Usage charge for first month seems unexpectedly high

Hi, we just signed up to Bulb last month and just been asked to submit first month’s meter readings which I’ve just done. It’s saying that our usage in monetary terms is £139 - our monthly payment is £137. our heating has barely been on and we have a combi boiler so hot water not on constantly either. If £139 is what we use during summer months, god help us when it comes to winter. I have doubled checked the figures I submitted already. Bulb was supposed to be saving us money.

Bulb was supposed to be saving us money.

Assuming that the Bulb unit rates (pence per kWh) and standing charge (pence per day) are lower than what you would have been paying otherwise, then you are saving money by being with Bulb. It’s as simple as that. If all the meter readings are correct, then your huge bill would have been even higher with another supplier. So Bulb is not the issue here.

You say you’ve double checked the figures already. Could you confirm on your statement that the opening readings are definitely the ones you gave Bulb, they are not using estimates, and you didn’t make a mistake such as transposing two digits? Perhaps you have a photo to check against that you took to on the day of your switch? Likewise the latest reading, it’s definitely correct, the statement is using it and not an estimate?

Assuming yes to all the above, then we are down to two possibilities. Either you really have used all that energy, which means you possibly have a faulty appliance in your house that is stuck on or otherwise somehow using more energy than normal, or the meter has become faulty. There are several tests you can do here, but I’ll leave detailing those for another time after you’ve confirmed other possibilities.

Hi, have taken your advice and checked our opening readings and the ones today and they are correct. So what is our next step? Do I speak with someone direct tomorrow? Our monthly usage in monetary terms in June has never been £139.

The submitted readings maybe correct however if you have not submitted them within the 2 day time frame estimates will have been used.
Contact Bulb Monday.

Hi, have taken your advice and checked our opening readings and the ones today and they are correct. So what is our next step? Do I speak with someone direct tomorrow? Our monthly usage in monetary terms in June has never been £139.

In that case either you’ve got a faulty appliance or the meter itself is faulty. You might be tempted to think this is related to your switch to Bulb, but that is impossible. All that happens when you switch is the company handling your billing changes. Nothing else changes in relation to your infrastructure, so it can only be a coincidence.

If you believe your meter is faulty, talk to Bulb. A “check meter” can be installed, but if no fault is found then there will be a charge of about £120. There’s a couple of things you can do yourself to check the meter before then:

  1. Turn off the entire supply to your property using the master switch in your consumer unit. Leave it an hour or so and make sure that the meter does not increment in that time. Sometimes when a meter is faulty it can keep going up even with no possible usage.
  2. Turn the power back on, but keep everything switched off except for a known constant load. A good simple one is a 1kW fan heater. With nothing else powered, leave this running for 1 hour and your meter should increment by exactly 1kWh. If it goes up by more than this then you can be pretty sure it's overreading.

If those two tests indicate there’s likely nothing wrong with the meter then it’ll be a waste of time getting Bulb out to it. You’ll have to start looking for the faulty appliance on your private side of the electrical installation, possibly with the help of an electrician.

Of course I’ve just realised that you’ve only ever talked about “our usage” and not whether the high usages is specifically electric.

If the usually high usage is gas then the obvious thing to do is start looking for leaks. If your meter and all pipework is indoors then you’d probably have noticed that by now. Perhaps your boiler is firing more than it should.

Just a few ideas to investigate …