Whats the deal with utility point and bulb energy?

27
Posted 4th Mar 2019
They seem to be new companies, offering great rates.

Reviews are generally good, which is very suspect for a energy company.

Upon reading reviews, it does appear that both companies offer referral codes, so it looks like people are leaving positive reviews in hope someone uses their referral code and thus making £25 or what ever the sum is.

Some reviewers are stating that the companies have upped their DD after X amount of months without notice and without proof from meter readings, and are difficult to get hold of customer service.

I've just got a email from my current supplier stating that my energy price will increase £100 next month, so im looking to switch. I've got a meter reading from 2017, so have calculated exactly what I use between then and now. Which seems to be:

Electricity: 4197 KWH per year (well above average)
Gas: 4745 KWH per year (well below average)

So.. who is with them?
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Both companies as you say pay for referrals so people aren't going to slate them as you wouldn't use their code. I was with Bulb but left them after a few months due to price increases.
yorkie1204/03/2019 22:40

Both companies as you say pay for referrals so people aren't going to …Both companies as you say pay for referrals so people aren't going to slate them as you wouldn't use their code. I was with Bulb but left them after a few months due to price increases.


So thats how they recoup the referral payouts, by upping the price later down the line.

Very clever marketing.
Edited by: "J4GG4" 4th Mar 2019
I look after a few utility accounts for several family members. Moved one to Utility Point in December - no problems so far, but too early to tell i guess.

Had more problems with te previous supplier - Avro, who continued to take a Direct debit after the account was closed - had to use the Direct Debit Indemnity Scheme to get the money back.
J4GG404/03/2019 22:42

So thats how they recoup the referral payouts, by upping the price later …So thats how they recoup the referral payouts, by upping the price later down the line.Very clever marketing.


Utility Point are currently offering an 18 month fix - this is just slightly more expensive than their cheapest deal - which is a variable deal.
Van197304/03/2019 22:49

Utility Point are currently offering an 18 month fix - this is just …Utility Point are currently offering an 18 month fix - this is just slightly more expensive than their cheapest deal - which is a variable deal.


I saw the fixed term deal, although not checked the t&c's on that yet. I suspect the "fixed" deal can be "amended" at any time though. I calculated my usage throughout winter..etc but energy suppliers always seem to use the winter as an excuse to up your bill.
J4GG404/03/2019 22:52

I saw the fixed term deal, although not checked the t&c's on that yet. I …I saw the fixed term deal, although not checked the t&c's on that yet. I suspect the "fixed" deal can be "amended" at any time though. I calculated my usage throughout winter..etc but energy suppliers always seem to use the winter as an excuse to up your bill.


They can adjust the Direct Debit amount - if they have grounds to do so - but can't change the unit rates on a fixed deal.

From reading reviews on Trustpilot I suspect most people who have had their Direct Debit payment increased have not submitted regular readings or have totally underestimated their usage on sign up.

I change most accounts at the end of the fixed period and mostly go with the cheapest provider at the time - normally someone I've never heard of previously and so far have never had a problem (other than the above one with Avro).
If you have been paying the same monthly amount since 2017 chances are you have been vastly underpaying and the provider is now increasing your monthly payments to not only pay for the power you use but to recoup gradually the underpayment .

Remember there is no such thing as a monthly payment for energy when paying by monthly DD - it is an estimate to cover your usage. You always pay for your actual usage not just the monthly payment , which is estimated to cover your usage but may not necessarily do so .

Seems they have waited a long time to review your usage - My lot ,Engie , review mine every 3 months which is a pain as it goes up and down like a fiddlers elbow .

Can't moan though , I'm 18 months into a 5 year fix (one of my better decisions) so monthly payment goes from £60 to £45 to £50 to £60 and so on .

You need to get your usage down to an annual usage (Electric KWH and Gas KWH ) it will be on your latest bill - then use those figures to get an accurate quote on the switch sites . Sometime in 2017 to March 2019 is too vague (the date of the reading in 2017 would be helpful - if its March 2017 then divide by 2 for annual usage ).

Most important check the readings on your latest bill (they will presumably be estimates ), read your meters and contact your provider with the actual readings so they can amend your bill and probably also your forthcoming monthly payments
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deleted1410297
utility point are good for me 6 months in. Decent unit rates, went on the fixed tariff.
deleted90213904/03/2019 23:09

If you have been paying the same monthly amount since 2017 chances are you …If you have been paying the same monthly amount since 2017 chances are you have been vastly underpaying and the provider is now increasing your monthly payments to not only pay for the power you use but to recoup gradually the underpayment .Remember there is no such thing as a monthly payment for energy when paying by monthly DD - it is an estimate to cover your usage. You always pay for your actual usage not just the monthly payment , which is estimated to cover your usage but may not necessarily do so .Seems they have waited a long time to review your usage - My lot ,Engie , review mine every 3 months which is a pain as it goes up and down like a fiddlers elbow .Can't moan though , I'm 18 months into a 5 year fix (one of my better decisions) so monthly payment goes from £60 to £45 to £50 to £60 and so on .You need to get your usage down to an annual usage (Electric KWH and Gas KWH ) it will be on your latest bill - then use those figures to get an accurate quote on the switch sites . Sometime in 2017 to March 2019 is too vague (the date of the reading in 2017 would be helpful - if its March 2017 then divide by 2 for annual usage ).Most important check the readings on your latest bill (they will presumably be estimates ), read your meters and contact your provider with the actual readings so they can amend your bill and probably also your forthcoming monthly payments


Since 2017 I've been with 3 suppliers. M&S, Sainsburys and now SSE.

My readings are accurate as i've taken a reading from 30th October 2017 and from todays date. I've calculated what i've used in those 490 days using a online calculator. Then adjusted it to work out the annual usage, which is as stated in the main post.

The £100 increase is based on ofgem increasing the cap on the standard tariff, so it doesn't seem to be based on my usage actually being too much.
J4GG404/03/2019 23:49

Since 2017 I've been with 3 suppliers. M&S, Sainsburys and now SSE.My …Since 2017 I've been with 3 suppliers. M&S, Sainsburys and now SSE.My readings are accurate as i've taken a reading from 30th October 2017 and from todays date. I've calculated what i've used in those 490 days using a online calculator. Then adjusted it to work out the annual usage, which is as stated in the main post.The £100 increase is based on ofgem increasing the cap on the standard tariff, so it doesn't seem to be based on my usage actually being too much.


The period Oct 17 to now includes two winters (including 'the beast from the east' March 2018) and just one summer - so your actual true annual usage will be lower than what you have calculated.
Van19731 m ago

The period Oct 17 to now includes two winters (including 'the beast from …The period Oct 17 to now includes two winters (including 'the beast from the east' March 2018) and just one summer - so your actual true annual usage will be lower than what you have calculated.


I bet the energy suppliers will disagree to that lol.
I have been with bulb about a year and my direct debit hasn’t gone up.

when I joined, I used accurate figures to declare my usage, I suspect anyone who had a jump in their direct debit will have under estimated their annual use and will have had that monthly price hike with any company once their actual usage became clear
if you know you can make money out of the referral fees then bulb might be great but cant see many people making a lot of money for us and the other accounts I look after they are not the cheapest even with a bribe of £25 to £50.

They are variable as well and they have just reduced their prices but still would rather go for a money saving fixed deal. It does annoy me that on other sites simply the mention of the word bulb brings out the referrers and sadly not everyone has sense to do a comparison.
J4GG404/03/2019 23:49

Since 2017 I've been with 3 suppliers. M&S, Sainsburys and now SSE.My …Since 2017 I've been with 3 suppliers. M&S, Sainsburys and now SSE.My readings are accurate as i've taken a reading from 30th October 2017 and from todays date. I've calculated what i've used in those 490 days using a online calculator. Then adjusted it to work out the annual usage, which is as stated in the main post.The £100 increase is based on ofgem increasing the cap on the standard tariff, so it doesn't seem to be based on my usage actually being too much.



You should take a reading yourself now . The days of a meter reader coming round every month are long gone . It is probable most of your readings are their Estimate (E) and not the Actual (A) - A or E will be on your bill next to the reading. Maybe I misread your OP as I assumed your payment had gone up by £100 a month (a lot !) , whereas if its £100 a year that's about right . As you say due to the raising of the energy cap .

From your usage figures I imagine you have a mix of gas and electric heating (or use your tumble drier or immersion heater an awful lot ) , my electric usage is 2,400 KWH per year and gas (CH + HW ) 6800 KWH per year . 3 bed semi but only heat the rooms I use . So your figures are not unreasonable .

Having confirmed your latest bill readings match your actual meter readings the way to get the cheapest ongoing deal is as follows :-

Ensure you are out of your current contract period (if you are on one ) otherwise there will be penalties to pay (typically £30 per fuel )

Go on a switch site (U switch or MSE ) input your actual usage (annual gas and electric in KWH that you have now confirmed are correct ) .

Make a note of the cheapest deals and decide whether a short fix (1 year ), a longer fix (2+ years ) or a variable rate is best for you (I start with the premise that it is unlikely energy prices will ever drop ) . Remember the result you get will be an estimate - you will always eventually pay for what you use NOT the estimate .

Next head to Topcashback , cashbacks of up to £120 are widely available from many suppliers ( Uswitch and MSE do give cashbacks of about £30 but freely admit they take half of the available cashback to help finance the running of their sites ).

Now you have the estimates work out which is cheapest (estimate - cashback ) , CLEAR COOKIES , go to your chosen supplier via Topcashback and switch on your new suppliers website (its really simple ,they do it all for you )

A lot of energy companies are springing up these days treating energy as a commodity (just buying energy wholesale and selling retail ) without understanding the customer service side . The big 6 suppliers ,in general , understand customer service better ,having been in the business for years and having a larger customer base .

Understand your usage , send in your readings every month and you should have no need to ever contact customer services with "issues" - in effect you are updating their computer for them .

Sadly too many folks put in a summer month as "usage" get an estimate on the basis of that month then wonder why their bill shoots up in the winter . Unbelievably there are still some who think that the estimate is an actual cost and they can leave the heating on ,windows open etc and still only need to pay the estimate .

Your latest bill will show how much you are in credit or debit as well as your readings and you should always monitor yourself . The newer smaller companies don't tend to monitor new customers (and detect quickly obvious errors on the initial usage given ) hence bills to some are unexpectedly high , payment surprises occur then the customer service is overworked and poor . Avoid this problem by keeping on top of your usage and bills yourself .
I've been with First Utility for a few years now and after the agro of leaving Scottish Power was finally sorted they have been great. Good prices, excellent app and they do a a £50 gift card referral scheme (to both parties). I pay £50 pm dual fuel for a 3 bed house though there is only one of me (and I have Hive)
Van197304/03/2019 22:47

I look after a few utility accounts for several family members. Moved …I look after a few utility accounts for several family members. Moved one to Utility Point in December - no problems so far, but too early to tell i guess. Had more problems with te previous supplier - Avro, who continued to take a Direct debit after the account was closed - had to use the Direct Debit Indemnity Scheme to get the money back.


Oh no. I've just signed up with them via that website which was advertised on dragons den.
Just me who gives a meter reading every 30 days? I thought that was the norm if you didn't have a smart meter. So that way you have very accurate readings and up to date DD.
farmlama1 h, 57 m ago

I have been with bulb about a year and my direct debit hasn’t gone up.when …I have been with bulb about a year and my direct debit hasn’t gone up.when I joined, I used accurate figures to declare my usage, I suspect anyone who had a jump in their direct debit will have under estimated their annual use and will have had that monthly price hike with any company once their actual usage became clear




You suspect wrong, bulb put their prices up at least twice in the last year.

They are putting their gas price down very slightly shortly, but that's not going to make much of a dent into the amount they have put their prices up over the last year.
Bulb emails i found about prices changing. 1st one is a reduction starting at the end of March, other 2 are increases we've had in the last year

Wholesale energy costs have fallen since December, so we’re lowering our prices again from 21st March! Based on your usage, your energy will cost about £39 less per year

In August, we said we might need to increase our prices and, sadly, we do.
This means your energy will cost £16.73 more each month as wholesale energy costs have risen by 18% since June.

In December, we said we might need to increase our prices. Sadly, wholesale energy costs have stayed high, which means we will need to increase prices by 2.8% for a typical home.
We are with bulb and would recommend them - to no one, no one at all. We have supplied all readings when needed including at switch over, they then ignore these and bill us on estimates, because we are arguing these bills (and not paying for twice the amount of units on electricity and almost 3 times on gas) we are having difficulty leaving to switch suppliers as they claim we have a debt with them thus are unable to leave. We are a the stage of asking them for a deadlock letter to eneable us to escalate to OFGEM and get resolution.
EN1GMA05/03/2019 08:50

Oh no. I've just signed up with them via that website which was advertised …Oh no. I've just signed up with them via that website which was advertised on dragons den.


That was the only problem I had with Avro - had 3 accounts with them (one still) and on leaving they took an additional direct debit from one of them - which my bank took no problem. They take about 10 weeks to pay any credit balance back - but from my experience most suppliers are slow to pay back anything they owe you!!
I think energy providers are a lot like broadband providers. People have good and bad experiences with all of them. I am in my second month now with Bulb and the whole process (so far) has been smooth and painless. Referrals aside, they were the cheapest provider for me - even on a variable tariff - and I've been with the same previous provider on fixes for many, many years so change; for me; was quite a nervous step.

Bulb kept me informed about every step of the way. What they were doing and when. Asked for readings when required and told me when they had been passed/approved by my last provider (who incidentally never contacted or told me a single thing during the entire process) and when to expect my final bill and/or refund.

I really love their simplicity too. The website is plain and simple with no bloat/flash and makes handling my account so easy. I have spoken to them via phone too and have found their staff to be quick, efficient and friendly - although I'm a bit old-school and would prefer to be called "Mr" rather than by my Christian name, or at least ask how I wish to be addressed. That's just me though. I haven't checked to see whether it's a UK call centre or not but I think it may well be.

I did read about their previous price rises but that was prior to me joining so was a non-issue really. ALL suppliers raise prices. I do like the fact however that they keep track of wholesale costs and change accordingly (and not just follow the herd) and the recent e-mail to customers was refreshing. Sadly it was just gas only that's down and would have been amazing to see prices for leccy drop after only being with them a month but encouraging news nonetheless and delivered in a down-to-earth fashion.

Am I worried about anything? Of course. It's early days and things can always go wrong. I'm interested in the stories regarding people's DD's suddenly rising but if you provide accurate readings then at SOME POINT these would have to be taken notice of as they can't use estimates all the time. The meter should be read by a human at least ONCE a year anyway so things would reset at that point. I don't mind being in credit anyway so I don't think it'll be a major problem. Billing (or taking payments) may worry me as a recent email suggested they had a "system error" that has delayed payments going ahead. I have checked though and everything seems ok so hopefully not a regular occurrence.


The TL:DR summary:
Energy providers are pretty much all the same. Good for some - bad for others. Tend to hear more about the bad.
I like Bulb's informative, yet simple service.
Can't fault them so far with my experience but time will obviously tell.
Van197305/03/2019 11:04

That was the only problem I had with Avro - had 3 accounts with them (one …That was the only problem I had with Avro - had 3 accounts with them (one still) and on leaving they took an additional direct debit from one of them - which my bank took no problem. They take about 10 weeks to pay any credit balance back - but from my experience most suppliers are slow to pay back anything they owe you!!


Apart from that everything OK?
EN1GMA5 m ago

Apart from that everything OK?


Yep, no other problems. I would use them again, just for me Utility Point are currently cheaper by around £70/year so have changed one over and will be changing another over in April when the current fixed rate deal finishes.
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deleted67360
yorkie1204/03/2019 22:40

Both companies as you say pay for referrals so people aren't going to …Both companies as you say pay for referrals so people aren't going to slate them as you wouldn't use their code. I was with Bulb but left them after a few months due to price increases.


Yes! bulb attracts you with the referral code and stuff. But their prices are not competitive as they claim. I have never paid so much for my bills, bear in mind that I have solar panels. I am giving them another month during the end of winter when we actually have sunlight for longer hours. If my bill does not decrease drastically will be bye bye bulb!
deleted6736005/03/2019 13:44

Yes! bulb attracts you with the referral code and stuff. But their prices …Yes! bulb attracts you with the referral code and stuff. But their prices are not competitive as they claim. I have never paid so much for my bills, bear in mind that I have solar panels. I am giving them another month during the end of winter when we actually have sunlight for longer hours. If my bill does not decrease drastically will be bye bye bulb!


But you know the prices before you sign up, right? So not sure why your bills would unless your usage does. But then you have solar so that should be used when you are consuming electricity?
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deleted67360
I was paying 57 monthly for both gas and electricity. I gave the real numbers to bulb and they calculated £37.00
Then they hiked their price. now is near to 70 PM.

I tried comparing providers and the best offer is saving me 20 quid per year!
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