Bristol Energy was a gas and electricity provider supplying the national domestic and business market. It ceased trading on 18 January 2022. Its customers are now being transferred to British Gas.
It was the first energy company to be entirely owned by a city council but was sold to Together Energy in 2020 after big losses. Together Energy also ceased trading in January 2022.
The company cited 'the sustained increase in wholesale prices and the securities required to continue to forward purchase energy' as the reason why it has become untenable to continue to trade.
If you are a Bristol energy customer: Firstly, don't panic. Your energy supply will not be interrupted.
Ofgem, the energy market regulator, has an obligation to protect your energy supply. You will automatically be transferred to British Gas, which is your new supplier. British Gas will honour any existing credit balance you had with Bristol Energy. This process is called 'Supplier of Last Resort'.
Should you wish to switch supplier, it is best to wait until Ofgem has transferred your account to British Gas, to ensure your details aren't lost in the process.
It's also recommended that you take meter readings as soon as you are able to, so that you know what your reading was when the process began. You should also access your customer portal online and input your reading here, and, if possible, download your most recent statements.
If you are waiting for a Bristol Energy smart meter appointment, this will be honoured.
If for any reason you find your supply affected, contact Bristol Energy on 0808 281 2222.
Pros: Impressive customer service, described as 'easy to talk to', good value for money
Cons: Bill clarity could be better, some customers get passed around between lots of people
Bristol Energy says ‘exceptional customer service’ is at the heart of its mission and, based on its 69% customer score, most of our survey respondents agreed.
Eight in 10 of its customers Which? heard from told us they rated its customer service as good.
Bristol Energy scored well for customer service, but users weren't quite as impressed with the accuracy and clarity of their bills.
The firm scored three stars for both measures. Meanwhile, the same can be said for some of Bristol Energy's competitors including British Gas, EDF Energy and Utility Warehouse. Octopus Energy customers were more satisfied with the accuracy and clarity of their bills.
Bristol Energy scored four stars for value for money in our latest survey. This places the firm on an equal footing with rivals including Octopus Energy, So Energy and Utility Warehouse.
The majority of customers told us they were happy with the costs involved with being a member. One respondent told us: 'I have never had an issue with Bristol energy and I am very happy with my payments.' Another said: 'I like the price.'
They are a great value option
I get value for the money I pay
Almost six in 10 (58%) of Bristol Energy customers had reason to complain to their provider between October 2021 and October 2022.
We spoke to Bristol Energy customers who had dealt with the firm over the phone and 55% of these respondents told us they were passed around multiple people during their call. In addition, we asked customers if they had complained to Bristol Energy about bills, payments or a price rise in the year to October 2021 and the majority of those that said they had complained explained their case was related to an unexpected one-off payment being made without warning.
Yes, Bristol Energy can supply customers with pay-as-you-go meters. With its smart prepayment meters you can top up at a PayPoint outlet, online, by text and by phone. You'll need to register online before you make a payment from your phone.
You can get emergency credit (of around £5 or more) if you have run out on your meter. Bristol Energy recommends you only use this as a last resort in case you're not able to buy more credit.
January: Bristol Energy ceased trading on 18 January 2022. A press statement published on its website stated: 'The sustained increase in wholesale prices and the securities required to continue to forward purchase energy, have meant that it is untenable for [Bristol Energy] to continue.'
March: Bristol Energy paid 12,600 of its customers a total of £56,500 after overcharging them when they switched supplier or tariff between 2013 and 2020. It was one of 18 energy firms found by regulator Ofgem to have failed to uphold these rules. Over one million customers were affected. Affected customers received £4.48 each, on average.
December: Bristol City Council asked for an independent report into what went wrong with Bristol Energy since it lost taxpayers tens of millions of pounds.
September: Bristol Energy found a buyer – Together Energy – for 155,000 home customers. Together Energy said it planned to keep the Bristol Energy brand and that customers' tariffs, terms and conditions and how they contact their energy supplier weren't changing. Together Energy ranked at the bottom of the 2020 Which? energy survey.
June: Council leaders agreed to sell local-authority-owned Bristol Energy. £36.5m of taxpayers' money had been spent on the venture and the company posted total losses of £32.5m since it began operating.
January: Bristol Energy launched three new green tariffs: BE Simply Green, BE Super Green and Big Issue Super Green. These were now the only ones available to Bristol Energy customers.