Why some meters switch suppliers suddenly

Hi all,

Occasionally people will find their meter’s switched over to a new supplier without their knowing. The industry term for this is an Erroneous Transfer.

Generally these are preventable, but occasionally a meter slips through the net.

You may find this out because you have been contacted by another supplier to let you know you’re now with them, or because you’ve had communication from Bulb to inform you that you’ve switched away.

Why does it happen?

This can happen for a number of reasons, but it is almost always an honest mistake. The most common reasons are below:

  • Meters are not labelled properly in the national database and so the incorrect one is switched when someone joins a supplier.
  • An energy company has received your details by mistake, which can happen if you live in a flat or new build property
  • There’s been a human error, for example someone accidentally selected the wrong address when signing up to a new supplier.
  • The switch was not cancelled in time, so it went through even though you changed your mind.
  • Very rarely, it can be because of fraud.
  • Occasionally if you’ve signed up to a switching site such as ‘look after my bills’ or ‘uswitch’, they may switch you automatically.

What to do?

Firstly, do not worry!

We will ensure that your meters are returned to us as quickly as possible. (If you do still want to stay). And if you find yourself switched over to us - we can return you back to your old supplier as though you never left.

We will send the request over to the other supplier to let them know they’ve made a mistake. Once they’ve got our request, they’ll send your supply back over, or vice versa.

You won’t be charged by the other supplier during the time you’re with them and once back with the correct supplier, billing will continue as though nothing has happened.

We aim to resolve this within 20 working days for you.

We may ask you to get in touch with the other supplier. This is to help speed up the process. And on occasion, due to GDPR, we can’t always discuss your account with other suppliers.

If you lose power during an erroneous transfer

If you lose power, you need to contact the current supplier. While an erroneous transfer is ongoing, it’s important to remember the meter is not with your normal supplier, so you will need to speak to whomever has taken on the meter. We’ll also get in touch with them to help.

Top-up meters and erroneous transfers

If you have a prepayment meter you should still be able to top up with your key and card. Here’s some more details on what can happen and what to do if either of your meters have been switched:

1- If this has happened to your gas, you should be able to still use your card to top up. If you’re low on supply or have run out of credit, an old gas card registered to the meter should continue to work even if the meter has switched.

If your gas card is no longer allowing you to top up, you can be issued a new card while this is ongoing by the current supplier. This should continue to work once you’ve switched back to the correct supplier.

2- If this has happened to your electric, you should still be able to use your old key. However, if you’re running low on credit or are off supply and can’t top up using the key you have, you’ll need to get in touch with the current supplier they should be able to give you a code to pick up a new key to top-up the meter.

Smart pay as you go (PAYG) meters and erroneous transfers

If you have a smart PAYG meter, and your supply goes off, give the current supplier a ring to make sure that the meter is in the correct mode and you can continue to have power.

If you have been switched to Bulb in error, we will put your meter into credit mode, which means you won’t need to top up while this is corrected. This is to make sure you don’t go off supply at any point. We may ask for a photo of your meter to confirm that this has been done.

Financial assistance whilst you are erroneously transferred

If you need any financial assistance whilst you’re awaiting for your supply to be returned to the correct supplier, you will also need to get in touch with the current supplier. If you have been transferred to Bulb and you need assistance whilst you’re with us, please give us a call on 0300 303 0635.

Let us know if you have any questions and we’ll always be happy to help, get in touch with us below.

The industry is a wild-west of policy and process, and we’re always trying to contribute our bit to help improve it.

Obviously this is a pretty big issue in the industry. Do you have any feedback you’d like to see us put forward to the regulators?