should have ‘refined my quote’ when signing up - but had no way of knowing this; the meter worked fine as a single tariff meter for the previous supplier so I had no reason to think Bulb would treat it as a ‘dual tariff only’ meter.

Not very happy at all - sharp practice

Just received my first monthly statement.

Apparently I should have ‘refined my quote’ when signing up - but had no way of knowing this; the meter worked fine as a single tariff meter for the previous supplier so I had no reason to think Bulb would treat it as a ‘dual tariff only’ meter.

Not very happy at all - sharp practice

Were you aware your meter was an Economy 7 version, this is a different question to the fact your original supplier charged it at single tariff rate?

If so then I don’t think Bulb was involved in any sharp practice.

As you go through the “quote procedure” it does say at one stage:

Useful things to know

Your quote is based on an estimate

Refine your quote to make it more accurate.

Further on it asks if you have an economy 7 meter

Also the Bulb Help pages at: https://help.bulb.co.uk/hc/en-us/articles/115003599971-Can-I-switch-to-Bulb-with-an-Economy-7-meter- says:

When on an E7 meter, members must be on a 2-rate agreement.

Not very happy at all - sharp practice

Hanlon’s razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Bulb seem to be having some trouble with signups lately. Several posts on here about accounts that don’t work and people can’t login, or emails that never get sent. Also meter information that is simply wrong.

If your meter is clearly single rate then I would suggest that this is simply a mistake. Possibly not even the fault of Bulb, it might be an error on the national meter database. Give them a call/webchat and I’m sure it’ll all get sorted out.

I was not aware that it was an Economy 7 meter - it was clearly capable of being so as it counts day and night units, but seeing as it was being used for a single tariff, I had no reason to think it had to be dual tariff. And not knowing this, I did not know I needed to refine my quote.

I would have expected a question on signing up - do you require a dual tariff, yes or no. It’s the absence of the question that is sharp.

I would have expected a question on signing up - do you require a dual tariff, yes or no. It's the absence of the question that is sharp.

During the quote process Bulb asks the question do you have an “Economy 7” meter, the answer is yes or no.

I see no reason why Bulb needs to ask if you want dual tariff since they have already asked if you have Economy 7 meter.

They did - and I answered no.

They did - and I answered no.

There’s clearly been a mistake here, nothing malicious.

The issue is who made the mistake. Clearly if it’s a two-rate meter then it needs to be billed on a two-rate tariff. To revert to a single rate, typically it would require the meter to be removed and a new single rate meter to be installed.

I don’t understand how your previous supplier was billing via a single rate. Did you have to give both meter readings and then they took the sum of the usage of both? Or does only one rate ever increment and the other remains constant, indicating your two rate meter has been configured in a rather odd way?

There’s something not right here and it’s not necessarily Bulb that are at fault. Is this the first time you’ve switched supplier? Or have you switched multiple times in the last few years and this is the only time the issue has ever come up?

I moved to this house a few months ago. Signed up with the existing supplier - Eon. Previous occupants had been with Eon and had had the meter installed sometime in previous year (smart meter). Previous occupants were on a single tariff and I signed up to same, before I looked at options for switching.

Yes, one submits two readings. Eon then charges same rate for each. It’s on the bills.

Having never been on Economy 7 I was not aware that this would be treated as a dual tariff meter only. Only realised this when I found I was being charged on the higher tariff. Bulb won’t correct this - I have been offered a ‘goodwill transfer back to my original supplier’, whatever that means.

I moved to this house a few months ago. Signed up with the existing supplier - Eon. Previous occupants had been with Eon and had had the meter installed sometime in previous year (smart meter). Previous occupants were on a single tariff and I signed up to same, before I looked at options for switching.

Yes, one submits two readings. Eon then charges same rate for each. It’s on the bills.

Ok, this is becoming clear now. You didn’t mention that it was a smart meter, and this changes things enormously.

A smart meter isn’t fixed to single-rate, or two-rate, or any-rate. It can be configured remotely. For example, I have an Elster AS300P smart meter installed by Scottish Power. It was operated as a single-rate meter, and continued to be so when I switched to Bulb. Just recently, I have switched to the Bulb smart time-of-use tariff trial, which has three rates. The meter configuration was converted over-the-air. The meter itself can actually support a total of 48 different rates, i.e., a different rate for each potential half-hourly billing period. If I decide I don’t like the smart tariff, I can simply switch back to a single-rate tariff and they can reconfigure the meter again. Previously all of this would have required the meter to be physically replaced.

It makes no sense that Eon were operating your meter as a two-rate tariff but charging the same price for each. The meter should be been configured as a single rate device when it was installed. Even if the previous occupiers actually did want an Economy-7-like two-rate tariff, there’s no reason why Eon couldn’t at any point have switched the meter back to a single rate tariff with only one counter register, and that’s what they should have done before allowing the supplier switch to take place.

The problem you have now is that Bulb probably can’t read your smart meter, so they can’t reconfigure it themselves back to being a single-rate device. Bulb can read approximately 1/3 of the installed SMETS1 meter base.

This isn’t Bulb’s fault. It’s EOn that have messed this up by having some weird two-rate tariff that they treat as a single-rate tariff. You’ve switched with a two-rate meter and so now you continue to have a standard two-rate tariff. In the first instance I would contact EOn and ask them what they’re playing at. If you don’t get anywhere then I think the best course of action is to accept the switch back to EOn. I assume by goodwill Bulb mean they’ll charge your usage so far as if it were all single-rate, even though it wasn’t. You can then take it up again with EOn and get them to sort out their stupid meter arrangement.

I’m sorry this isn’t really what you want to hear and is just more unwanted hassle.

@“Eleanor at Bulb” have Bulb tried to read this smart meter? Perhaps if you can read it you will be able to change it to being the correct single-rate configuration. If this query has got stuck at first-line customer support, perhaps it’s worth sending it over to the smart team to see if there is anything they can do before you lose a customer.

@ccc

This possible may help to clear the situation.

This is what EON says regarding Economy 7 meters;

To benefit from an E7 tariff you need to use more than 34% of your electricity during your night-time cheap rate hours.

If you use less than 34% of your electricity during your cheap rate hours, you’d probably be better off on our single rate tariff.

You can get a quote using our online quote tool, but don’t tick the E7 box.

Note the 34% figure is based on our E.ON EnergyPlan prices, and Ofgem’s average for E7 consumption, which is 4,600kWh.

I guess you don’t use 34 % of your energy during the cheap hours and presumably this why when you were with EON you were charged at single tariff rates.

Bulb don’t offer single tariff rates if you have an Economy 7 meter (ignoring the smart meter aspect) regardless of the split of energy use during the 24 hours, and presumably on the national database it would show to Bulb you have an Economy 7 meter.

Regardless of what us customers have been responding to your query only the Bulb team can provide the correct answer.

presumably on the national database it would show to Bulb you have an Economy 7 meter.

I’m not sure that’s true. It should show they have a smart meter. They don’t have “an Economy-7 meter” in the traditional sense.

I’m pretty sure the only way to solve this problem is either getting the Bulb smart team to look at it (@“Selina at Bulb”) or for EOn to sort it out. Even then Bulb might not be able to do anything if they can’t access the meter.

Hey @ccc

On the National database, your meter is registered as a two rate meter on the national database (PC: 02) so you will have to remain on the economy 7 tariff with us for now.

I am sorry that this was not made clear to you when signing up. We will certainly take your feedback and board and look to how we can make the clearer when signing up to Bulb.

@Hooloovoo we’re prioritising those on the smart tariff at the moment. We’ll be in touch with ccc if we are able to reconfigure the meter remotely.

@Hooloovoo we're prioritising those on the smart tariff at the moment. We'll be in touch with ccc if we are able to reconfigure the meter remotely.

I would have thought even higher priority would be applied to someone you’re about to lose as a customer. It might be a trivial fix.

@ccc I’d definitely be raising a complaint with Eon about this even if you don’t switch back to them.

@Allanr Turns out you’re right. i stand corrected!

@Hooloovoo

I’d definitely be raising a complaint with Eon about this even if you don’t switch back to them

Why a complaint with Eon?

Turns out you’re right. I stand corrected! :o

Why a complaint with Eon?

Because as I’ve said, it’s Eon’s meter that is wrong. They’ve left it configured as a two-rate meter when the OP wasn’t even on a two-rate tariff. The smart meter should have been reconfigured to a single-rate so that situations like this wouldn’t happen when switching. The OP is most likely going to experience the same problems when switching anywhere.

Thank you all for your input, it is much appreciated.

Hooloovoo, your detailed explanation does make sense – unfortunately I did not understand that Eon were doing something unusual; I had never had a smart meter before either. Then again, I don’t really see what is wrong with charging one tariff for both readings – and I guess Bulb could do the same if they wanted to.

I have considered returning to Eon; it’s not an attractive prospect – their customer service is as unhelpful as any other and I do not particularly want to spend months trying to persuade them to take action. On the other hand, I note your comment that any other supplier is likely to cite the same issue.

On balance I think I will stay with Bulb for the time being, try to switch house and lifestyle to be a bit more nocturnal and at the same time keep an eye out for alternative suppliers (looking closely at their Ts&Cs).

Longer term, if Bulb give me a smart meter, presumably they would be able to set whichever tariff I needed…

Eleanor@Bulb – can you confirm whether or not you can ‘see’ my meter as a smart meter? (it’s a Secure Liberte 100). Eon claim to be able to upgrade their smets1 remotely to a smets2 meter; can you do this? If not, when might Bulb be in a position to give me a smart meter?

Hi @ccc

Yes we can see on the National Database of meters that you have a SMETS1 meter (first generation of smart).

As @Hooloovoo has said, we’ll be able to read about 33% of smart meters. We’re currently building the platform to able to do this. So we’ll be in contact with you as soon as we know.

If we’re unable to read your meter remotely or reconfigure it, we will install a new SMETS2 meter. This can be 1 rate. James at Bulb has written a community post about our smart progress. Let me know if you have any further questions.

Sorry that this has been a hassle for you.

Did this sorted in the end? I had a smart meter installed before I left my last supplier to get away from an economy 10 meter and moved onto a single rate tariff. I’ve just noticed after the switch to bulb I have been out on an economy 7 tariff which is So much more expensive than I was quoted for single rate and I don’t use electric at night… very frustrating…

Not sorted as such…
I decided to give economy 7 a go - and by running washing machine, dishwasher and immersion heater at night, I reckon I’m breaking even.
So I’m still with bulb for the time being.