Ongoing issues with my gas meter readings

I joined bulb energy from British Gas back in September and so far the experience has been less than satisfactory. Each month I choose to provide meter readings so I can be charged for the energy I actually use. Providing the readings via the app offers you two choices - take a photo or enter manually. When I submit my electricity readings via the app there are no problems and within a couple of hours my account online has been updated to reflect my most recent electricity reading. The same cannot be said for my gas reading.
My home is currently without a boiler and gas central heating because we are slowly renovating so for the time being were are reliant on electric heaters for warmth and if we need hot water downstairs, we use the kettle. A bit rudimentary but it’s working for us until we’re back up and running gas wise. Because we aren’t utilizing our gas other than to cook with, our monthly gas usage is incredibly low and our electricity usage is somewhat higher than normal. Each time I try to submit a gas reading either via the app or when I enter it online, I am reliably informed that my gas is lower than normal (which I am well aware of ) so can I double check to make sure it’s correct. If it is correct, submit and if there are any problems Bulb will contact me. I submit my gas reading as I know it’s correct and I assume that by providing the reading using a photo will prove everything is above board and my account will update automatically. Except it never does. Each month I have to contact Bulb via web-chat, email and twitter to chase up why my account hasn’t updated with my gas reading, explain why my gas usage is low which is time consuming and in my opinion unnecessary as I shouldn’t have to justify why I’m using less gas. It is only after my repeated complaining that my account is updated. This is not acceptable.
When I submit a reading, unless there is an issue which I should be contacted about on the same day, my account should update automatically. I should not have to provide my reading multiple times, using multiple different methods only to have to resort to emailing with a photograph of my gas meter with an explanation as to why my reading is what it is.
So far over the last two days I have submitted my gas reading via the app, online, via email and have chased up via twitter - twice, email - twice and now this. Bulb you have proven that whilst you offer good value for money, you are desperately lagging in customer service.
I would rather go elsewhere and pay more for my gas and electricity if it means getting much better service and less hassle in providing my readings each month. This might be hard to believe but I hate complaining, there is nothing I enjoy about making a fuss but if things do not improve, I will be left with no choice but to lodge a formal complaint and take this matter further.

Each month I have to contact Bulb via web-chat, email and twitter to chase up why my account hasn't updated
I'd say that only the web chat is required there. Following a web chat does your account not end up being updated? Phone is currently the fastest way for Bulb to respond to you followed by web chat, so I'd always go with those first.
I would rather go elsewhere and pay more for my gas and electricity if it means getting much better service
I have to say that whatever the process has been that I've had to go through for anything regarding my account, the service from the Bulb team has been nothing short of exemplary. Perhaps you have had bad customer service but I suspect it's more of the second part of the sentence:
and less hassle
Bulb currently have some quirks, I'll give them that, but as a new energy company, there will be a lot of situations that they haven't experienced before and working out and implementing the most logical and streamlined processes to deal with them will take some time. With the significant growth they've recently experienced, the rollout of smart meters, the rollout of warm home discount, rollout of prepay meters, and the multitude of other things on the go right now, I can imagine that making the estimation and submission system better is on their list but there's going to be a bit of a wait.
I will be left with no choice but to lodge a formal complaint and take this matter further.
Thankfully Bulb charge no exit fees so if you really find you can't handle the way things are being done, you could always move to another supplier. A formal complaint that their reading approval process can be a bit naff is unlikely to get you very far. Most of the Bulb team (including the two founders) seem to participate on these forums so here is as good as anywhere to voice your frustrations.

Personally I’ll take the quirks they have right now in return for their openness, renewable energy, community engagement and cheap prices.

@nicola9045 I am, having exactly the same issue, except it is my Electric reading that ios not being accepted , my Gas readings are perfect. Like you i cannot go a month without having to get in touch in order to do the basics. @mowcius you put forward a spirited defence of the bulb team but you are missing the point, most start ups or challengers succeed because they are better not just cheaper. The level of service I am getting at the moment is ridiculous, and it is taking up far too much of my time. I have also asked to raise a formal complaint but ultimately i think i will just walk as I am not prepared to do beta testing for the people that will follow on from me.

most start ups or challengers succeed because they are better not just cheaper
I agree and I personally think Bulb are significantly better than most other energy suppliers (or I wouldn't be with them). As soon as I have a big issue with how Bulb operate or the service I receive from them, I'll give them an opportunity to sort the issues, but I won't be hanging around.

I hope they can sort your issues out though.

@nicola9045 Thanks for getting in touch with us and I’m sorry to hear that you’re having issues with your readings.

I can see that you have also been in touch with us via Twitter as well. We’ve now applied a fix to your account so that your gas readings should go in without the need for further contact.

One of our missions is to make energy simpler and having to contact us after every meter reading is definitely not that. We want to continue to improve our service so that it becomes better and better.

Please let us know if you experience any further problems and we’ll investigate them straight away.

@paul2241 Are you still experiencing these issues? If so, we can look into it further.

Hi SJ, I have just checked and my electric meter reading page is still expecting 2 inputs, and this is the root of the problem. I have had several assurances that my account is set up as a single input but this is simply not the case, as a result i will put in the standard tariff and then put the same numbers (as advised) for a second non existent tariff , your page will warn me, then it will tell me that the reading has been accepted, however it will never appear on the usage graph or on the previous readings …until i get back in touch and you manually frig stuff behind the scenes. So at the risk of repeating myself, i only have a single tariff. please sort it out.

@paul2241, is your meter an economy 7 meter where you’re on a non-economy 7 tariff, or is the website simply incorrect about the type of meter you have?

@paul2241 I’m unsure of where the miscommunication lies, but you do have a meter with two readings. For example, in the conversation you had by email with @“Owen at Bulb” in late September, you sent pictures showing one rate at 219 and the other at 30407.

There are some meters, almost all of which were installed by British Gas, that are configured as 2-rate meters but where only register moves. (Note that another name for 2-rate meter is 'Economy 7 meter.) This is the case with your meter. For this reason, we have put you on a 1-rate-for-Economy-7 tariff. (This means that we charge you 12.5715 p / kWh no matter what time of day the kWh is used.)

I appreciate that our billing system is confused by these meters. It doesn’t know what to do when one of the registers doesn’t move. For this reason, we must manually validate readings from these meters – basically, we must confirm to our billing system that they are fine to go in, even though one of the register’s reads hasn’t moved. We try to do this manual validation step quickly, but sometimes we only get to it a few days after you submit your readings, which is what has caused some of the ‘lag’ you’ve described. A kludgy solution is to email us your electricity reads, as @mowcius notes we’re very on top of our emails. That said, we do intend to get faster at meter read notifications like the ones that have caused the lag for you.

Does this all make sense? I’m really concerned by some of what you’ve written, especially the part about our service being ridiculously poor. I’ve marked your account with a formal complaint about the meter readings, but I do hope that my message on this forum thread addresses your complaint (and clarifies any confusion). Please let me know if you disagree?

@“Andrew at Bulb” Although agreeing that Bulb has some quirks (as @mowcius politely puts it) I have to say that you’d be hard pushed to find a more helpful, knowledgeable, patient and charismatic bunch of people anywhere, let alone within the energy industry. I don’t think that many of us will think your service is poor.

Hi @“Andrew at Bulb” , apologies for the delayed response. Sadly i still stand by my remarks, its all well and good to be responsive but being effective is what i need at the moment. For clarity, i do not have an Economy 7 meter, i have a Smart Meter and during my time with BG i was on a single tariff for years but then in the last few months i moved to a Time Of Use tariff, hence the second reading. When i set up my Bulb account i didn’t mention the second reading as i had no knowledge of it , one of your colleagues suggested that it came over with my move information. All of the work arounds you suggest are viable but they are less than i expect especially as I am used to being able to input and track my usage as and when i like. I guess the root of my issue comes from the 3 or 4 times i have been assured that the problem is sorted only for it to revert the next day, it doesnt seem like a big issue to change my account to a single use, or even to have your validation trap the exceptions but still allow the user to continue once they have confirmed.
If you are running any beta testing for Smart meters then include me, if you cannot resolve it any other way then i guess its not for me and i will quietly go away.

Hi @paul2241 I hear you and agree with everything you said. Yes, your smart meter has two readings. One doesn’t move. This confuses our billing system when you submit meter readings. You won’t have any issue if you email us the reads instead of submitting them online, and I take your point that this is annoying and kludgy, but it’s the best I can think of.

Agreed as well that this won’t be an issue once we install smart meters. I’ve put you on the list of first adopters.

We could also install a new meter, but this seems like a waste of resources and time given that the meter does still work and that we’ll be installing a smart meter relatively soon. Do shout if you would like us to install a new one, though. Otherwise, I think the best way to manage this is for you to email your readings to instead of submitting them (until we install the smart meter).

@“Andrew at Bulb” @“Devin at Bulb” any chance you guys could catch up with each other? i did as suggested and email a photo of my electric readings, however it seems that i need to send a photo of the second reading, even though we have all agreed that it is dormant and will never change.

Hi @paul2241 yes – I’ve spoken to @“Devin at Bulb”. She sent her email in haste.