Recurring Theme: Gas readings and validation

This issue seems to be a constantly recurring theme on the forum, and it has to asked - why?
Is the problem with the validator or with Bulb?
As it doesn’t seem to be a significant problem being raised on other energy forums, one has to suspect the latter.
Whatever the cause - is there a fix in the offing?

My last supplier took around 6 weeks and I phoned them a few times answer was always it has not been verified. I had to take their word for it. They did credit the excess monies but held 1 months worth to cover the final bill.

I wasn’t really talking about the switching process, but the regular problem re weekly/monthly etc readings, and the frustration in getting estimated statements - as in these recent posts:

Hi @198kHz we hope we’ve come up with a fix for this today, meaning that most of the gas reads that weren’t being accepted and showing on MyBulb now will be (it’s to do with the percentage difference between the reads we expect versus the reads you give us). Please continue giving us feedback if you don’t notice an improvement!

@“Ursula at Bulb” Thank you for the info - that’s good news. :slight_smile:
Not expecting anything ‘commercially confidential’, but as a matter of academic interest - was it simply a matter of adjusting the percentage, and was the problem with the validator or with Bulb?
Fear not, there will be further feedback if there’s no improvement. :wink:

After I spoke to @“Ursula at Bulb” last week about missing readings, she set about trying to resolve the issue immediately and my account has been behaving perfectly ever since her intervention. Thank you, Ursula.

It’s interesting that the problem lay with expected reads vs actual reads . My unvalidated readings showed usage this winter that was pretty similar (though slightly higher) to my usage last winter when I was a Bulb customer, and will have exhibited a similar pattern to that seen for this property for the past 10 years.

I was wondering what the failed readings were being compared to.

Hi @198kHz, on our billing system our gas reads have to go through two sets of validation - validation from the internal system and then they go out to get validated by the industry. The validation in our internal system is set at a higher threshold than validation from the industry to catch any problems with the gas read before it gets sent out to the industry. We realised that this was causing more hindrance than help, so have now increased the percentage difference allowed between expected actual. So yes, to be honest, it was a problem with us :smile:

@xxx the expected reads take into account annual usage figures for your metering point which are given to us by the gas industry and then use weather data too to calculate what your read should be. Unfortunately, they’re not as accurate as we’d (or you’d) like!

...the expected reads take into account annual usage figures for your metering point which are given to us by the gas industry and then use weather data too to calculate what your read should be. Unfortunately, they're not as accurate as we'd (or you'd) like!

Quelle surprise! :wink:
It strikes me that the system is predicated on the notion that customers are too stupid or dishonest to submit accurate readings. A tiny minority probably are, but discrepancies will be sorted during a meter inspection, which I believe you’re obliged to carry out every year or so?
Anyway, many thanks for the information @“Ursula at Bulb” :slight_smile: We’ll see how it goes from here.

@“Ursula at Bulb”, some very useful information there on the processes involved.

Would there be any chance of having more (and perhaps more official) updates of this nature?

It seems that things are being changed/improved upon on a relatively regular basis but we never seem to hear about it until someone questions it.

The removal of the option to submit meter readings from a few days ago, or the change of the meter submission page to include a decimal point as good (somewhat) recent examples.
Some of these changes have caused confusion and I’d say it’s mostly been down to a bit of a lack of communication.

@198kHz

Yes, we send out our meter readers at least once a year. Please keep letting us know how you find the experience - we’re here to make energy better and it’s so useful to know how we’re doing.

@“Clem at Bulb” Will do. Thanks for info. :slight_smile:

Would there be any chance of having more (and perhaps more official) updates of this nature

Hi @mowcius - what would that look like for you ideally? Updates on the Community? We like to announce important changes but don’t want our members to feel fatigued with updates from us. As we’re making incremental improvements all the time, we might end up posting lot! Let us know what you think.

At present the community pages have three sections, and it’s getting busier by the day.
About Bulb
Help and Support
Everything But bulb

Perhaps there could be a separate section for Bulb Updates.

I agree, although members can reply to some of the more obvious questions this can also mean they may well be missed by the Bulb team. More meaningful sections would probably be easier for Bulb staff to focus more on member issues.
Sections for , Billing and Meter reading sections would be a welcome addition.

Hi @mowcius - what would that look like for you ideally? Updates on the Community? We like to announce important changes but don't want our members to feel fatigued with updates from us. As we're making incremental improvements all the time, we might end up posting lot! Let us know what you think.

Looking at Monzo again as a good example, a subforum where only Bulb employees can create threads, might work well.
See: https://community.monzo.com/c/newsblog

At present the community pages have three sections, and it's getting busier by the day. About Bulb Help and Support Everything But bulb

Perhaps there could be a separate section for Bulb Updates.


As it’s impossible to know what should go where, and I doubt anyone really uses anything other than “Recent Threads” (I know I don’t), I’m still hoping for a complete forum overhall (ideally Discord but I still don’t think @“Will at Bulb” is convinced).

The actual help system really needs improvements sooner rather than later. I could respond to 90% of the threads and questions on here by copy and paste. Probably more if I could add people to the smart meter trial list… :mrgreen:

Then the forums could have more interesting discussions

I was reliably informed previously that a notification to Bulb was created every time someone posted on here. I imagine this was fine when there were a couple of posts a week, maybe less so now the forums are being used.

@mowcius and @scudo and @198kHz thanks for all your good points. We may do a fullscale Community redesign, so watch this space.

For now, @“Will at Bulb” and I will personally commit to communicating changes by creating threads weekly or fortnightly regarding changes (positive, neutral, and negative :smiley: ).

For now, @"Will at Bulb" and I will personally commit to communicating changes by creating threads weekly or fortnightly regarding changes (positive, neutral, and negative :D ).
Marvellous!

:slight_smile:

@mowcius is there a forum running on Discord we should look at?

@“Andrew at Bulb”, don’t confuse Discord with Discourse!

As a help forum closest to what Bulb likely requires, the republic wireless one seems quite good.
I actually think the Discourse forum for Discourse itself is really quite a good demo as well. A lot of the other examples around are so far off Bulb’s colour schemes and design styles, it’s hard to visualise what it could be.

They’re all very obviously Discourse forums but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

For comparison, looking on the Vanilla forums “showcase”, Bulb is down as #5 with the first being Oculus. As a techy company, I’d expect that forum to be about as good as it gets, and it still really doesn’t seem a patch on the Republic Wireless forum above.