Very high bills - house has been empty for 2 weeks!

My bulb bill for this month is over double the cost of previous bills despite the fact the house has been empty for 2 weeks.
I have been unable to submit meter readings this month (but submitted readings for the previous month) but I am still unable to understand how the bill could be £100 for 3 people over 2 weeks (when it has been £50-£60 previously over 1 month).

Because it’s been estimated, and the estimate isn’t very good. You don’t have a very high bill. You have a very high guess. The bill can’t ever be right if the actual data aren’t provided. How do you expect your supplier to know the property has been empty for two weeks if you don’t tell them via a meter reading? Garbage in, garbage out.

Don’t worry about it. It’s no big deal. Just submit your meter reading as normal next month, and it’ll sort itself out. You’ll just have a bill that appears lower than usual next month. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that small bill is your “usual bill” and then worry about a bigger, “normal”, bill again the month after. This is the problem with monthly billing, rather than allowing people to keep better track of their usage, it makes people worry over nothing. We never had this trouble when you just had to take a meter reading once a quarter and pay the resulting bill.

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I’ve informed bulb that the house would be empty for 4 months when I was reporting my previous issues (which still haven’t been sorted). I wanted to avoid this exact thing as one month of being charged this much is fine, but 4 months of £100 bills for an empty house is a bit much.

I know how the billing system works but I would have thought the estimated readings would be more accurate and they would have taken into account the house being unoccupied (which I made sure to tell them).
I do agree that being charged every quarter would be better

Just telling Bulb the property will be empty wont do anything. The estimates are industry standard. I think Bulb don’t even make the estimate themselves, it’s done by some regulatory body. The only information that matters is the meter reading, which you didn’t give.

I understand if you’re not there then it could well be difficult to get a meter reading, unless a friend could have gone in to get it for you. If everything was turned off, literally no usage not even a fridge/freezer, then you could have just submitted the same meter reading every month. That may have caused other problems in itself but would likely have worked out better.

Ultimately it’s up to the customer to provide the meter readings as agreed when signing up. When a property is not experiencing typical usage, this problem is always going to occur and you pretty much just have to suck it up until you’re able to provide an actual meter reading to get it sorted out.

Remember you could have changed your direct debit to a low level, so you didn’t actually pay out anything. Your account would have appeared to go into debt with the large estimated bills, but that would then be immediately cleared once you gave a meter reading.

The bill was taken from credit. I reduced the monthly payment already. The credit will not be sufficient for future bills however. I thought that if the credit wasn’t sufficient, your card was billed? Is that not the case?

The only time you’re billed is via your direct debit. Bulb will never take more than the agreed amount, and never any automatic topup payments. Bulb may suggest you change the agreed amount, or force the change if the debt is very large.

It’s true you might end up having to cover the payment for energy you haven’t really used due to the high estimates. When you’re unable to supply meter readings for whatever reason, you just have to accept that and operate knowing the money will be credited back once an actual meter reading is received.

The issue is then that I will probably not be compensated for the gas overcharge in the future bills. As they continue to use gas meter estimates despite me submitting them on time when I do (and the electricity readings are accepted) because of serial number mismatch. It’s been months and no more updates about the gas meter situation (and I email every few weeks asking for one but it is just ignored). May have to contact the energy ombudsman if this is still not resolved soon.

It might have been useful to provide this information in the original post. This is the problem, everything else you’ve described in a symptom. You need to get this resolved. Given Bulb’s slow response to email, have you tried phoning them? I know this can be difficult if you’re always at work during their opening hours, or have anxiety and don’t like using the phone. There’s also live webchat as well. I’d suggest you need to make use of one of the real time communication methods rather than relying on email.

I have used live chat and they then refer me to the original email thread so not much help there at all. I’ve tried phoning but there’s such long waiting times that it makes it difficult to call during breaks/lunch. I will try phoning this coming week, hopefully I can get through.

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