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Light-‘Bulb’ moment helps customers get £1.3 million in refunds

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Towards the end of last year, we began to suspect some customers with restricted meters were being overcharged in error by Bulb. Our eagle-eyed advisors helped correct the mistake, resulting in a huge payout by the popular energy supplier.

What happened?

Some people with electric heating have two electricity meters. This setup is often called ‘restricted metering’. People with restricted meters can pay three different rates for electricity – one rate for the electricity they use during the day, another rate at night, and a ‘control’ or ‘heat’ rate which is just for the electricity used to power their heating system.

We offer specialist advice to people with restricted meters, as it can be a bit more complicated than a standard electricity meter and sometimes people have trouble switching tariff or supplier*.

How was the problem spotted?

Bulb customers with restricted meters told us that even after switching to a single rate tariff they were still paying two standing charges, one for each meter, plus a single unit rate for the electricity they used. This didn’t seem right – customers on a single tariff should only have to pay one standing charge, even if they have two meters.

What did we do about it?

We reported this to Ofgem, the independent energy industry regulator, and they confirmed the way Bulb was charging customers wasn’t correct. Ofgem and Bulb worked to sort this out and, as a result of us bringing the problem to their attention, affected customers got more than £1.3 million in refunds and goodwill payments!

This is great news – plus, Bulb has made a payment of £35,000 to the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme. This fund is managed by Energy Saving Trust and takes payments from energy companies who may have breached the rules. Charities across Scotland, England and Wales can then get grant funding for projects to support vulnerable energy customers and reduce fuel poverty.   

If you’d like some help working out your meter type or advice on managing your bills, we’ll happily chat through this with you. We can also give you advice on getting the most out of your heating system. Give us a call free on 0808 808 2282 or leave your details and we’ll be in touch.

*Only a couple of energy suppliers offer restricted meter tariffs. Because there’s not much choice, there’s a rule that people with restricted meters are allowed to access single rate tariffs from energy suppliers, without paying any extra charges. This means they pay one price for all the electricity they use, even if they still have restricted meters.

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