Smart Meter still broken and Electricity Usage is through the roof

Hello,

Having to resort to the forums as I’ve still not have this issue dealt since September 2021.

Essentially our Smart Meter has been broken since September of 2020 and unbeknownst to us Bulb have been using estimated reads instead as a result.

We also noticed black tar like liquid dripping from the meter and had someone from the UK Power Networks come fix it, we do not know if that affects our situation either.

Two Bulb staff have already pushed through a “remote reboot” of the Comms Hub that talks to the IHD to no avail and the thing still shows only the Gas readings and nothing else.

I haven’t been checking meter read page, as I thought the Smart Meter would do it all for me and was only just told the Smart Meter was broken and taken estimates via email on the 22nd September 2021.

15 months of estimated reads from September 2020 to December 2021 with no notification from Bulb until September 2021, and the smart meter’s communication still hasn’t been fixed 4 months later despite constant communication with Bulb to do so.

On the 29th November 2021 we received a bill for a ridiculous sum of £557.31 as a result of Bulb finally realising the issue and decided to send a catch up bill due to their own estimates being wildly wrong.

And with no follow up email or anything, just expecting me to pay well over half a grand out of the blue through no fault of my own.

I’ve emailed several times since the initially realising, first on the 29/09/21, again on 01/10/21, an online chat on 29/11/21, following up again 29/12/21 and two more times this month 04/01/22 and 17/01/22 with little to no response.

I’m extremely disappointed by the level of customer service I’m being provided, especially after being dropped such a large bill and after receiving yet another bill today for £166.81, with £112.98 of that being electricity.

I literally have no idea how we are using so much electricity compared to last year even with the price hike and worried its something to do with the meter going awry, with no way of knowing due to the meter being estimated for over a year now!

  1. I want the Smart Meter to be fixed so I can actually see what my electricity usage is.
  2. I need someone to take a look at the meter (without me having to pay for a callout charge) and/or corroborate past data to see if something dodgy is happening with the meter and why to me it’s clocking such high electrical usage.
  3. To resolve this large sum of debit that has accrued on the account - particularly in whether this situation comes under the “back-billing” rules, whereby a supplier cannot send you a bill for energy you used more than 12 months ago.

Hello @fumartin Welcome to our community :wave:

Thanks for your post and we apologise for the issues you have had.

I will just start by answering your questions at the bottom first.

Currently your smart meter was encountering an error with the network rather than an actual fault from the meter itself, this communications reboot was requested again early Jan and we are yet to have a result there yet, the process can take a maximum of 6 weeks ideally to get a result back. This is because we communicate directly with the Data communications company who own the network (DCC).

With a Meter accuracy test, the callout charge is £120 however if the meter is deemed faulty then the cost would be free. Before doing a booking you would be asked to do an at home test where you would turn off all electric for 30 minutes to an hour and see if the read increases. This should only be done if you do not require electric on at all times for medical reasons, if you have attempted that then it would give a good indication of a fault.

The large sum was not under back billing, when we eventually got a read in October it just showed that you had used more than we had been estimating which is where that catch up bill came from because we billed up to an actual read.

I do however understand that your billing situation is not ideal and we are sorry for the issues you have had here, the comms hub reboot will show an outcome soon so we can establish the problem but I would advise doing a at home test before booking an official accuracy test, if you could do that and let us know that would be great.

Ultimately we want to get you satisfied again with our service and we will do what we can to put things right.

Please feel free to ask any further questions, happy to help.

–Carl :bulb:

Hello Carl,

Thank you for getting back to me. Nice to get a response so promptly as well from one of the team.

I’ve been given the same answer regarding the Smart Meter being rebooted remotely with an attempted fix with no avail. This started in September so I would certainly say that’s more than 6 weeks to get a result back.

So I can’t say I have much confidence yet another reboot, which one of your colleagues started again in October (where she told me 3-4 weeks might I add).

We have a digital meter manufactured by Landis + Gyr, and we’re not sure how to to do this “burns” test, with the last digit usually taking hours to even change and no sign of a decimal point to look out for. I’ve Googled how to read the meter and can’t seem to find an option to show more incremental numbers either, even on Bulb’s help page. So not sure how to do this effectively aside from sitting in the dark in our own home for hours on end waiting for a change.

Regarding the large sum I would argue it does come under Back Billing as we didn’t receive an accurate bill for over a year and had no idea Bulb was using estimates the whole time. Something the company should have picked up on and not me the customer as isn’t that the whole point of convincing the population to get a Smart Meter in the first place?

There was also the issue of the black tar coming from around the meter, which Bulb just dismissed and was directed to Power Networks which we had to get fixed via them. Pictures were also sent to Bulb and Power Networks but I received no response from Bulb.

Who is to say this fault didn’t also cause a giant mishap in the meter or a leak of energy somehow? I’m a simple layman who has been paying around £40-60 since joining Bulb and only in the last year has it sky rocketed to £160+ per month.

Thank you for responding again, and I’m looking forward to hearing back from you.

Absolutely brilliant customer service, no response for 3 months, smart meter still doesn’t work correctly, no communication on my queries and ridiculous price hikes as well as changing my direct debit to north of £230 without my permission too.

Stellar service Bulb…

Hi @fumartin :wave:

I am really sorry for the delay on getting back to you about this. I have looked over your account and we are able to exchange your electricity meter for a new one.

I am going to take this to email so we can get this booked in for you and continue the conversation there. Are you happy for me to email you?

Best,
Jenny :star:

Hello Jen,

Thank you for getting back to me.

I would be more than happy to continue this over email if communications remain consistent.

No email received still 2 weeks after the last message here, still in half a grand debit because of a mistake they made as well.

I can see why the company went down the drain - can’t wait to move.