Why we use estimates for your statements

You might see the occasional email from us asking for meter readings. That’s because we need your readings to work out your energy usage.

If we don’t receive any readings from you (or your smart meter) then we have to use an estimate. Here’s a run through of how they work and why we use them.

  • In the absence of meter readings, we use an estimate to generate your monthly statement.

  • All estimated meter readings are based on the historical energy usage of your property.

  • The more meter readings we receive from your property, the more accurate these estimates are likely to be.

  • They are decided by the industry as a whole and not your individual supplier.

  • Estimated meter readings could be higher or lower than your actual usage.

  • An actual meter reading automatically overrides an estimated reading on your account.

  • To prevent estimates, we ask you to submit a reading every month, ideally a few days before we issue your statement.

  • The easiest way to submit a meter reading is through your Bulb Account, or on the app.

If you submit a meter reading after a statement has been produced using estimates, you have 2 options:

  1. Wait until next month for the estimate to be corrected. Your account balance will update automatically.
  2. Let us know you would like a new statement. We can remove the estimate and re-version your statement based on your latest readings.

What if the estimates are nowhere near my normal usage?

As soon as you can provide us with an accurate reading, we will be able to remove/ignore the estimates and continue to bill you from the updated read.

This can happen when you are new to a property that previously had significantly higher usage than you.



I received an email whilst I was on holiday last week saying my estimated usage with Bulb over winter was to double and so they would be automatically increasing my payment to £58.76 from £29.66. I have just logged in to my account to find that Bulb has not been registering my manual inputs for my meter readings and has, instead, been using its own estimation.

In May I uploaded figures of Day: 46666 and Night: 34549. Bulb had estimated my nightly usage at +109 units over 2 months when my manual reading was +29 in those 2 months.
In July it has taken my readings at “Day:46872 and Night: 34578”. The graph shows I used £25 worth of energy.
In August, Bulb used their own estimate, instead of my readings, of “Day: 46976 and Night: 34620” when I have a photo in my library of “Day: 46967 and Night: 34595” On this month, I used 17 units at night, but Bulb want to tell me I’m predicted to have used 42 units. and therefore have spent £43.
Bulb have again used their own estimate for September which says “Day: 47087 Night: 34668”. I have a photo in my library which says “Day: 47074 Night: 34615”. They predict I have used £46 at 73 units over night instead of the actual 20 units (Day usage predicted 120 instead of the actual 107).

  1. If you request manual inputs of my meter readings, please take them and don’t ignore my input.
  2. If you’re going to ignore them and use your own estimates, be realistic with your figures.
  3. Why you need to take double the amount to store in the account for winter months I do not know. You do not know how much electric I will be using, and based off your summer estimates, I don’t think you’re going to guess this right. It will just end up being a lot of money sitting in the account for the benefit of Bulb to spite your customers.

I’m a single person, living in a 1 bed flat. The only appliance I leave on all day is my fridge freezer and WIFI hub. I turn everything else off. I even have my water boiler turned off - I turn it on once a month. I work full time and am out of my house for 10 hours a day. My shift pattern means I have less than 9 hours at home between shifts some days in which I spend most of that time (trying to at least) sleeping. On my days off I’ll play a few hours of Xbox but I spend most of my time off going for walks or seeing family. I rarely use my oven as I heat most of my food at work. I know the idea of the economy 7 meter is to have things on at night but I am using no where near the estimated amount of energy at night SO PLEASE sort out your estimates. Especially the night time figures.
Over the winter I plan to use very little heating, as I have done over the past 4 years. I am prepared and well hardened to use more layers of clothing and thicker blankets.

The other problem is that I rent the flat, and it’s part of a block. I have contacted Bulb before to ask them to stop communications about smart meters as I can not have them installed. But I still keep getting emails and texts.

Can someone help me or give me some advice?

1 Like

I’m going to be following this thread because a lot of what was said also applies to me. I can see that at least your payments used to be in the region of £30 which is what I would consider correct for my property also - a tiny rented 1 bedroom.

My previous provider was charging me about £33 a month and Bulb want to charge me £51 instead. I regret making the switch.

We have also been advised that our DD will increase from £63.50 to £83.87 in a few days time even though our last bill was £59.19 and out next bill which is due would be about £5 more.
We are already in credit of £120.28 so enough to pay for 2 months bills.
We are due to have an air source pump and solar thermal due to be fitted next month. We already have solar PV system so our bills should reduce slightly.
I think it is unfair that Bulb can just change your DD without permission.
Last year I had to fight to get my excess credit balance returned.
Talking on their chat service couldn’t help either. I had to put in a formal complaint before they return my excess balance.

Hi @mcmuse

Welcome to community :wave:

I’ve merged your comment under this thread as I thought it may provide some useful information.

I’m really sorry to hear you’re having issues with your statements/ readings.

I just had a quick scan over your account and can see you sent through some readings when you first joined us on 28/05/21 and on the 29/07/21. I couldn’t see any more readings apart from those sets, where have you been sending them through ? It would be worth us double checking so that going forward the ones you submit are added into the account.

In the absence of meter readings we use industry based estimates to calculate your statements , as the post above details.

In regards to smart meters, I’ve added you to our smart refusal list so you should no longer get communications about getting them installed.

Thanks Ele :bulb:

Hi @EMf42wr

I can see your payments have now been updated to £35, as we await your gas supply to come over.

Did you have an estimated annual consumption for your energy ? We can use this to create an accurate quote for you.

Ele :bulb:

Hi, my gas consumption is projected at 2172 kWh per annum. My electricity consumption is projected at 1832 kWh. This was an estimate from my previous provider, based on my readings in the winter months. I was with them for only 3 (winter) months before they went bust.

Why, when I submit readings are they not used? I have an estimated reading of 3437 when my actual reading is 00045. Bulb are now pressuring to increase my DD, when I am in credit. My last reading was submitted less than 3 weeks ago and was 00037. Complaints are going unanswered, and I don’t seem to be able to get this resolved. Any hints to get a resolution, and get complaints heard?

Hi @EMf42wr :wave:

Great okay, once your gas supply has come over to us we can use those figures to generate a new quote.

Ele :bulb: