Bristol Energy is a community-focused energy supplier with a mission to help locals save money on their energy bills and to reinvest profits into social projects. Run by Bristol City Council, it offers a range of energy tariffs to homeowners and businesses in the South West and across the UK.
In our independent Bristol Energy review we take a look at its customer service, tariffs, pricing and account management to help you decide if they are worth switching to.
Bristol Energy Review - is it any good?
Interested in finding out more about Bristol Energy before you switch? Check out our review of Bristol Energy to learn about its customer service, tariff pricing and more.
1. Bristol Energy reviews for customer service
To begin our review, let’s look at how Bristol Energy’s customer service stacks up and what its existing customers think of them.
Bristol Energy proudly promote the fact that it has a Bristol-based call centre with local staff, rather than outsourcing its support services abroad. Its website also puts a lot of emphasis on providing good service, claiming “Exceptional customer service is at the heart of our mission to change the energy sector for good”. This is certainly something of a cliche in the energy market, but does it live up to its promises?
Looking at various Bristol Energy reviews online, the majority of customers have been happy with its support staff, claiming that they are friendly, helpful and proactive in helping to resolve any issues they may have had. Others were delighted with how sympathetic, patient and understanding staff were, particularly when trying to solve confusing billing issues.
It's a pleasure to deal with Bristol Energy, I rarely call Bristol Energy but when I do the staff are always very helpful and I get through quickly.
However, as you would expect with any energy supplier, it doesn’t have a 100% perfect service record and there are other customers that have been left less than satisfied with the quality of the support. A handful of Bristol Energy reviews have claimed that customers have been left on hold, some for over an hour, or that their issue has not been resolved despite repeated phone calls.
Other Bristol Energy reviews complain of being overcharged from the provider’s overestimates of energy usage and not been happy with the response of the support team when trying to resolve the issue.
On the whole though, Bristol Energy seems to do a good job of supporting its customers on most occasions. It slips up from time to time, but which service business doesn’t?
2. Bristol Energy Tariffs & Prices
When it comes to pricing, Bristol Energy tariffs are not the cheapest on the UK energy market, but they're not the most expensive either. From our research in August 2020, we found that a family of four living in a three bedroom house in London with average usage (3,100 kWh electricity and 12,500 kWh gas), would pay around £1092 per year for 100% renewable gas and electricity with Bristol Energy.
For comparison, we gained quotes from some of the typically cheapest renewable suppliers in August 2020. Pure Planet came out at £959 per year, Bulb were £1077 per year and Tonik Energy quoted £1175 per year, all for equal usage. So if you’re basing your decision on pricing alone, Bristol Energy may not the best option.
|Pure Planet||Bulb||Tonik Energy||Bristol Energy|
|Annual cost, 3 bed house London||£959||£1077||£1175||£1092|
Prices correct as of August 2020
In the past, customers have been happy with their bills on the whole, with countless online reviews mentioning how much money they saved by switching from other suppliers.
Customers have since expressed disappointment at recent price rises and larger energy bills. It’s worth noting, however, that these price rises are not unique to Bristol Energy, as many suppliers, including Bulb, increased their prices by up to 11% in recent years to keep up with rising wholesale energy costs.
My fixed tariff is coming to an end and the renewal letter says my prices will be going up £250 per year. Eye wateringly expensive I'm afraid.
Bristol Energy also offers a variety of different tariff options with both 12 or 24 month fixed price options, a variable tariff that rises and falls in line with the wholesale market prices, specialist green tariffs with 100% renewable electricity and even business tariffs for SMEs.
So whilst it may not be the absolute cheapest supplier, we think that Bristol Energy offers some decent tariffs for both households and businesses and is still positioned on the cheaper end of the market. Our only criticism would be that not all of its tariffs offer 100% renewable energy, though it has stated in the past that it's working towards increasing its mix of renewable energy in the future.
3. Bills & Account Management
As with most energy suppliers, billing and account management is handled online, through its website or mobile app. Customers can use their Bristol Energy login to view and pay bills and manage their personal details, submit meter readings and view past energy usage. They also send out monthly bills and reminders to submit meter readings by email. For those that prefer a hard copy, paper copies can also be provided by post.
The online account area of the Bristol Energy website. Source: Object Source
The Bristol Energy website is basic but functional, with plenty of information and easy to access contact details. It may not be winning any design awards any time soon, but it does the job for most customers. From our research, customers tend to be happy with the online account area, describing it as simple to use, intuitive, easy to navigate, and offering all of the functionality required.
Switching was easy, their website makes inputting monthly meter readings a piece of cake and monthly bills arrive promptly by email containing all the information of what I’ve used/paid/in debit/credit for gas and electricity.”
Bill payments can be made in a variety of ways, including the bog-standard options of monthly direct debit, bank transfer, over the phone or one-off online payments through the website. They also allow customers to pay in person at the Post Office using the PayPoint system or top up prepayment meters using the PayZone system.
Alongside the typical payment methods, it also accepts payment with Bristol’s very own currency, the “Bristol Pound”. This first-of-its-kind local currency was launched in 2012 to encourage people to exchange their Pound Sterling for Bristol Pounds to spend on local services such as transport or council tax and also at independent businesses such as shops and restaurants - the aim being to keep money in the city and circulating around local businesses.
It makes sense that a proudly Bristolian company would accept the Bristol Pound as payment for locals' energy bills and goes hand in hand with their mission of supporting their local communities. Peter Haigh, the company's Managing Director, puts it this way:
We believe energy companies have the power to make a positive difference. If you pay your bills with Bristol Pounds, your money doesn’t just disappear into the pockets of private shareholders, it will help us to support your city.
All in all, Bristol Energy is no doubt a good energy supplier that contribute far more to their local community than most suppliers could claim. Whilst it lacks as strong a focus on renewable energy as some of its rivals, it offers some affordable energy tariffs and provide decent customer support. For residents in the South West, or those enticed by the idea of their energy bill payments contributing to social causes, Bristol Energy is a great option.
About Bristol Energy
To learn more about Bristol Energy, let's take a look at the company, its ethos and its history to date.
Mission & Ethos
As one of the UK’s only council-owned suppliers, Bristol Energy was established with a more ethical approach compared to the majority of privately-owned, profit driven suppliers. Its ethical approach encompasses numerous goals to better the environment and improve the lives of as many people as possible.
Bristol Energy will make a meaningful difference to the energy sector. We’ll give everyone access to fair, transparent tariffs and great customer care.”
Bristol Energy's core mission is to supply affordable energy with fair and transparent pricing to not only the people of Bristol but the whole of Britain. This is part of its commitment to help customers save money and also to help those struggling to get out of fuel poverty. According to its website, it claims to save customers £173 per year on their energy bills, although this is dependent on wholesale energy costs, which rise and fall throughout the year.
To further help customers save money and get out of fuel poverty, Bristol Energy also offers the Warm Home Discount, which is a government scheme in which qualifying customers receive a £140 discount on their electricity bills between September and March of each year. This is usually for those on a low income or in receipt of Pension Credit.
Not content at simply helping their own customers, they also reinvest profits into local community projects such as Caring in Bristol - a charity who provide shelter and food to homeless and vulnerable people in Bristol.
Bristol Energy's other core value is in helping the environment. To achieve this, it offers 100% renewable electricity and 15% green gas - one of the highest proportions of renewably sourced gas of any UK supplier. Where possible, they source their renewable energy from local renewable energy generators in order to help the city of Bristol reach its aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
Bristol Energy was founded in 2015 by the Bristol City Council after the idea was initially put forward in 2010.
As a publicly funded energy company, it has had over £17m of taxpayers money to help set up and run the business. Whilst it is reportedly growing faster than expected in terms of customer numbers, its original plan was to breakeven in 2019 and become profitable. However in 2018 it was reported that the company has been operating at a huge loss of £8.4 million and is now not expected to break even until 2021.
We’ve hit all our key milestones this year. We’ve got more customers than we expected at this point, and needed less funding from Bristol City Council than planned. We’ve also saved Bristol customers more than £5.5m on their energy bills.”
Awards &a Recognition
Bristol Energy have won multiple awards. Source: Bristol Energy
Bristol Energy has been recognised for its successful growth over the past few years with numerous awards.
‘Start-Up Business of the Year’ - Business Leader Awards
‘Best New Business’ - Bristol Life Awards
‘Overall Winner’ - Bristol Life Awards
Bristol Energy Jobs
Looking for a career in the energy industry? You can find out Bristol Energy jobs on the provider's Careers page, which includes a transparent list of the benefits offered to employees:
- 25 days annual leave, rising by 1 day each year up to 30 days
- City centre location in Bristol
- Cycle to work scheme
- Generous pension scheme
- Travel season ticket loans
- Days off for volunteering in the community
- Up to £150 per year for support with personal development
These certainly include some interesting, forward-thinking benefits. If you're interesting in applying, you can find Bristol Energy jobs posted directly on the website or you can send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bristol Energy Smart Meters
Bristol Energy offer to install smart meters at customers' property to help them stay on top of their energy usage and to send in automatic meter readings.
Smart meters are a much needed update of the “dumb meters” many of us have installed in our homes which offer no information about our energy usage in real time and require customers to send suppliers manual meter readings, by phone or online.
Bristol Energy smart meters offer peace of mind that your bills will be accurate since they are based on your actual usage and not estimates. Smart meters also have a screen that display real time energy usage numbers and costs, so you are always aware of how much you’re spending on your gas and electricity.
All customers are eligible for a Bristol Energy smart meter as part of a government push to ensure all homes are using them. If you're an existing customer and don't have a smart meter installed already, you can contact the provider to arrange installation.
Bristol Energy Login
Customers of Bristol Energy can access their bills and account online in the portal area accessible via its website or via the Bristol Energy app. To access your account, visit their website and click the Bristol Energy login button at the top. Then simply enter your email or account number along with your password.
Customers can access their bills and account on the website via the Bristol Energy website. To access your account, visit their login page below.
- Submit meter readings
- View your bills
- View past energy usage
- Make a one-off bill payment
- Update contact details
- Contact Bristol Energy
Bristol Energy's Renewable Energy
Next up, let's take a look at where Bristol Energy sources its energy from.
Like all UK providers, Bristol Energy is obliged to release the data of where it sources its fuel mix from. Here's how it looks:
|Bristol Energy average||6%||31%||10%||51%||2%|
As you can see, more than half of the energy associated with Bristol Energy tariffs comes from renewable sources. It is a commendable percentage, particularly when compared with the national average and the Big Six. There are greener tariffs out there, however, and we recommend shopping around if this is a priority for you.
Bristol Energy is not a completely renewable supplier but it does offer 100% renewable electricity with its My Green Plus tariff. It also offsets 100% of the gas it uses to power customers' homes on certain tariffs.
Did you know?
As with all suppliers providing 100% renewable electricity, Bristol Energy customers receive the same electricity from the National Grid - a melting pot of electricity sourced from renewable and non-renewable sources. However, for every unit of electricity their customers use, Bristol Energy guarantees to generate or buy and put back an equal amount into the grid that was renewably-sourced.
As renewable energy generation and usage increases in the future, the percentage of renewable electricity customers receive from the grid will increase. Therefore Bristol Energy and other suppliers are helping to increase the renewable portion of the UK’s electricity.
Bristol Energy also supplies 15% of their gas from ‘green gas’ which is generated from the sewage waste of over a million people in Bristol. It might sound gross, but sewage waste can be processed and turned into biomethane gas and is a very environmentally-friendly way to generate gas to power your home!
Compared with the other renewable energy suppliers in the UK, Bristol Energy’s 15% portion of green gas is impressive, with many struggling to offer more than 10% due to the costs of producing it at a large scale. They’re also committed to increasing this further in the future, and have recently begun offering 100% carbon offset gas tariffs.
Bristol Energy Tariffs
Bristol Energy offers a few different tariffs for both households and businesses. These tariffs include:
- 1 Year Fix Issue 26 - Fixed prices for 12 months
- 2 Year Fix Issue 8 - Fixed prices for 24 months
- My Green Plus Issue 10 - Fixed prices + renewable electricity and green gas
- 2-Year Fix Green Issue 2 - Fixed prices + renewable electricity and green gas
- Standard Variable Tariff - Variable prices that rise and fall
Here are Bristol Energy's prices for a typical 3 bedroom home in London. This is based on the UK average annual energy usage of 3,100 kWh of electricity and 12,500 kWh of gas.
|Be Super Green (Electricity)||Be Super Green (Gas)|
|Type of tariff||Dual fuel - Fixed for 24 months|
|Green gas||-||100% (carbon offsets)|
|No Exit fees|
|Minimum term||24 months|
|Unit rate||16.09p per kWh||3.10p per kWh|
|Standing charge||25.06p per day||20.20p per day|
|Monthly cost||£91 per month|
|Total yearly cost (3 bed house London)||£1092|
Bristol Energy also supplies renewable energy to small and medium-sized businesses that use up to £300,000 worth of energy per year. Business customers receive extra benefits including a dedicated business customer service team and an assigned account manager to help with any queries.
There are a range of business-specific fixed price tariffs available for either 12, 24 or 36 months to give your business energy bills some stability. Bristol Energy’s ‘Business Green’ tariff also comes with 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon offset gas, ideal for SMEs interested in doing their bit for the planet.
One of their most notable business customers are Bristol Rovers Football Club which shares similar values to Bristol Energy, particularly when it comes to supporting their local communities. However, despite its love for all things Bristol, it also supplies businesses located all across the UK.
How do I contact Bristol Energy?
Looking for a Bristol Energy contact number? They provide a number of ways to do so including various telephone numbers and email addresses for general enquiries, customer care and business enquiries.
|Department||Bristol Energy contact number||Opening Hours|
|Sales and renewals||0808 189 4072||Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (except bank holidays)|
|Customer care & general inquiries||0808 281 2222||Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (except bank holidays)|
|Business customers||0808 168 3888||Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm (except bank holidays)|
If you'd rather not talk over the phone, you can email Bristol Energy at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org depending on your inquiry. To save yourself any wait and to find the best deal on home energy, call one of our agents on 020 3608 4293.