Different energy suppliers charge for energy usage in different ways.
Some suppliers charge you at the end of the month, for the energy you've used that month. Some, including Bulb, charge you at the start of the month, and spread your costs evenly over the year.
Here's how it works at Bulb for members that pay monthly.
You pay the same amount each month
Your monthly payments to Bulb will be the same each month. These go from your bank account to your Bulb account, usually by Direct Debit.
When you first join Bulb, we calculate your monthly payment by estimating your total energy usage for the next 12 months, working out the cost, and dividing by 12 so each payment is the same.
After you’ve been with us for at least 3 months, we might suggest changing your monthly payment amount, for example because you're building up a lot of credit or going into debit. Find out more about how we calculate your payments.
You pay for your energy in advance
We take payments at the beginning of your monthly billing period. This means you pay for your energy in advance.
From your bank to your Bulb account and then to us
When we take your monthly payment, it goes from your bank account into your Bulb account. When there’s money in your Bulb account, this is called credit.
At the end of the monthly billing period, we charge you for the energy you’ve used by taking credit from your Bulb account. We work out your energy usage by checking your meter readings. If you have a smart meter, we should receive your meter readings automatically. If you don’t have a smart meter, and haven’t submitted any meter readings, we’ll use estimated readings instead.
Your monthly statement will show how much energy you've used and what it cost. This will be the amount of credit we take from your Bulb account.
The amount of credit we take to cover your monthly usage will change throughout the year as you use more or less energy.
For roughly half the year, your monthly payments will be more than your monthly usage. This means you'll build up credit in the warmer months, which you'll use up during the winter, when your energy usage typically goes up.
If your account builds up a lot of credit
You might be able to request a refund, for example, if you paid for more energy during the year than we’d estimated.
You can also change your monthly payment amount in your Bulb account - we'll suggest a lower payment amount that will reduce your credit over time.
If your account goes into debit
Your account can go into debit if you use more energy than we'd estimated, meaning you'll owe money for energy you've used.
If this happens, you can change your monthly payment amount in your Bulb account - we'll suggest a payment amount to get you back on track. You can also make a one time top-up payment to get your account back in credit.