The company recognized a series of failures in its IT and compliance processes over a three-year period.
As a result, thousands of customers have been billed multiple times for their ongoing charge, the fixed daily charge you pay to cover the cost of connecting to the gas and electricity grid, while others have been wrongly prevented from paying. switch to Bulb.
Separately, tens of thousands of vulnerable customers have been removed from the Priority Service Registry, a free service that providers offer to help vulnerable customers.
Energy regulator Ofgem said just under 62,000 customers were affected by the errors.
Bulb has paid around £ 1.6million in refunds and compensation, as well as £ 157,000 into a voluntary recourse fund, used to help vulnerable energy consumers.
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What didn’t go well?
Ofgem discovered that Bulb was not following his rules in three areas. They were:
- Around 11,400 customers were incorrectly billed for multiple ongoing charges between December 2017 and June 2020. These customers were overcharged by a total of £ 699,000. Bulb has since refunded that sum to affected customers along with an additional £ 675,000 in goodwill payments.
- Around 3,800 energy consumers were prevented from switching to Bulb between June 2017 and April 2020. This happened because the company did not submit the correct information to the existing household suppliers when processing their change. A data error meant Bulb had failed to record the fact that each of these households had more than one meter on their property. This meant the switches couldn’t go ahead.
Bulb has since paid consumers affected by the error £ 155,500.
- Approximately 46,500 vulnerable Bulb customers were wrongly removed from the Priority Service Register between March 2019 and January 2020. The registry is a free service that provides vulnerable customers with a range of aids, including advance notice of planned power outages and priority assistance in the event of their power disruption.
Bulb reported the error to Ofgem in February 2020 and has now compensated the 933 customers who were taken off the register and suffered a power outage, for a total of £ 70,000.
Bulb said they have contacted customers affected by all of the above issues and offered refunds and compensation from June of this year.
Finally, Bulb donated £ 157,350 to the Energy Industry Voluntary Recourse Fund, which is used to help vulnerable energy consumers.
What does Ofgem say?
Ofgem Managing Director Jonathan Brearley said: “Bulb overcharged some customers and risked leaving vulnerable customers without access to essential network services while failing to comply with Ofgem’s rules.
“Our rules are designed to protect consumers, and suppliers must make sure they have the processes in place to comply if they are to provide good service to their customers.
“Bulb has since resolved issues with affected customers and put processes in place to ensure they can follow Ofgem’s rules. “
What does Bulbe say?
A Bulb spokesperson said: “We recently addressed some issues that have affected some of our members and potential members. At Bulb, we pride ourselves on the quality of our operations and our technology, but we know there will always be ways to keep improving.
“This is why we have strengthened the Bulb team, stepped up training and implemented even more rigorous controls and verification processes. “