Bristol Energy Review Summary
- Socially and environmentally responsible energy supplier
- Easy to manage your account online, either via the website or the app
- Wide range of tariffs, including a pre-payment tariff, 100% green tariffs and special
- Not the cheapest energy supplier
- Less appealing if you have no connection to Bristol
- Some complaints about customer service but they tend to be resolved quickly
Who are Bristol Energy
Bristol Energy is owned by Bristol City Council which says that 77% of the population believes that energy supply should be managed by the public sector rather than the private sector. However, although the company is owned by the council it is run independently by a team of energy supply experts.
It was established in 2015 with the aim of being a force for social good. It seeks to tackle social and environmental challenges in the Bristol area and claims that it has contributed £12 million of what it calls ‘social value’ to the region so far.
The company feels that the money that people pay for their energy should be used in the community rather than being used to line the pockets of shareholders. It will be using any profits generated to help fund Bristol City Council. It also supports local charities.
Bristol Energy operates from the Bristol Energy Hub in Bristol City Centre. Although it is one of the smaller energy supply companies it has just hit the 100,000 customer mark.
Bristol Energy offers both fixed and variable tariffs. Customers choosing to fix their energy price can choose to fix the price for either 12 or 24 months.
The company also offers different tariffs to customers who want 100% green energy and customers who are in Bristol region get a reduced price.
Both pre-payment and credit tariffs are available.
Bristol Energy isn’t expensive, but it is not the cheapest supplier, even for local customers who benefit from a discounted tariff.
Having said that, rather than selling itself on price the company wants to sell itself on the fact that it supports local social and environmental initiatives. Given this, perhaps Bristol Energy should be compared on value rather than price.
Some people will also be prepared to pay extra in view of the fact that Bristol Energy is a municipally owned business rather than a private enterprise.
Bristol Energy’s customer service is fairly good. They are rated higher than the Big Six energy suppliers.
They generally answer the phone within three minutes. They can be contacted by phone between 8am and 6pm on weekdays other than bank holidays. They can also be contacted via email or live chat. Many account management tasks such as meter readings can be done online.
Bristol Energy scores a reasonable four out of five stars on TrustPilot from over 1,000 reviews with 75% of the reviewers rating the company as good or excellent.
Citizens Advice rates Bristol Energy 3.5 out of five, putting them in 13th place out of a total of 39 energy suppliers. According to Citizens Advice, ease of switching and billing clarity are Bristol Energy’s strongest areas.
Bristol Energy’s website contains a lot of information. As well as the usual information that you would expect to find at an energy company’s website, Bristol Energy’s website also goes into detail about its social and environmental goals, as well as explaining how it believes that being publicly owned rather than privately owned is an advantage.
The website’s structure means that it is simple to find any information that you need. It doesn’t use confusing jargon, either, so it’s easy to understand the information provided.
The best way to describe the website is “functional” – it does what it needs to do, but doesn’t leave you feeling amazed.
79% of Bristol Energy’s energy comes from renewable sources. This compares well with the national average of 32.8%. And at 76g/KWh its carbon dioxide emissions are lower that the 208g/KWh National Grid average as well.
The company is aiming to increase its supply of environmentally friendly energy and it is working to secure more Power Supply Agreements with renewable power suppliers including small businesses, farmers and community energy projects.
In addition to its standard tariffs, Bristol Energy also offers Green tariffs where the energy supplied is 100% renewable. Bristol Energy can trace the source of this energy because it purchases OFGEM REGO certificates.
Bristol Energy complaints
Bristol Energy gets 16.9 complaints per 10,000 customers.
20% of its reviewers on TrustPilot rated the company as bad or poor. However, it responds quickly to any complaints that are made. Most of the negative comments on TrustPilot relate to customer service issues, but Bristol Energy has replied to each one promptly.
Bristol Energy login
Bristol Energy’s website and its “Be Connected” app let you:
• view and change your tariff
• view and pay your bills
• submit and view your meter readings
• manage your personal information
• tell Bristol Energy that you are moving home
If you have a compatible smart meter, the app also lets you analyse your energy usage, both historically and via forecasts. The app works on Apple iOS and Android devices.
It is not possible to manage your account online if you are on a pre-payment tariff. However, Bristol Energy is working on that at the moment and hopes to be able to offer online account management to its pre-payment customers soon.
Do they work with pre-payment meters?
Yes, pre-payment meters are accepted by Bristol Energy. There is only one pre-payment tariff which is a standard variable tariff.
Do they accept Economy 7?
Yes, Bristol Energy accepts Economy 7. If you have a Smart meter your peak hours may change when you switch depending on where you live. Details of the applicable peak hours for each region are available on the Bristol Energy website.
Are they signed up to the Warm Home Discount?
Bristol Energy has signed up for the Warm Home Discount scheme despite the fact that it is not required to do so due as it currently only has 100,000 customers and only energy suppliers with at least 250,000 customers are obliged to offer the Warm Home Discount. It is one of only three of the smaller energy providers to have signed up for the scheme.
The Warm Home Discount is only available to you via Bristol Energy if you are someone who is in the Core Group.
Are they signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee?
Bristol Energy isn’t signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee scheme. However, currently 100% of switches are completed within 21 days.
What billing options are available?
You can pay your bills by cash or cheque. You can also pay your bills online or by direct debit. Prepayment meters are also available.
Do they offer a ‘Dual Fuel’ discount?
No, Bristol Energy does not offer a ‘Dual Fuel’ discount.
Do they offer a smart meter? Do they accept smart meters?
You can switch to Bristol Energy if you have a Smart meter that was manufactured by Secure but you may lose some of the Smart meter’s functionality.
Customers on pre-payment payment plans might lose their ability to top-up their accounts and where that’s the case they would need to be switched to a credit account.
Do they charge exit fees?
Exit fees are not charged, even if you are on the 12 or 24 months fixed tariffs. There is no fixed contract term.
Will they offer to pay a customer’s exit fees when they join them?
Any exit fees required by the previous energy supplier due to the switch are the customer’s responsibility and are not paid for by Bristol Energy.
Do they offer any incentives to customers to refer friends/family?
Under British Energy’s ‘Refer a Friend’ scheme, for each of your friends and family that you refer to the company you will get £20, the friend or family member who switched will get £20 and British Energy will give £20 to charity.
What happens if you move home whilst with them?
If you’re moving home you can either tell Bristol Energy by phoning or emailing them, or you can tell them by completing a form on the company’s website.
If you wanted to continue using Bristol Energy as your energy supplier, you would then need to set up a new account at your new home.
Can you get cashback when joining Bristol Energy?
You cannot get cashback by switching to Bristol Energy.
Do they mention about the Priority Services Register?
You can sign up for the Priority Services Register via the Bristol Energy website, or by phoning or emailing them.
How to contact Bristol Energy
You can contact Bristol Energy customer service by calling: 0808 281 2222
You can email them through: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday – Friday 8am – 6:00pm
Closed on all Bank holidays.
How do I switch to Bristol Energy?
The easiest way to switch to Bristol Energy is through uSwitch’s comparison website here. This will allow you to check if Bristol Energy is one of the cheapest suppliers for you (tariffs vary based on your area) and will allow you to quickly and easily switch to them.