Utility Bills etc - Is it just me?

I recently changed my energy supplier. I provided meter readings as required for the changeover. New supplier got them right. The old supplier managed to get the gas reading wrong, claiming it was a ‘smart reading’; a good trick as I don’t have smart meter. No surprise the error was in their favour - I’d have paid for the same gas with both suppliers. So, rang up and queried this, and was eventually promised a revised final bill. No apologies, unfortunately. Received the final, corrected, bill, but today got a refund into my bank acccount which was about £11 less than promised. So, it was another session on the phone to correct this. Apologies given and balance of refund promised, but no explanation for the frankly bizarre refund amount.
Anyway, I have my mobile phone and internet with another provider. The contract promised a discount of £2 a month for having both services. Realised yesterday I wasn’t getting this discount. Another long phone call this morning querying this oversight, claiming the last few months of overpayment and asking for corrected bills in future.
Now, is it just me that has these problems? Luckily I have time to spot them and to sort them, but it shouldn’t be necessary. Call me cynical, but are these companies ‘nickel and diming’ a large number of customers in the same way and these errors, in their favour, are slipping through to their advantage?

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I think they are doing this deliberately. Take a little off of a lot of people and you have a lot of money. 20% of the people will spot it and moan, the other 80% will not and you’ve got away with it.

I think the high call volumes announcement is just a way to make getting your money back harder. A lot of people won’t even bother for a small amount even if they have spotted it because the 2 hours on the phone is just not worth it.

The worst I had was Coop energy. For over a year they were charging me at the rate of an imperial gas meter despite me having a metric item. Call after call after call I think they were hoping I would just go away but at 3 times the normal price I was going nowhere! My nan would not have spotted this, nor my Mum probably so there must be oodles of cash going missing.

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Please could you identify the outfit concerned as it may just help other customers/victims.

If anyone is looking for a utility provider with great customer service, I can recommend Bulb - they have just one single variable tariff (which is usually amongst the cheapest available) and supply 100% renewable electricity and 10% green gas, with the rest being carbon offset.

If you use my referral link - https://www.bulb.me/philgrimble - we’ll both get a £50 credit on our energy accounts. Once you’ve switched, you can then earn credits for everyone that you sign up.

They charge no exit fees and have an excellent rating on Trustpilot. They’ll also pay any exit fees from your current supplier.

I’ve only had to contact them a couple of times - the first time I got through immediately, the second time within a couple of minutes. On both occasions my query was dealt with efficiently and without the need for any follow up.

Admin - please remove my link if not allowed :slightly_smiling_face:



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Hm, it was Bulb who have given me the problems with the final bill, so I’m not impressed. OK, they sorted it efficiently, but the original aprtial refund was just bizarre.


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I was wondering if/when someone would pop up with the Bulb referral link…

For the OP’s problem…, no I’ve never experienced that kind of problem.
I’ve switched energy suppliers several times in the last few years… from British Gas,
to Octopus Energy for a 1 year fixed rate, then to another outfit Green Network Energy for an 18 month fix. Have to say, in terms of service British Gas was fine. Now that the ‘Big Six’ are starting to respond properly in terms of price to the likes of some of the above, and Bulb… I’d be quite happy to possibly return to them.

I steer well clear of the scenarios where energy, broadband, mobile phone services are bundled together. Somewhere along the way, something has to give. It’s either customer service, or price, billing…or … something.

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No, phone and broadband are one supplier, energy is/was another. Like you, tend to use different suppliers and switch as needed. Two different insurers for my two cars too. Maybe the fact we’re now all chasing the best deals, something has to give.

Very happy with Octopus Energy and can also offer a referral… :sunglasses:

Hi John,

Sorry to hear your experience hasn’t been as good as mine with Bulb. Perhaps I should have waited for you to name the company before I replied…!

Before moving to Bulb we were with NPower - they couldn’t even get the first bill right and it took weeks of back and forth before someone finally took ownership and got the account sorted for us. But I’m sure they also must have many satisfied customers.

Glad you got it sorted reasonably efficiently in the end though.


Thanks for your thoughts, Phil. I just had one of those days wasting my time on big companies seemingly running totally disconnected operations on customer’s accounts. How can Bulb send a ‘final’ bill stating a refund of £31 odd and then actuallly remit £18.97? It defies logic. Why can a company send an email confirming that a discount for having two services attarcts a £2 discount and then not apply it? Is their system not set up to automatically apply such a discount? As you’ve found out, Npower can have similar issues. I’m sure it all works fine for the majority, but when it dooesn’t, then it’s incredibly frustrating. I wonder, do these things ever work in the customers favour?

Hi all,being a bit of a dinosaur, I’ve never switched suppliers. Been with BG for gas And also electric when they started offering that. Who knows? I may have paid way over the odds over the years. They’ve certainly not been perfect and we have had a few discussions over the phone. We’ve only had one switch when the new supplier (can’t remember who) got our address mixed with someone down the road. Our road is cut in two by the M62 and the row of cottages disappeared with the new road build,many years ago. Resulting in a gap from our house to the next one of about 28 numbers (14 houses). Anyway BG then wrote saying sorry we had decided to switch,which we hadn’t, but didn’t offer any incentive to stay. We were also on a budget account for both and they demanded payment in full of the negative amount in the accounts. What a mess and we had a hell of a job sorting it out, even though we had never applied to switch in the first place! Nightmare! It’s always the customer that has to chase it up! We’re still with them now. After the issue was sorted, we went on to a smart meter, only because we could, thinking that they might as well earn their money. Had to have new meters, repeat visits etc to get it to work, etc. Complete waste of time IMO, if the dishwasher and other things are running and I want to have a brew, it changes to a pleasant red colour, other than that, useless. I’ve also been told that should we swap suppliers, nothing would be compatible and another equipment change would be necessary? Not sure how true that is.


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Reading all this and being on the receiving end myself on several occasions, I do wonder, are all other countries in such an unorganized mess or is it just us.
The other problem with contacting these companies is their lack of staff, because no matter what time you phone, you are put in a queue because all advisers are talking to other members or some such cr*p , and then , just to make your day, the person who then takes your call cant speak clearly in a language you can understand ! who hires these people? its like " can you speak Cockney rhyming slang really fast?" Oh good you can be a telephone consultant .
There’s nothing like venting you’re frustrations :face_with_raised_eyebrow:



Igloo energy have been absolutely fine for us, into our third year with them. I think at the time we wanted to switch I took a look at Bulb, they were very slightly cheaper on one tarrif but a little over Igloo on the other, we have dual fuel.
We were with Npower previously but they couldn’t offer a fixed price deal I was looking for. No smart meters, although they are starting to offer them, just submit a reading each month and you get the bill, all simply stuff and efficient. Never had cause to ring them either so far, everything in order. Npower even sent us a refund unexpectedly after around 6 months leaving them, I thought we were all up to date nothing owed either way.

Many such companies outsource their customer relations management to specialist providers based abroad. Bangalore (India) features prominently in this regard. Whilst many will be able to speak fluently in ‘English’ their accent is sometimes difficult to understand. Owing to the high ‘churn rate’ in the industry, you will be lucky if the customer service agent is able to do much more than respond to an algorithmic list. In some chat applications, I often ask to speak to a real person only to be told that I am. I think using such ‘go-between agents’ is a false economy because good customer service is rare and highly valued. If the CRM company doesn’t perform, it’s the company which engages them which takes the reputational hit.

Opus Energy; we use them because they allow us to pay monthly in arrears
for what we used. I intensely dislike the monthly payment plan system, having
spent months some years ago battling with N Power.
The Opus system of paying for what one uses is more akin to buying fuel for the
car, of course buying petrol/diesel is an up front purchase.
Those who have recommended Bulb, Octopus, Igloo energy companies please advise
do they offer pay-as-you-go systems?

Hi Keith, not exactly pay as you go but we’re with Octopus and when we switched (from British Gas) we agreed a monthly payment, significantly less I might add. However, we have started using more than we’re agreeing to pay for, so we read the smart meter each month and pay ‘extra’ on top of the normal payment, that way, no surprises. Come the summer, we might be overpaying at that point but will probably build the fund as it were.


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Octopus - provide a monthly reading and pay only for what you use, referral link will give you (and me) some credit.

Igloo, you pay an agreed payment each month by direct debit. My DD just about covers the bill with not really much to spare if any come the end of the heavy usage winter months. I get a bill each month for usage for that period (meter reading manually sent online) it gets paid from my balance.
I like it this way, straight forward billing, no nonsense. A bonus for us anyway, no smart meters, although they are trying their best to push them on to us. I’ve got my own smart meter, it’s an exercise book, a pen, I can at a glance see what I’ve used each month going back a few years now.


I was with Octopus Energy a couple of years ago. As I recall, when you sign up, having accepted the quote for monthly payment, they take the first monthly payment immediately ( ie in advance ), and proceed on that basis on succeeding months. As far as I can tell most of the ‘new name’ energy suppliers prefer, for obvious reasons, to grab your money up front

If by Pay as You Go, you mean using a key meter, and buying credits, I don’t think Octopus offer a tariff like that.

Btw…, I moved away from Octopus because I realised after a while that their idea of ‘renewable energy’ consisted of having a fuel mix made up of a large percentage of REGO’s ( Renewable Energy certificates…, they’re a bit like carbon offsets , ie greenwash ). I moved to an 18 months fixed contract with Green Network Energy…, and blow me down, I found they were just the same.

This time around, I did more research, and found a supplier which, on it’s best tariff, buys it’s energy from direct contracts with wind farms, solar farms etc. And they charge by the month, in arrears. Bristol Energy ( Super Green tariff )

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