Thanks for your comments.
Here’s an explanation of the payment review process in a bit more detail. If you have suggestions about how we can make things clearer, please let us know.
Why do we review your monthly payments?
Keeping your payments at the right level keeps everyone’s energy cost lower, and it stops members getting unexpected high bills later on.
At Bulb, we’re committed to providing energy that’s both green and affordable.
We buy our energy in advance. And as a result, we’re able to offer a cheaper tariff for all our members. But in order to provide that cheaper tariff, we need our members to keep one month’s credit in their account. Otherwise, we’d have to increase your prices relative to what they are now to help us build a cash reserve for winter months.
We also try and avoid ‘bill shock’ for our members. This happens when you don’t submit a meter reading for a while and your actual readings, which measure your actual usage, are higher than your estimates. Suddenly you’re faced with a large bill you weren’t expecting.
By sending our members payment review emails, we aim to keep your balance healthy throughout the year. The key thing we calculate your payments for is to make sure you have enough credit in your account at the start of next winter, in 12 months time.
Who is sent a payment review email?
People who will not have enough credit to make it through Winter 2019
- Members whose average usage is £5 more than their monthly payments
- Members who don’t have at least two month’s winter buffer in their account
- Members who do have 2 months winter buffer in their account but their current monthly payment is still too low
This last point can be a little confusing so I’ll expand:
At Bulb, your payments stay the same throughout the year.
Even if your account has a healthy enough credit now to avoid building up debt this winter, your payments should be high enough to build credit up again for the next winter.
For example, if your monthly payments are £80 but your average usage is £120 per month, by this time next year your account will be in debt despite having a credit of £200 now.
How do we let our members know about a payment review?
Up until now, we’ve sent two emails.
- “We think you should increase your payments”
First, we’ll send you an email to say that your average monthly usage is greater than your monthly payments. We don’t make any changes to your direct debit at this point. Instead, we give you the option to increase your payments yourself.
- “We need to increase your payments”
If you decide not to make changes to your monthly payments, we’ll send you an email to say your direct debit will be increasing.
This email will say
- How much we are increasing your payments by
- When your payments are increasing
- How we have calculated your payment increase
However, members have told us that sending two emails is confusing. So we’re now just sending one.
How can a member stop their monthly payment increasing?
If you don’t want to increase your payments to the suggested amount, you don’t have to.
We give you plenty of notice so you can do one of two things:
- Email us to say you’d rather keep things as they are
- Log in to your Bulb account and change your direct debit
If you do either of these things, we won’t send another payment review for at least 3 months.
How can you have your credit refunded?
If you’d prefer to have the credit in your Bulb account transferred to your bank account, then you can drop us a line and we’ll send you a refund.
Before we do, we’ll need some up to date meter readings. If you need it, we have advice on how to read your meter.
But, if you chose to take the credit from your account, we’d suggest also increasing your direct debit payments.