Our help for vulnerable customers

Bristol Energy aims to provide an excellent service to all our customers but some people will need extra help. This might be where one or more people in a home are:

  • Of pensionable age; or
  • Chronically ill; or
  • Disabled; or
  • Under 8 years old.

We will also make all our information available in formats for those need extra help with sight, hearing or language. 

You can download a copy of our helpful guide here.

Bristol Energy aims to provide an excellent service to all our customers but some people will need extra help. This might be where one or more people in a home are:

  • Of pensionable age; or
  • Chronically ill; or
  • Disabled; or
  • Under 8 years old.

We will also make all our information available in formats for those need extra help with sight, hearing or language. 

Priority Services Register

Bristol Energy keeps a confidential register of customers who may need extra help when there is a power cut or when your local electricity network operator or gas transporter need to give you some advance warning of a power cut.

If you are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically ill you can ask to be added to our Priority Services Register at any time. Please contact us via one of the contact methods listed at the end of this guide to do this. We will also ask you when you first become our customer if you wish to be added to the Priority Services Register.

Intermediary Nomination Scheme

If you are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically ill then, upon request, we can arrange to send your electricity and/or gas bill to any other person (for example a relative or friend) who has agreed to receive this.

Our Intermediary Nomination Scheme is free of charge and can be temporary or permanent as you choose. We can also still send you a copy of your bill in addition to the one that is sent to your nominated person. 

To make use of this service, please contact us.

Gas Safety Checks

We will provide a free gas safety check to homes in receipt of means-tested benefits if you ask for one and have not had a check carried out during the previous 12 months. Your household should include:

  • Includes a child under the age 5; or
  • Includes a person of pensionable age; or
  • Includes a person who is disabled; or
  • Includes a person who is chronically ill

If you are a tenant your landlord is responsible for organising your annual gas safety check.  

The gas safety check will be carried out by a properly qualified person and will include checks on the safety of gas appliances and other gas fittings in your home.

If you are concerned about your gas installation or appliances (and are not entitled to a free gas safety check) you can employ a gas engineer to undertake a check. Your engineer should be a member of the Gas Safe Register. You can find a list of registered businesses by visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk or calling 0800 408 550.

Visiting your home

Should Bristol Energy need to visit your home for any reason, this will be arranged by appointment and will always take place within normal working hours (between 9am and 5pm) on a weekday. If you need to cancel or change an appointment, we would like at least 48 hours’ prior notice. Without enough notice we may charge for a reasonable proportion of our costs incurred in relation to the failed visit.

If we fail to keep the arranged appointment you are entitled to £30 compensation under our Guaranteed Standards of Service obligations. A copy of this is available at 'We have standards' or you can request it by contacting us free on 0808 281 2222.

Identification cards

All Bristol Energy representatives carry an identity card at all times. Please do not hesitate to ask for and carefully check this before allowing them into your property. If you are concerned as to whether or not someone is genuinely from Bristol Energy, please contact us to check their credentials.

Password scheme

If you are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically ill, and require extra security you can request to be added to our password scheme. This is provided free of charge.  

On joining this scheme you will be asked to choose a password or signal which we will record on our system and pass onto your local electricity network operator and/or gas distributor and to any of our or our agents’ representatives. When a representative visits your property you can then ask them for the password or signal before letting them in. To join, please contact us free on 0808 281 2222.

Reading your meter

In order to meet our obligations we are required to conduct a safety inspection of your electricity and/or gas meter at least once every two years.

We will always do our best to arrange an appointment with you. If this is not possible, as a last resort, we can obtain an entry warrant from a magistrate. We may charge you for our costs if we are forced to obtain entry to your home.  

We can arrange for a representative to come and read your meter every three months if you or anyone in your household is unable to do it and you do not have a smart meter for automatic readings. We will inform you of the meter reading and also ensure that you are left with a copy of this. If you are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically ill, this will be provided free of charge. Should you not be eligible to have this done free of charge we will agree the charge with you before the visit.

If you need us to come and take a meter reading, whenever possible we will book a visit at a time to suit you. This will always take place within normal working hours (9am to 5pm) on a weekday.  

If we fail to keep the arranged appointment you are entitled to £30 compensation under our Guaranteed Standards of Service obligations.

Useful link:  We have standards

Moving your meter 

If you are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically ill and pay for your electricity and/or gas through a prepayment meter but find it difficult to get to your prepayment meter, you can ask us to move your meter. If it is appropriate and practical for us to do so, this will be free of charge.

Find out more about our prepayment services for customers.

Paying your bill

If you are unable to pay your bill, or are worried that you may have difficulty paying, please contact us. We will talk through the available options with you so that we can agree between us what the best plan of action would be for your particular circumstances. This will then allow you to continue using electricity and/or gas.

Options we can offer you are:

  • Short term deferment of payment.
  • Agreeing a debt repayment plan as instalments.
  • Agreeing a regular instalment plan for future bills.
  • Installation of a prepayment meter, where it is safe and reasonably practicable to do so.
  • Where relevant, arranging for payment directly from benefits through the Fuel Direct Scheme.

We will take all reasonable steps to assess your ability to pay and will take this into account when calculating the amount of money you should pay, as well as the amount of electricity and/or gas you use. We will agree the amount with you and confirm that you are able to pay this amount.  If you continue to have problems paying we can review the amount you need to pay.

Useful link:  Paying your bill

Fuel Direct

If you are in receipt of Pension Credit, Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance, you may be able to take advantage of the Fuel Direct scheme. Under this scheme the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will take money each week to the value of the current Fuel Direct rate directly from your benefit. They will pay us the money you owe for any electricity and/or gas debt you have with us as well as for your current usage. It normally takes 14 days for us to set up this arrangement for you with the DWP.

Disconnection 

Disconnection is always a last resort. However, if you do not pay your bill we may take steps to disconnect your supply. We will always give consideration to all your circumstances known to us at the time prior to making any decisions.  

If any member of your household falls within the definition of vulnerability listed at the beginning of this guide then we will not disconnect you between October 1 and March 31. We will always try and find out if someone in your household is considered vulnerable before disconnecting the electricity and/or gas supply.

Please note that, if you are a dual fuel customer, disconnection of your electricity supply does not automatically mean disconnection of your gas supply and vice-versa.

Providing information

If you are blind or partially sighted and ask us, or we are asked on your behalf, for information about any bill or statement of account, we will provide you with that information free of charge in a format you reasonably request.

Complaints

If you are:

  • Blind or partially sighted;
  • Deaf or have a hearing impairment and are in possession of the appropriate equipment;

we will provide facilities, free of charge, to enable you to ask or complain about any bill or statement of account.

Communicating with us

We have a full range of ways in which you can communicate with us to suit your requirements. If you require any of our letters or information in Braille, large print or audio, or if you require a translation, please get in touch.

You can contact us about any of these services via the following methods:

Telephone: 0808 281 2222

Email: customercare@bristolenergy.co.uk

Post: Bristol Energy, 5th floor, 1 Temple Quay, Temple Quay, Temple Back East, Bristol BS1 6DZ

Useful Contacts

Age UK

England

Tavis House
1-6 Tavistock Square
London
WC1H 9NA
T: 0800 169 8787

Scotland

Causewayside House
60 Causewayside
Edinburgh
EH9 1PR
T: 0800 470 8090

Wales

Ty John Pathy
13/14 Neptune Court
Vanguard Way, Cardiff
CF24 5PJ
T: 0800 022 3444

www.ageuk.org.uk

 

Energy Ombudsman

Ombudsman Services: Energy
PO Box 966
Warrington
WA4 9DF

Telephone: 0330 440 1624

www.ombudsman-services.org

 

National Debtline

Telephone: 0808 808 4000

www.nationaldebtline.org

 

Energy Saving Trust

England

21 Dartmouth Street 
London
SW1H 9BP 
T: 0300 123 1234

Scotland

Second Floor, Ocean Point 1
94 Ocean Drive, Edinburgh
EH6 6JH
T: 0808 808 2282

Wales

1 Caspian Point, Caspian Way
Cardiff Bay, Cardiff
CF10 4DQ
T: 0300 123 1234

www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

 

Citizens Advice – Energy

Telephone: 03454 04 05 06

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/energy

 

The Disabled Living Foundation

Telephone: 0300 999 0004

www.dlf.org.uk