Bulb to pay £1.76 million for compliance issues

Publication date
13th August 2020
Information types
Policy areas
  • Around 61,000 consumers were affected
  • Bulb did not have sufficient processes in place to correctly interpret or comply with Ofgem’s rules in three separate areas, including switching, billing and the Priority Services Register
  • Bulb has since improved its processes, and has paid a £1.76 million package of redress, refunds and goodwill payments

Bulb failed to comply with Ofgem’s rules in three separate areas between 2017 and 2020, which affected around 61,000 customers.

Around 3,800 consumers were blocked from switching to Bulb and missed out on savings. This is because these consumers were on Restricted Meter Infrastructure (RMI), where there is more than one meter at a property. Bulb did not submit the correct number of meters to the supplier that the consumers wanted to switch from, along with the switching request, which meant the switch could not go ahead.

Bulb has since paid £155,500 to consumers affected by this.

Around 11,400 RMI customers were wrongly charged multiple standing charges, being overcharged by £699,000 in total. Bulb has since paid back affected customers and provided additional goodwill payments to customers who were overcharged, totalling £675,000.

Around 46,500 vulnerable Bulb customers were removed from their network operators’ Priority Service Register, between March 2019 and January 2020, after Bulb’s systems mistakenly signalled to operators that they should remove them due to a data error.

This meant that some customers missed out on essential priority services, such as being given advance notice of a planned power outage. Bulb self-reported this issue to Ofgem in February this year, and has now compensated the 933 customers who were removed from the register and suffered a power outage, totalling £70,000.

Ofgem considers that Bulb had insufficient processes in place to review and prevent non-compliance, which contributed to these compliance failings.

The supplier has confirmed that it has improved its governance and processes. It has compensated and refunded all customers that suffered detriment as a result of its non-compliance and paid a further £157,000 into the voluntary redress fund to support customers in a vulnerable situation.

Ofgem has now closed this compliance engagement without taking enforcement action, taking into account Bulb’s cooperation with Ofgem, and the steps Bulb has taken to address its failings and the redress it has agreed to pay.

Ofgem’s CEO, Jonathan Brearley said: “Bulb overcharged some customers, and risked leaving vulnerable customers without access to essential network services, when they failed 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 with them if they are going to give their customers good service.

“Bulb has since put things right with affected customers and put processes in place to make sure it can meet Ofgem’s rules.

Notes to editors

Further information

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