Bristol Energy was a UK energy supplier that aimed to be a force of social good, looked into making a positive impact on the environment, and delivered cheap energy for its customers. This company excelled in its customer service and was regarded as one of the best UK energy suppliers.
Figure 1. Bristol Energy Logo. Source: Bristol Energy
While Bristol Energy was well-intended and provided an excellent quality service, it could not survive the UK energy crisis, which caused it to go bust in January 2022 alongside Together Energy, its parent company. In this article, we review everything that you need to know about Bristol Energy.
Who Owns Bristol Energy?
Bristol Energy has a peculiar story, in which at some point even changed owners. In this section, we explain who owns the company and what happened with it.
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Who is Bristol Energy owned by?
Bristol Energy was created as the main energy company for the city of Bristol, first registered in 2016 under the name Azacca Energy Ltd. This company was owned by the Bristol City Council, but the official owner of the company was Ensek Ltd. The name of the company changed later on to Bristol Energy.
In September 2020, Bristol Energy was sold to Together Energy for £14million. Since Together Energy is co-owned (50/50) by Warrington Borough Council and Paul Scott Richards, these are the owners of the company to date.
What has happened to Bristol Energy?
While Bristol Energy showed as an excellent and well-intended experiment created by the Bristol City Council, the company became an utter loss of taxpayers’ money. This is a small overview of what happened to this company.
In 2015 Bristol local authorities looked into creating a municipal energy supplier who operated as a trusted and accountable local energy supplier, the plan was approved in February of that year. Bristol Energy was founded and started operating in 2016, becoming the first socially focused and municipally-owned energy supplier in the UK.
During 2017 Bristol Energy gained momentum, winning the Start-Up Business of the Year Award at the Business Leader Awards and the Best New Business and Overall Winner of the Bristol Life Awards.
By 2018 the company lost the contract to supply Bristol City Council, and started to lose its momentum. In 2019 the company revealed losses amounting to £11.2 million for the 2017 – 2018 financial year. The company seemed to take a better turn for the 2018 – 2019 year, reporting decreased losses, but the director stated that the company would probably not make a profit in the following five years.
During the remaining of 2019 and the first two quarters of 2020, the company went on a downfall, until it was finally revealed that Bristol Energy had produced a total loss of £43 million for taxpayers. The company was then sold to Together Energy for £14 million.
While Bristol Energy was being better handled under the management of Together Energy, neither company could survive the UK energy crisis. With Together Energy falling, Bristol Energy fall was also imminent, which caused its customers to lose its gas and energy supplier by the first month of 2022.
Has Bristol Energy ceased trading?
Bristol Energy ceased operating as a UK energy supplier in January 2022. Both, Bristol Energy and its owner company fell victims to the UK energy crisis caused by the price increase of the liquefied natural gas that started in 2021.
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) appointed British Gas as the new energy supplier to the customers of both Bristol Energy and Together Energy.
Bristol Energy Market Share
Bristol Energy was one of the small energy suppliers in the UK. As such, there are no official numbers for the market share of this company, since the data of Ofgem includes this company in a conglomerated list with the other small energy suppliers which held 6.3% of the UK energy market by the Q3 of 2021.
Figure 2: UK Energy Market Share – Source: Ofgem
While there is no official data for retail market share held by Bristol Energy on its own while it was operating, this can be roughly estimated.
When it ceased operating, Bristol Energy provided energy for 176,000 residential customers. Considering that there are 28 million residential energy customers in the UK, the 176,000 residential customers of Bristol Energy round up to 0.62% of the retail energy market.
Bristol Energy was a relatively small energy supplier mainly focused in the city of Bristol. Considering this, it makes sense that this energy supplier only provided energy for such a small percentage of the UK.
What Tariffs & Plans Does Bristol Energy Offer?
Bristol Energy went bust in Q1 of 2022, after the fact it stopped offering tariffs & plans. In case you were looking to compare Bristol Energy against your new supplier or a potential customer looking for a cheaper option, we will provide you with a price reference considering the last available plans & tariffs.
Is Bristol Energy Expensive?
To understand if the Bristol Energy tariffs were expensive or cheap, it is important to have a reference. According to official figures, the average cost for the unit rate of electricity (p/kWh) in the last few months of 2021 was set at 28 p/kWh and £0.07 for gas considering the different prices for each region in the UK.
Bristol Energy had three types of tariffs & plans available for customers. These were the BE Super Green, BE Simply Green, and the variable tariffs under the BE Standard Green plan which were the same as the Prepayment Meters tariffs.
BE Super Green
The BE Super Green tariffs provided customers with 100% renewable energy and 100% carbon offsets. These tariffs included fixed prices for 25 months without exit fees or tie-ins. On top of that, Bristol Energy donated £20 of the profits per customer directly to social or environmental projects.
The electricity unit rate for these tariffs had a cost varying between 29.42 – 31.41 p/kWh for regular meters, while the E7 meters had tariffs of 30.35 – 32.55 p/kWh during the day and 21.28 p/kWh during the night. The gas had a cost of 8.00 – 8.31 p/kWh.
Considering these prices, most of the tariffs were a little above the national average. Only the E7 customers enjoyed cheaper tariffs at night, while the day tariffs were the most expensive ones.
BE Simply Green
The BE Simply Green tariffs were the best type of tariffs available for customers with smart meters. Clients under these tariffs consumed 100% renewable energy with 50% gas carbon offsets, including fixed prices for 12 months. The BE Simply Green included no tie-in nor exit fees.
Customers with regular or smart (unrestricted) meters had to pay 34.90 to 37.04 p/kWh depending on the zone. For customers with E7 meters, the electricity price had a cost of 36.06 – 38.25 p/kWh during the day and 29.28 – 30.96 p/kWh during the night. The gas price varied between 10.03 and 10.33 p/kWh.
The Be Simply Green tariffs resulted in much more expensive tariffs than the Be Super Green ones. Even the night-time tariffs of the E7 plans were more expensive than the national average.
BE Standard Green & Prepayment Meter tariffs
Customers with prepaid meters paid the same tariffs as the clients under the standard variable tariffs plan, the name for this plan was the BE Standard Green. All the prices varied between regions.
The price for this BE Standard Green tariffs is set for the period of 01 October 2021 up to date. All customers with unrestricted meters paid between 19.97 – 21.64 p/kWh under the variable tariff scheme. The E7 customers paid 21.01 to 23.91 p/kWh during the day and 15.23 p/kWh during the night. The gas had a cost of 3.91 – 4.12 p/kWh.
Even though the BE Super Green and BE Simply Green plans were much more expensive than the national average for 2021, this was not the case for the BE Standard Green tariffs. Customers with unrestricted meters under the variable tariffs only had to pay 19.97 – 21.64 p/kWh while the national average is set at 28 p/kWh. Considering this, we can conclude that Bristol Energy had both, cheap and expensive tariffs.
|Summary of plans & tariffs for Bristol Energy|
Type of plan
|Price range for the Unit Rate (p/KWh) (Price varies with the region)|
|Unrestricted||E7 Day||E7 Night|
|BE Super Green||29.42 – 31.41||30.35 – 32.55||21.28||8.00 – 8.31|
|BE Simply Green||34.90 to 37.04||36.06 – 38.25||29.28 – 30.96||10.03 and 10.33|
|BE Standard Green||19.97 – 21.64||21.01 to 23.91||15.23||3.91 – 4.12|
|Prepaid plan||19.97 – 21.64||21.01 to 23.91||15.23||3.91 – 4.12|
|UK’s average tariff||28||7|
Table 1. Summary of plans and tariffs for Bristol Energy.
How Bristol Energy prices have changed?
You can understand how the company has evolved in terms of tariffs by looking at the history of Bristol Energy prices. For instance, if we analyze the three main tariffs available in the last few months of operability of the company, we can see how the prices have changed.
The first issue of the BE Simply Green tariffs issued in 2020 set the cost for unrestricted electricity at 14.60 – 16.73 p/kWh depending on the region. The latest issue of the tariffs set this price at almost double, charging around 34.90 – 37.04 p/kWh depending on the region.
A similar thing occurred with the tariffs on the first issue of the BE Super Green plan when compared with the latest ones. These tariffs set the cost for the unit electricity rate for unrestricted meters at 15.17 – 17.34 p/kWh depending on the region, while the latest tariffs had a ranging cost of 29.42 – 31.41 p/kWh.
Analyzing these two examples, it is clear that the electricity price rapidly increased these last few years, but it was not enough to keep the company afloat. Considering how the UK energy crisis affected so many companies, especially small ones, it is understandable why Bristol Energy went bust in 2022.
Can I join Bristol Energy with a prepayment meter?
Bristol Energy supported customers with prepaid meters, but the company is currently not taking any new customers since it went bust. All current customers with prepaid meters are being transferred to British Gas, so you might consider it if you are looking for a company providing support for these types of meters.
Bristol Energy Pros & Cons
Bristol Energy is a company with many pros and cons attached to it. These are some of the most prominent ones:
- Cheap tariffs under the BE Simply Green scheme.
- Great customer service.
- Ranked as one of the best energy suppliers in the UK by Which.
- Supported prepaid meters.
- Supported E7 meters.
- Deep focus on the community and social work, with much of the profits destined to help the community.
- It provided 100% renewable energy.
- Some tariffs provided gas carbon offsets.
- There were no exit fees attached to the fixed tariffs.
- There was no sufficient bill clarity.
- The electricity prices constantly increased.
The customer service of Bristol Energy outstood as one of the best ones, having a deep focus on providing the best service for each customer. Since the company went bust, all the problems regarding customer service are being dealt with by British Gas, the new supplier of the former customers of Bristol Energy.
Even though British Gas handles all of the problems regarding the service, Bristol Energy is still on the notice to any customer requiring help with any type of inconvenience. If you need to contact the Customer Service of Bristol Energy, you can write them via email at [email protected].
One category where Bristol Energy stood out more is in the customer service area and the opinion of its customers. This company has been ranked by many as one of the best energy suppliers in the UK.
According to surveys ran by USwitch and YouGov, Bristol Energy customers ranked the company with an outstanding score of 5/5 stars. This company was mainly recognized by the quality of its customer service, its products, and how fast they solve any type of inconvenience.
In 2019, Bristol Energy was ranked as the 8th best company in the UK, entering the Top ten best companies ranked by Which. In 2021, Bristol Energy was listed as the second-best one in the reviews.
While this company is quite popular in most surveying sites, this is not the case on TrustPilot. The company is currently ranked as average with 2.8/5 stars. While 57% of the customers on the site think that the company is either great or excellent, 6% of them think that it is average, and the remaining 37% think that it is poor or bad. Most complaints were from problems that showed when switching suppliers, and several other billing issues where the bills came too late or customer service did not provide an accurate answer.
How Green Is Bristol Energy?
Bristol Energy was focused on representing a positive impact on the environment, as such, it delivered 100% renewable energy to its customers according to its Fuel Mix. This means that Bristol Energy released 0 g/kWh of carbon dioxide emissions and 0 g/kWh of radioactive waste.
To make an even bigger impact on the environment, Bristol Energy did not only provided 100% renewable energy but also bought gas carbon offset certificates. These certificates from emission reduction schemes benefit the environment from projects that plant trees or reduce carbon usage elsewhere
Bristol Energy Digital Presence
Bristol Energy was only present in three social networks, but it was always attentive to solving doubts from their customers, providing the best and most detailed information, and delivering great service in general. You can access the social media accounts of Bristol Energy at:
How To Switch To Bristol Energy?
Bristol Energy ceased trading as a UK energy supplier on 18 January 2022, since that date, the company is not taking in any new energy customers. What might be even more important, all the customers of Bristol Energy are currently being transferred to British Gas.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bristol Energy a good company?
Bristol Energy was a great company while it was trading energy. This company had a deep commitment to its customers, focusing on providing excellent customer service while making a positive impact on the environment by delivering 100% renewable energy and even acquiring carbon offset certificates.
The company supported regular meters, smart meters, prepaid meters, and E7 meters, with some of the most competitive tariffs in the energy market. If you were looking to switch to this company, we are saddened to inform you that Bristol Energy ceased trading on 18 January 2022.
Is Bristol Energy in trouble?
Bristol Energy was in trouble for some time. This company had a great start, however in the financial year of 2017 – 2018, Bristol Energy reported £11.2 million in losses, and since that date, the company could not hold its ground until it was bought by Together Energy.
Since its parent company went bust, Bristol Energy also went bust in January 2022 and will no longer be operating as a UK energy supplier.
What will happen to Bristol Energy customers?
Since Bristol Energy went bust, Ofgem selected British Gas as the new energy supplier of former Bristol Energy customers. If you want to switch to another company, you have to wait until the transfer is complete, and then request the switch from British Gas to your new supplier.
Until there is any news, customers of Bristol Energy will continue to pay their past and current debts to Bristol Energy like regular. If you have any credits with Bristol Energy, there is no need to worry. British Gas will be honoring any standing credit currently available on your balance.
One important aspect to consider is that the prices for your electricity might change since British Gas might have different tariffs than Bristol Energy. Any other information and future news will be posted on the website of Bristol Energy.
Verdict on Bristol Energy
Bristol Energy was created as a local energy supplier with a good cause. A lot of the profits of the company were destined for the community and doing social work, also focusing on delivering clean energy to reduce the carbon footprint of UK energy customers.
The company operated for a few years under this scheme. While it was great for customers, there were several times in which there were financial problems for the energy supplier. Eventually, Bristol Energy was acquired by Together Energy, and it kept providing social help with a part of the profits.
Despite energy rates were not among the cheapest in the market, there are many positive references for Bristol Energy rating it as one of the best energy companies providing quality customer services, supported several types of meters, and was ranked as one of the best, it could not hold its ground against the UK energy crisis. This energy supplier went bust in January 2022 alongside Together Energy, its parent company.
It is truly a shame losing such a great energy supplier that delivered 100% renewable energy and was deeply committed to the environment. If you were a Bristol Energy customer, the good news for you is that British Gas also seems to provide great customer service and it is currently ranked as the 8th best energy supplier in the UK, so you are still in good hands.