What on earth has happened to my bill- please help!

In a nutshell, we had £245 or so in credit with Bulb as a result mainly of recommending others to join. I emailed to ask if this credit could be transferred to our bank account and Bulb said they would like up to date meter readings, which I duly gave them.

Imagine my horror when their response back was to say the ‘cost of energy this month’ was £6.34 for gas (cheap…) and… £395.03 for electricity. In one month!! Needless to say I have contested this and await a reply, but has anyone else received such a (surely impossible and improbable) hike? We joined them in November and have been paying £58. Having logged in now, it says our monthly usage is a more eye watering £96.02. I know we obviously use more energy in the winter but even in the past and taking any overall energy price hikes into consideration, the max we ever paid for our 3 bedroom house with 2 adults and 1 toddler in was no higher than £86 with another company.

Even if this is right, and we should be paying £96.02, the difference x3 months (since November) to now between this price and the £58 is £114 (£152 for 4 months), however they were specific in saying this was last month’s spending alone. Surely I would had to have powered half of my whole road to spend that much electricity in one month! I work Monday-Friday in the day and my wife and daughter aren’t in the house all that much, and we certainly haven’t changed our energy habits that much over the last month, besides obviously a bit more heating on as it’s got colder, but still nowhere near as much as we used last Winter which was a lot colder.

Okay, so that wasn’t really a nutshell, but does anyone have any thoughts, comments or advice? I can’t even begin to explain how much this has stressed me out!

Is this your first accurate electricity meter reading for several months? It sounds like you’ve had a big “catch up” bill". This will put your monthly payment up considerably while you pay off the debt but it’ll go down again once your account is back in credit.

Have you gone through your previous electricity meter readings and PDF bills to see what’s been estimated, what’s accurate, and how your expected usage varies?

Akin to what Hooloovoo said, deduct your opening electricity meter reading with Bulb from your latest reading to find out how much energy (in kWh) you’ve used since November, and compare that usage to what’s gone before with your old supplier. Multiply that kWh figure by the unit rate you pay for your electricity to find out how much you should have been charged since you switched. If prices went up since you joined, this will still give you a ball park figure for comparison purposes.

I too have had a huge hike in bill prices and have voiced my concern about this to Bulb, who haven’t really said much other than that this is my usage. I really don’t see how it can be the case as, as you have also said, we haven’t changed our consumption habits apart from slightly increasing the amount of heating we’ve had on. I have given readings of my usage every month since joining Bulb so none of my bills are based on estimates and I am also extremely confused how the bill can be so much higher.

apart from slightly increasing the amount of heating we've had on

This creates a bigger effect that you may think.

I have given readings of my usage every month since joining Bulb so none of my bills are based on estimates and I am also extremely confused how the bill can be so much higher.

If you genuinely believe your usage hasn’t changed, but your metered amounts are increasing, then the only thing to do is attempt to check the meters. This is much easier to do yourself for electric than it is for gas. If you think you’ve found a fault you can ask Bulb to install a “check meter” that will run alongside your existing meter, but if they are found to agree (i.e., no fault) then you’ll be charged for the service.

Is it your gas or electric that you think is going wrong? Or both? If both it’s probably unlikely that both meters have gone out of calibration at the same time, so it must be something else.

GemmaBaldwin said:
apart from slightly increasing the amount of heating we've had on

This creates a bigger effect that you may think.

Just as a comparison my gas bill for Nov was £46 for Feb £101 , In my head I just tweaked the heating up slightly.
I have checked and the figures are correct and Bulb are still cheaper than most.

Heya @Ell_F

Thanks for raising your concerns on Community. I’m sorry that you’ve had such a shock with your statement.

You did give us meter readings when you switched over to Bulb in November. The next set of meter readings you gave us was 4 months later.

According to those readings you have given us, you have used just over 4,000kwh of electricity. The average home uses 3,100kwh per year. So yes, that does seem a fair amount higher than what we’d expect. And as you said, you’re not in the house much so unless you’re heating a swimming pool - it’s unlikely you’re a ‘high energy user’. But it’s not totally impossible.

The first thing I’d do is check the meter reading that you submitted recently. You’ll be able to double check what this was on your Bulb account.

If you think it’s wrong, then we can get this fixed.

The next thing to do is check your appliances. If one is faulty then it can really drain your energy.

Switch off all your appliances in the house and one by one switch them on and see what happens on your meter. If one of the appliances makes your meter tick over particularly quickly, you’ll need to get an engineer to get this fixed.

Let us know how you get on!

I have given readings of my usage every month since joining Bulb so none of my bills are based on estimates
You did give us meter readings when you switched over to Bulb in November. The next set of meter readings you gave us was 4 months later.

@GemmaBaldwin Do you have any comments regarding the relationship between the above two statements? They can’t both be right.

Slightly confused how a switch from November 2018 to now can be 4 months though :confused: I presume we’re not talking November 2017 or we wouldn’t be discussing from the start of the switch in terms of just these last few months.

Switch off all your appliances in the house and one by one switch them on and see what happens on your meter. If one of the appliances makes your meter tick over particularly quickly, you'll need to get an engineer to get this fixed.

Not too sure on the validity of this test. Turning on the kettle is always going to make the meter usage light flash faster than, say, turning the TV on. You need to be familiar with expected usage of an appliance before this test makes sense. And if the TV was using as much electric as a kettle, I’m sure that would have a definite audio/visual alert =)

@GemmaBaldwin Do you perhaps have an oil-filled radiator you could use as a test? If it’s rated at 1kW, then when run for 1 hour with the internal thermostat full up it will use 1kWh of electricity and so make your meter increment by exactly 1 unit. If you do this with everything else turned off, then you’ll get a good idea if the meter is in the right ball park. For example, if it went up by 2 units then something is likely wrong. If it only goes up by 0.5 units, then happy days and shush … :#

My electric bills are also ridiculously high (I switched to Bulb from EoN to try and bring the price down) my bills are averaging around £160 a month. Similar to above, my partner and I work full time so usage during the weekdays should be minimal. We have oil central heating that also heats the water so we aren’t a fully electric household. I’ve now asked our neighbour with same size house (although there’s 4 of them living there) what their bill is monthly and it’s £68.
Our meter surely has to be wrong? It’s really making me anxious that our bills go up and up to an unmanageable amount.
Electric oven and tumble dryer do make it flash particularly fast but they are used for short amounts of time and not always daily.
Is there anything I can do?

Is there anything I can do?

In the post above yours I suggested a way of making a basic test of meter calibration using an inexpensive oil filled radiator. Perhaps you could try that? What you need is a known load for a fixed amount of time so you can see what the meter registers.