Bristol Energy Reviews: Is it a good supplier?
Launched in 2015 by the Bristol City Council, Bristol Energy recently sold its residential customer base to Together Energy. Did the Bristol Energy reviews foreshadow the suppliers failure? Should new customers still switch to Bristol Energy? Read on to find out.
In September 2020, Bristol Energy sold its residential customer base to Together Energy for £14 million. The new supplier will continue to use the Bristol Energy brand name and operating company. Bristol Energy has temporarily suspended taking on new customers.
Bristol Energy reviews
Bristol Energy reviews reveal that customers have had quite mixed experiences when dealing with the supplier. The table below reveals the average customer rating from Citizens Advice, Which? and Trustpilot.
|Customer review site||Average Bristol Energy rating|
Customer satisfaction in regard to energy suppliers is made up of a number of factors: customer service, pricing, billing, and complaints handling. Let’s work through each of these areas individually to give you a better idea of what Bristol Energy is doing well and where customers feel it could use a bit of extra work.
Customer Service Reviews
First up, customer service - a vital factor in making a good energy supplier. This is something you never appreciate when things are going right, but as soon as something goes wrong (which can happen even with the best suppliers), you want it solved as quickly and painlessly as possible. So, how do Bristol Energy reviews measure up in this area?
When Bristol Energy first opened as a council-run energy provider 2015, it quickly built a reputation for delivering a good standard of customer service. Customers praised how friendly and helpful the call centre agents were, as well as how effectively any problems were resolved. Even in the latest annual Which? survey annual energy suppliers review from September 2019 backed up this sentiment, with customers giving Bristol Energy 4/5 stars for both phone and online customer service.
Unfortunately, Bristol Energy reviews regarding customer service have taken a turn for the worst over the past year. In the latest quarterly report from Citizens Advice, Bristol Energy scored just 1.7 out of five stars and came in last out of 38 UK energy suppliers. Bristol Energy reviews on Trustpilot have also become increasingly negative over the past few months.
“Bristol Energy is the worst electricity provider I've been with. Poor customer service.... Putting you on hold forever and vague answers. I just changed to another provider.”
Call wait times play a big part in delivering good customer service. Nobody has time to be waiting on hold for ages, meaning long response times often bring lots of complaints and unsatisfied customers. Bristol Energy neither shines nor performs appalling in this area.
When we called Bristol Energy, it took six minutes 17 seconds to get through to a customer service agent. Which? reports a call-wait time of just under four minutes, while Citizens Advice found an average call-wait time of nearly five and a half minutes.
Neither of these are particularly bad results (although over three minutes can feel like a lifetime when listening to bad on-hold music!), but there is room for a bit of improvement. A few similar sized suppliers have call-wait times under the two minute mark.
Need to contact Bristol Energy? You find all the relevant contact details on Bristol Energy profile page.
On the contrary, Bristol Energy does have one trick up its sleeve: face-to-face customer service! Thanks to the Bristol Energy Hub, customers can drop in and talk to its energy experts during its opening hours (Mon-Fri; 9am-5pm, Wed; 10am-5pm). While this is only practical for customers living in or close to the Bristol area, it’s a great extra service to offer and helps customers get their issues solved quickly.
Tariffs & Pricing Reviews
According to the Bristol Energy reviews, customers seem rather pleased with the price they pay for gas and electricity. Bristol Energy's standard tariff comes in well below Ofgem's price cap. An average-sized household in London would spend an estimated £962 per year on this tariff, which is £80 below the cap of £1,042 per year.
“Since moving to Bristol Energy I have saved so much money. I was fed up with being ripped off by the big companies and moved to BE (Bristol Energy) and have never looked back.”
Even though Bristol Energy rates are below the price cap doesn't mean they offer the best rates, however. If you're looking for the best energy rates in your area, you can get better deals with other providers. For help finding the best offer in your area, check out the following guides:
Bristol Energy reviews regarding billing have become overwhelmingly negative within the past year. Citizens Advice gave the provider just 1.5 out of five stars for the category regarding clear and on-time bills. Bristol Energy customers can likely expect better billing services in the future now that the provider is owned by Together Energy, which received a higher billing score of 3.5 from Citizens Advice.
Bristol Energy's billing system has also been one of the main focuses of bad reviews on Trustpilot. Customers have complained about being charged too much, as well as being accused of owing the supplier money.
“Really bad. Understaffed or badly staffed. The bill system is a mess.”
In the case of inaccurate bills, the fault doesn’t always lie purely with the supplier. Estimated readings might be used to calculate bills when meter readings have been entered late or not correctly. This estimated usage might be more than the customer actually used, therefore creating an inaccurate bill.
In other instances, bills are not actually wrong. Customers are simply not aware that they have used so much energy and therefore complain about the price they have been charged. Bristol Energy is also working to improve its service based on these issues:
- To reduce reliance on estimated readings it’s installing smart meters and developing measures to improve meter reading submission methods for more accuracy.
- To help customers keep track of their energy usage and not be surprised by their bills, it’s again installing smart meters and directing customers to energy charities that can give them advice on how to be more energy efficient on a daily basis.
Did you know you can track your energy usage on your Bristol Energy online account? Head to our Bristol Energy login page for details on how to access your account and take advantage of this service.
How do Bristol Energy reviews compare to other suppliers?
So how do Bristol Energy reviews compare to those of other energy suppliers? As mentioned before, Bristol Energy came in last place out of 38 UK energy suppliers in the latest Citizens Advice survey from the second quarter of 2020.
In the table below, we break down the top energy suppliers in terms of customer service, according to Citizens Advice. The organisation compares energy suppliers on a quarterly basis across the following categories:
- Average call centre wait time
- Number of complaints per 10,000 customers
- Customers who had an accurate bill in the past year
- Bills and statements sent on time
- Switches completed within 21 days
- Customer guarantees
|9||Outfox the Market||3.9|
Ufortunately for Bristol Energy customers, the new owner (Together Energy) didn't score much higher. Together Energy came in 35th place with a score of just 2.3 stars.
How well does Bristol Energy handle complaints?
Another key part in reviewing an energy supplier is looking at how well it deals with complaints. Bristol Energy is pretty efficient on this front. For the third quarter of 2020 (July to September), it solved 90% of the complaints it received either on the same day or the next working day. It managed to resolve nearly 99% within the eight-week target set by Ofgem.
The table below shows Bristol Energy’s complaints handling data over the past year. By looking at the table, you’ll notice that the number of complaints received has significantly increased.
|Time period||Complaints received per 10,000 customers||Percentage resolved by end of next working day||Percentage resolved within eight weeks|
|October - December 2019||216||92%||99%|
|January - March 2020||327||97%||99%|
|April - May 2020||185||90%||99%|
|July - September 2020||163||90%||99%|
Selectra's verdict: Is Bristol Energy any good?
|Affordable prices||Inaccurate billling|
|Supplies green energy||Long call-wait times|
|Efficient complaint handling||Temporarily not taking on new customers|
Even though the supplier offers decent prices, provides green energy and handles complaints rather quickly, this ultimately wasn't enough to keep the supplier afloat. We hope Bristol Energy can improve in certain areas, specifically billing, now that it is owned by Together Energy.