Updating the national database

If you change your energy supplier or get new meters installed, there are a few places where these details have to be updated, as you might imagine.

There’s our system for a start, but there’s also the glorious national database which all suppliers use as a reference for each property and energy meter in the UK.

Here’s a brief explainer on exactly what that database consists of.

The national database

The national database is used by suppliers, local operators and other industry parties to manage the meter information for every UK property. This information includes things like the type of meter (whether it’s a traditional, smart or prepay meter) and which supplier is responsible for energy at that address.

ECOES (Electricity Central Online Enquiry Service) is the national database for electricity meter connections, and XOSERVE is the same, but for gas. They keep a central and shared record of every unique meter point number in the UK.

A meter point is the connection that goes from the mains outside into your meter. While meters themselves can be changed, the meter point will always remain the same, and that’s why it’s the primary identification for your property.

What information does the database include?

  • Address
  • MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number) for electricity
  • MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number) for gas
  • Whether the property is a home or business address
  • Meter details including: type, date installed, installing supplier, and any associated meter points
  • Energy supplier details

What can Bulb use these databases for?

We use ECOES and XOSERVE to make sure we have the right meter details when you switch to us. It’s important that we take over the correct property and the correct meter. Suppliers can also use this information to track who installed your meter and see a history of suppliers at your property. Which is helpful if we need to talk to them about your energy supply.

It’s important your supplier keeps this information up to date to make sure that your bills are correct, and that you can switch suppliers without any hassle.

We might need to update the database for a number of reasons, like:

  1. Updating the address details for a meter.
  2. Changing the meter type, for example from credit to prepay.
  3. Updating the meter details after a new meter is fitted.
  4. Changing your address to a business premises and vice versa

These updates take 2-3 weeks to be processed, though it can sometimes take longer, depending on the issue. This happens in the background, so you don’t need to worry while it is being updated.

Gas - XOSERVE

When making changes to the database, Bulb communicates with the Gas Shipper (a company who buys and sells gas) asking them to update the records. We also work alongside Morrisons Data Services to update records, they’re the same people who might occasionally come to read your meter.

Electricity - ECOES

In order to update electricity details, we request a change from the responsible maintenance team, which depends on your meter: either Siemens or Morrison Data Services. They update their system and communicate with ECOES who update the database. This process can take between 2-3 weeks. If we’re updating the meter serial number (the barcode number), it’s usually much quicker.

So that’s a run through of the relationship between energy suppliers and the national database. Let us know if there’s any part of this you’d like us to go into more detail about because there’s certainly a lot more we can talk about :nerd_face:

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Hi there,

I spoke to @Daisy_at_Bulb from Twitter support recently regarding our MPRN having the incorrect postcode but correct street address. I was happy she resolved this quickly :grinning:

I just wanted to find out how long does this take to get reflected on the national gas database or are these instant and other energy suppliers (like Bulb) update their version of the database every X days/weeks/months?

Thanks,

Henri

I’ve just read a thread where a Bulb customer was told that it takes 4-6 weeks for this to get processed.

Reading the Xoserve portal, the energy supplier (Bulb) communicates with my Gas Shipper for them to update the records. Though the thread states they work with Morrisons Data Services, so they likely do these changes.

Hope this helps anyone else with address and reference point issues. I thought these changes might have been reflected when the database gets updated - nice to see my serial number on the MPRN finally after a month :slight_smile:

Hi @Henri_K,

Thanks for your post. You are correct - thanks for sharing this info with the rest of community.

As soon as I have an update on whether this has been completed or not, I will drop you an email.

Let me know if you need anything in the meantime

– Daisy :bulb:

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No worries, @Daisy_at_Bulb :slight_smile:

We are still awaiting updates regarding the smart issues - our move to British Gas is so that they can resolve the smart installation with the IHD and gas commissioning.

We have not received any news from either Bulb or British Gas regarding our move - I know it’s due on the 10th but it’s likely the database will not get updated in time and it might result in a rejected/partial switch where only the electric gets moved over.

From the customers on my new build, Bulb and EDF were the only company to move the gas supply - the rest of them, Octopus Energy, Scottish Power did not move people’s gas supply and just the electricity. Seems to be an occurrence over here.

EDIT: It seems British Gas did not communicate at all that they have rejected our switch for the 10th and that no record is on the national databases that they even attempted to switch us. Likely, they did not want to pay the fixed tariff prices from last month before the crisis.

Hi @Daisy_at_Bulb,

I have removed your post as a solution as British Gas has rejected our switch for a new reason - could you check if this legitimate or just another way of them not honouring the tariff prices from last month.

This time it’s now due to some incorrect meter information. I think it suspicious as British Gas originally supplied this address as part of the new build - this is their issue and if they produced this information onto the database and Bulb was fine switching us then I can’t see why I cannot be switched to British Gas again.

So in short:

  1. Electricity database needs the following information amended (if this is correct?)

Measurement Class from F to A
Profile Class from 00 to 01
SSC to 0393

  1. The gas database requires the address to be amended - the last letter of the postcode needs changing from a ‘P’ to a ‘F’ and the plot address Cxx can be removed as this is on the Royal Mail database.

I’ll try to leave a support ticket open for this - in case it does not get picked right away.

Edit: My mum spoke with Cameron at Bulb and he has requested the electric database to get updated. Thanks all of you :slight_smile:

Another update, I know where this issue stems from.

It is the half hourly meter readings offered on the Bulb settings - it changes the Measurement Class to F (with Profile Class 00), this is because this configuration is exactly what it means, half hourly meter readings.

I will be disputing the switch with British Gas (likely won’t get anywhere) as clearly this should not be an issue switching suppliers but in the future Bulb could potentially advise users that half-hourly meter readings can prevent people from getting moved over (!!)

You will know this as your profile class starts with 00 (the first top number after the S), this means your supply is seen as a business supply to some suppliers like British Gas - this is clearly wrong and needs addressing; Octopus Energy submitted a request to ECOES in 2019 for this to be corrected and was due to be fixed in 2020 but it seems not all energy suppliers have taken this into account (British Gas, looking at you :eyes: )

This is really bad as some people have unusable IHD like myself where I can use the Bulb app to view the energy usage, but it should have been mentioned somewhere; correct me if I am wrong?

Maybe Bulb could introduce the standard 01 Profile Class for us residential users that use half-hourly readings - this is how OVO Energy is doing it with their Half Hourly users without changing the ECOES at all?

For now, we’ve gone back to daily meter readings to prevent this issue in the future. I know the new supplier is definitely in the wrong and we are disputing this with them, it’s unlikely they will honour the tariff so we will stay with Bulb until the energy crisis calms down.

Checking the bills, I can see this change has happened quite recently and I am not sure who requested it or why - it seems your 30 minute smart readings has not affected this as I would have thought as Bulb have always taken 30-minute readings since we joined.

Statement date:
24 August 2021
S 01 801 100
01 September 2021
S 01 801 100
02 October 2021
S 00 801 456

What happened between the 1st Sept and 2nd October that made Bulb change our Profile Class, Measurement Class and Line Loss Factors to be different from the other bills.

Is it because we told you that we would be leaving for British Gas and tried to prevent us from switching?

Is this why our IHD has also been decommissioned when we complained about the gas meter being decomissioned?

Hmm. Maybe British Gas are right all along about this issue…

Hi - I checked out ECOES and my Profile Class is showing as 01 again :smile:

Checking on ECOES and SSEN - my profile class is back 01 using the unofficial XHR request (hurray for hacky approaches ssh) :slight_smile: .

1. addressLine1: "XX"
2. compositeAddress: "XXXXXXXXXXX"
3. hasValidRegDate: "False"
4. isDisconnectedMpan: "False"
5. isOnNetwork: "True"
6. isUnderObjection: "False"
7. lineLossFactor: "456"
8. meterTimeswitchClass: "801"
9. mpanCore: "XXXXXX"
10. postcode: "XXX XXX"
11. profileClass: "01"

Well it’s too late for BG to honour the prices before the crisis.

We did made the change to smart readings to be daily instead of half hourly and informed Bulb to change the profiles back to how they were and it was fixed relatively fast within a couple of days :star2:

We have informed GTC Pipelines about the post code issue on our street as the new development of flats have changed our street post code on the database. So they are looking into why this block has had its postcode changed as it’s been about 3-4 weeks and it hasn’t been changed yet on the who is my gas supplier website.

EDIT 14/10 : Line Loss seems to be corrected recently back to the original values:

1. addressLine1: "XX"
2. compositeAddress: "XXXXXXXXXXX"
3. hasValidRegDate: "False"
4. isDisconnectedMpan: "False"
5. isOnNetwork: "True"
6. isUnderObjection: "False"
7. lineLossFactor: "100"
8. meterTimeswitchClass: "801"
9. mpanCore: "XXXXXX"
10. postcode: "XXX XXX"
11. profileClass: "01"

Edit 26/10

Thanks for the insightful FAQ, @Daisy_at_Bulb - I can imagine it was because of me haha; still pretty relevant for future guidance. :laughing:

So, we’re still trying to move to British Gas so they can commission the smart meter as they have the security credentials (binding key of some sorts) for the gas meter and IHD; they informed us on Monday that they are aware the electric information is all up-to-date and ready after being told off for having the 00 profile, but the gas supply details have not been updated yet on Xoserve and have asked us to ask Bulb for an update regarding this.

That is when my mum contacted on live chat for an update and was told that it was not on Bulb’s spreadsheet of changes. Not sure what happened there unless the support rep was confused that I submit this change as a joint account holder instead of her.

GTC Pipelines said they would investigate why an entire block has been moved incorrectly to a wrong postcode, but they did not get back with a reply (they will investigate internally - probably). I assume the housebuilders building the flat across us has made a mix-up with the connections.

We’re still awaiting the change for the gas supply to be submitted onto the database and wanted to know if there were any updates - if the address change has been rejected / or any other potential reasons that we would be able to troubleshoot and solve. Unless it is that these processes inevitably take time to investigate and resolve?

Hi @Henri_K :wave:

I’m glad you found the post helpful. Thanks for your questions and engaging with this post!

It usually takes around 4-5 weeks to update an address on XOSERVE. I have sent you a DM to request some of your account details so I can chase this up for you. We will need our operations team to make sure the relevant data is sent across.

When you can please respond directly to my DM.

Thanks,
Luke :bulb:

1 Like

Hi Luke,

Thanks for the reply :grinning:

I’ve sent over our details.

Thanks,

Henri

I see @luke_at_bulb was last seen on the forum since the 29th of October.

I have done some investigating since then and enquired about the progress of this address amendment with Corella by providing them with the MPRN of our property so they can lookup the details over at Xoserve.

They confirmed they did not receive or can see any address amendment request from Bulb Energy Limited on the Xoserve database.

The representative from Correla will be contacting you to submit the necessary address amendment.

Should you believe that the address we hold is incorrect, we would require Bulb Energy to submit an Address Amendment on our systems to ensure this Meter Point is appropriately updated, with the correct information. As per your query, I have investigated further and can see no attempt to have your postcode amended to show as ‘XXX XXF’.

As this is the case, I have contacted Bulb directly to escalate this address issue with them requesting that any necessary amendments are carried out. Once they respond to my email I will update you via your email address, which has been provided within the query however, should you require any further assistance in the meanwhile please contact me.

We have put British Gas on hold for over two months since our request on the 30th of September. I can imagine they are not happy at all about this and will not honour the tariff at this pace it seems.

Update:

We have requested the address change again as apparently Xoserve rejected it due to the formatting of the address and that Luke-RD will be getting in touch about this :slight_smile:

Hi, @Daisy_at_Bulb maybe you can help with my problem with the national database.

The block of flats where I live was newly built in 2019 with electricity meters installed by E.On. As is common, E.On got the meters listed in the national database using the plot numbers initially assigned for the flats. But the final postal address is different from the plot number. In my case, I live at the postal address of Flat 27, but this had plot number 31, so the database shows my meter as belonging to flat 31.

The management of our building has been trying to get E.On to correct this for two years but with no success. So I get bills, and threatening letters, sent to my address which refer to meters installed at a different flat.

As far as my bulb account is concerned, you have been able to deal with it but it is a bit of a bodge. You have my postal address correct as Flat 27 in my building - but you never need to send me mail as I deal with things online. But the bill is described as being for Flat 31, as that is where the database shows my meter MPAN belongs to.

I don’t give my full address, or the MPAN number, as I don’t think I should give them on a public forum, but will of course provide them as needed.

Hi @danco,

A similar case happened with us and British Gas who kept on sending us threating court eviction letters for energy used by the housebuilders.

We raised a complaint with British Gas, informing them of our move-in dates and checking that the usage was billed for and advised us to ignore the letters and return them back at the letterbox - noting the addressee not known on the letters. We did this for over two months until the debt agency stopped sending us letters.

If you have not raised a case with E.On yet regarding the billing letters do so and if they have not fixed it, ask for a deadlock letter and refer them to the Energy Ombudsman. This is definitely annoying as it was for us; though British Gas realised the error they made eventually in our case, so we did not have to resort with that route.

As for the database corrections - we contacted Bulb to sort out our electric information which was sorted quickly in a matter of days, but the gas details have been rejected multiple times - since the 30th September. When they do amend the details - the database company do not like Plot numbers; but your actual address on the Royal Mail PAF - it causes unnecessary delays and rejections. We’re still awaiting the change - the strangest thing is this was all correct at the time we moved in last year but became wrong when some flats were built next to ours. We only noticed this when we attempted to move back to British Gas to sort out commissioning our meter which Bulb could not do.

I’d highly recommend contacting the support teams as the community is a bit slow with all the posts they have to go through. What matters the most is that the database records are correct so that the other energy suppliers can see that your address is on Bulb and not E.On as it would cause issues when you later switch.

Thanks. The management of my building have been in contact with E.On repeatedly since October 2019, both on my behalf and for all the residents. They haven’t got very far in getting the national database corrected, but hopefully have stopped them sending me more bills and threatening messages.

I have dropped a note to the Bulb support team, but they haven’t had time to reply to me yet. Our management has also contacted them. But I think E.On also has to be involved, and they keep getting things wrong.

No worries. From my experience with my gas amendment - the only supplier able to change the records on ECOES/Xoserve would be your current supplier.

You could double check with your DNO (elec) and/or Xoserve (gas) on what their advice would be - to get Bulb to act on this or E.ON; in my view, Bulb would need to amend the data to say they’ve taken over the supply of your MPAN/MPRN firstly and then Bulb would be able to submit the relevant address amendments on ECOES/Xoserve.

However, the other supplier (E.ON) is also able to just send the address amendment directly as well but I am not sure why they have not done so.

It seems very strange that Bulb did not send in their details over to ECOES/Xoserve regarding them being the supplier and not E.ON - this should have been done as part of the switching process.

If your DNO is SSEN like ours - you are able to view the data at
ssen .co.uk/Whoisyoursupplier/

I am not sure if all DNO have websites to check the electric database but if they do not - contacting them should give you some details of the supply.

For the gas (if you have gas, I feel newer builds are all about heat-pumps and heat recovery systems now) - Xoserve have this site: findmysupplier.energy

I am bit confused as to why the residents of Flat 31 did not raise a dispute with E.ON/their supplier as they must be either shipperless or using another residents supply as well :laughing:

I understand Bulb is blocking links to forum posts - but these are helpful for customers to identify if their details are correct :slight_smile:

Thanks. Elec only, no gas. I had some of this information already, but you have provided useful extra stuff.

Your last comment about the residents of Flat 31 is easily answered. Only about a third of the flats are currently occupied. Flat 31 is not occupied.

Bulb do show that they are the suppliers for my MPAN, the trouble is that they have not amended (probably are not able to amend) the address claimed for my MPAN from the incorrect 31 to the correct 27.

I pretty much have to leave things up to our management to settle matters with E.On as all the meters are associated with the wrong address, so there are about sixty corrections to be made all at the same time.

As to why E.On have not made the address amendments, I think they are just plain incompetent and did not manage the correction between October 2019 and March 2020. During the main lockdowns they weren’t able to associate MPAN and actual postal address (that would have needed a visit),but they did do that in May 2021 and have still not corrected things.

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Morning @danco

Thanks for your post! And welcome back to community :wave:

There is an easy way to confirm if the meter you are reading is connected to your property - it’s called a ‘burns test’.

Carrying out the Burns test

Follow the steps below to carry out a Burns Test:

  • Take a picture of your meter reading
  • Do you know the neighbour whose meter may be connected to your property?
    • If you know, kindly ask your neighbour if you can take a photo of their meter reading
    • If you’re not sure move onto the next step
  • Turn on appliances in your property that use lots of electricity:
    • this could be a kettle, an oven and electric heaters
    • when you go to the meter you should see the meter reading increasing
  • Wait a few minutes and take another photo of your meter showing how the readings have increased.
  • Turn off all electricity in your property at the fuse box.
  • Wait 30 minutes and take another photo of your meter
    • If you took a photo of your neighbour’s meter beforehand, ask them if you can take another photo of their meter.

Confirming if the meter reading has remained the same

Now you’ve carried out the burns test, did the meter reading remain the same after you turned off any electricity appliances?

  • If it has remained the same please send over all of the photos from the test so we can update your account.
  • If the meter reading has increased, it would suggest the meter is not connected to your property and is connected to one of your neighbours.
    • If you took photos of your neighbours meter, send over all of the photos from the test so we can investigate further.
    • If you didn’t take photos of your neighbours meter, you’ll need to carry out the burns test again, this time taking photos of a neighbours meter that you believe is connected to your property.

If you could do this test and email the results over to help@bulb.co.uk - we can investigate further.

– Daisy :bulb:

Sorry, @Daisy_at_Bulb but you are misunderstanding the issue, maybe I explained it badly.

The meter on my property is definitely connected to my property. So there is no need for a burns test.

The problem is that my postal address is Flat 27 and my meter is listed in the UK Power Networks database as belonging to Flat 31. This is not a matter of connection, it is because of a misnumbering of the properties. Postal address Flat 27 was listed during the construction of the building as Plot 31, and E.On, who installed the meters, therefore have the meter wrongly listed as belonging to Flat 31. I understand that this confusion between initial plot number and actual postal address number is common in new build properties, but the installer should have been able to correct this easily. The management of the block of flats where I live have been trying to get this corrected for over two years, but have got nowhere with E.On.

Hi @danco

Okay I see, sorry to hear it hasn’t been sorted yet.

I’ve just bobbed you an email so we can start the process of getting this sorted. If you could please reply to my email thread so I can keep track of everything that would be great.

Ele :bulb: