Not A Happy New Customer

I switched to Bulb in December 2017. I supplied meter readings as requested to close my previous supplier account . On 9th January, I receive my final bill and discover that they have used a higher estimated Gas reading but used the reading I provided for the Electricity. I contact Bulb to advise them of the issue. My previous supplier then refunds to me the balance of my account on 12th January, before I have any agreement from Bulb on the readings they will use. On the 13th January, I then request that Bulb use the readings that my previous supplier had used. At 20:52 the same day, I get an email from Bulb asking for me to supply meter readings. I only joined on the 16th December! I await confirmation from Bulb that they agree with my request. On 16th January, I decide that i will submit my current meter readings. When I do, I notice that ‘estimated’ readings appear dated 16th January. I still input my readings, with no issue (!). I check my “Payments & Statements” section, and discover a Statement dated 17th January (!). I was not informed that I would have monthly bills. Also, the email requesting the readings was sent on Saturday (13th) at 20:52, but the Bulb Customer Service is only operational Mon-Fri 9-6. So, I was given only 1 working day to comply with the email request, but it took Bulb just over 3 working days to respond to my initial query, and no replies since. I am not a happy customer, and its only been 31 days!

Out of interest, who were your previous supplier? This sounds quite familiar but I feel that problem was with my previous supplier (initials “BE”)

Mine was Scottish Power. I had an online account, paperless. This was a good option as I had little dealing with their Customer Service Dept. My one year fixed term contact was ending at the end of November, and I calculated that my energy cost would rise from about £1,400 pa to £1,900 pa. The biggest increase was in the amount of Standing Charge, up from £28 pa to £150 for each fuel, totaling just over £240. No matter how much I cut back on any energy usage, the SC is a fixed charge. I like the idea of renewable energy, so want to support it. Just a bit worried about the lack of communication. Oh, Bulb sent an email at 15:37 advising me my statement is available online, even though it is dated for tomorrow (17th), and no comment about it being produced after 31 days. Hey Ho!

I have the same issue, I submitted the gas reading but it`s not showing in my account, at the time of switching, 12.12.2017 my gas smartmeter reading was 252, on the site it says 817 for the same date? No one answered my email after 4 days, not happy.

My worry is that there must be a core of potential ‘customer service’ energy employees that just do the rounds with all the energy providers, offering the same crappy service. Its not that difficult is it, to offer a better level of service. One gripe I have is that they don’t give you the same time frame in which to reply to them, that they use to respond to you. Perhaps I will put an ‘auto’ respond on my email account “Due to the high demand on my time in dealing with idiotic requests, I will respond within 4 working days”. ?

(@“Will at Bulb”, @“Andrew at Bulb”)

Hi @surreyalan

I’m really sorry that you’re not having a good experience so far. We absolutely want to make sure you’re happy and fix everything that we can.

We used the industry estimated opening gas reading because your old supplier rejected them due to it being less than 100m3 different to the estimates. Unfortunately, suppliers have the right to reject actual gas readings if they’re too close to the estimated reading. Your reading was 30719m3, while the estimated reading was 307713. So there is a difference of only 52m3. In a perfect world, we would make your old supplier use the actual readings, but we can’t force them. I think we can do a better job of communicating this though. I’m going to see if there is anything we could do to keep members better informed if this happens in future.

We asked for your January meter readings on the 13th as your billing period ends on the 15th. So we want to give you a few days to enter them. We can use a meter reading entered on the 13th, 14th or 15th as an actual reading for the purposes of calculating your bill. Otherwise, we have to rely on an industry generated estimate to work out how much energy you have used. Since you submitted your reading on the 16th it was too late to be used for that statement. But don’t worry, when we generate your next statement we’ll recalculate your usage based on updated readings if we have them. We try to make it as easy as possible to submit meter readings online as we realise that we might not always be able to get to emails quickly enough to submit them for you in time for your statement.

We are slower than we’d like to reply to emails at the moment and we’re working hard to catch up with them. We’re not afraid to stamp on the breaks when needed and so we’ve temporarily paused our marketing so that we have fewer members joining us allowing our support team to catch up on the backlog. They’re doing a great job catching up so far. We’re also accelerating our hiring plans so that we have more agents. And we’re continually working to remove reasons for members to ever need to contact us for help and to automate any tasks that we can. I can only apologise for these delays and promise that we’re working to solve it.

I’m sorry that you didn’t know that we do monthly billing. We try to make it as clear as possible during sign up and the emails during the switch that we take monthly payments. Is there any way that we could improve this? Is there a particular point in your time with us we could have told you, or way that we could have told you that would mean you’d be more likely to see it?

All the best,
Will

@Doinita I believe my colleague Alex spoke to you over email about this. It’s a different issue from @surreyalan’s. The estimated change-of-supply read was 817, whereas Npower’s smart read was 252. Alex has spoken to Npower and agreed to use 252 as the change-of-supply read.

To add @“Will at Bulb”‘s response, there are a host of reasons why Bulb uses ‘industry estimates’ instead of ‘customer own reads’. All suppliers must submit customers’ reads to third-party validation checks. In theory, the checks are there to protect customers and make sure they’re being billed correctly. In practice, they can sometimes cause frustration. If the validation process rejects the customer’s own read, Bulb must use the industry estimate – it’s not our choice to ignore or follow the validation process. If the industry estimate is off, we can subsequently agree a different changeover read with your previous supplier – as Alex has indeed done in your case.

@surreyalan let me just chime in and say that this is my first customer service job in the energy industry. I used to work as a project manager at feedbackglobal.org, a wonderful environmental campaigning organisation. I helped organise feasts using food that would have otherwise gone to waste, and other fun anti-food-waste campaigns. :slight_smile:

P.S. @mowcius thanks for the CC :slight_smile:

@RichyB is everything okay?

A big thanks to @mowcius and to @Andrew and @Will for their clear and precise comments. All us customers want, is to be given clear and ‘simple to understand’ information. Now I have been made aware of your monthly billing cycle, I will provide readings within the timeframe your require. @Will, the response I had from Bulb, to my initial query why Scottish Power had used my reading for the Electricity and their estimate for the Gas was that I should let you know what reading I wanted you to start my Gas account with. That is not what you are now saying. In fact I responded to say I was happy to use the reading Scottish Power had estimated, but annoyed that they had ignored my actual reading. Using their reading meant that I would have no further need to contact them to recover any monies due. I am glad they are out of my life. I am smiling a little now, and hopefully in a few months time I will be a happy bunny once again. Thanks everyone.

Andrew at Bulb January 17, 2018 5:21PM
@Doinita I believe my colleague Alex spoke to you over email about this. It’s a different issue from @surreyalan’s. The estimated change-of-supply read was 817, whereas Npower’s smart read was 252. Alex has spoken to Npower and agreed to use 252 as the change-of-supply read.

Yes, he replied to my email and I was right to tell him that Ill post here from now on when I want a faster reply, than use the email :) I have send my npower final bill to you few days after I switched (to be credited the exit fees), that bill shows exactly my smart meter readings for gas and electric at the switching date, why did Bub estimated 817 instead of 252 on 12.12.17 is a mistery to me when its clear from that bill what my reading was :) Alex didnt have to call Npower, those readings were on my bill, wich I attached to my email to you twice.

I hope Ill be able to give the gas reading in the future as I couldnt before, just the electric one went through :slight_smile:

Atm I`m happy with the outcome, thank you.

I am glad they are out of my life.
Haha! I don't think I've met anyone with Scottish Power who's been happy with the service provided...

Maybe we should have a “horror stories from old suppliers” thread.

Hi @“Andrew at Bulb” : Shaunagh said the opening gas read should have been fixed on the 15th to 1118, but hasn’t yet. Can you prod?

Hi, @surreyalan and @Doinita thanks for letting us know about the problems you were having and it’s great to hear that you are now happy. This is an area that we alongside the industry can definitely make improvements.

@RichyB I can see your read of 1118 has been agreed with Bristol Energy and I’ve updated your readings to match. They will now be sending you an updated final bill based on this new reading.

Please all let us know if there’s anything else we can help with and have a great week!

@“TimC at Bulb” : Thanks, I see it has updated today (just when I was about to contact the nothappy email address). Can you see why issue #877487 opened 12 days ago was marked “Resolved” without any responses to my questions?

Hey @RichyB thanks for reaching out. It seems that due to our slow responses of late you got in touch through chat as well. As the dispute was sent to your current supplier at this point, when we caught up with that email the following day it was (wrongly) perceived by myself to be fully solved. I should have elaborated on your questions even though that dispute was already ongoing.

In the future, we’ll get back on top of our emails and we won’t get our wires crossed amongst ourselves like this. I hope your experience improves going forward!