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Fighting Fuel Poverty in Brighton and Hove

It's a shocking fact that, despite the UK being a rich country, fuel poverty is still a big problem for a large part of our population. In Brighton and Hove, it's a problem that BHESCo is proud to help alleviate. Since 2015, fuel poverty in our city has reduced by 1.3% while it has risen almost everywhere else in the UK.

What is Fuel Poverty?

Households are classed as being in fuel poverty when they do not have the means to adequately heat their homes. It is a significant problem as cold homes are widely recognised as a major risk to people’s mental and physical health. In 2015, Age UK estimated that fuel poverty cost the NHS around £1.3 billion every year.

In Brighton and Hove, there are estimated to be almost 15,000 households who cannot afford to adequately heat their home over the winter months. In the three years from winter 2010/2011 to 2012/2013 this resulted in approximately 373 excess winter deaths.

What is BHESCo doing to alleviate fuel poverty in Brighton and Hove?

BHESCo is committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their income or personal situation, should have access to energy saving initiatives and actions that improve both comfort and well-being. We work with people who are experiencing fuel poverty in a number of ways such as:

  • Energy advice desks
  • Home energy surveys
  • Energy saving goodie bags

Energy advice desks - bill checking and tariff switching

Around 70% of all UK households are paying too much for their energy bills. One of the quickest and simplest ways that BHESCo can help people in fuel poverty is through our free and impartial energy tariff switching service. 

We work with people to find the tariff that best meets their personal needs. We can advise on which suppliers have the best and worst customer service, and which are offering smart meters, paperless billing, or 100% green energy.

Get cheaper energy bills by doing an energy comparison and switching to a cheaper energy supplier

The Big Energy Saving Network

For the fifth straight year BHESCo has secured funding to be a Local Energy Champion as part of the Big Energy Saving Network – a programme jointly financed by the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the national charity, National Energy Action.

This money will enable us to visit food banks and community centres across Brighton and Hove to help people find the cheapest energy deals, apply for any financial support to which they may be eligible, and to achieve other valuable energy-related outcomes.

If you are a member of a local group or organisation who may be interested in a visit from one of BHESCo’s energy advisers then please get in touch and let us know.

BHESCo's Record Breaking 2018 / 2019 Fuel Poverty Campaign

In winter 2018/2019, BHESCo hit the ground running and were able to achieve greater gains for local residents than ever before. 

Building on partnerships and relationships developed over previous years, we successfully delivered talks, workshops, and one-to-one advice sessions at over fifty different locations around the city, varying from food banks and community centres to older people’s lunch clubs and cooking classes.

Between October 2018 and March 2019 our energy advisors were able to speak to 520 local residents, helping to save an combined £35,026 on their energy bills.

Energy Saving Goodie Bags

BHESCo has partnered with Brighton and Hove City Council and the Interreg 2 Seas programme on a project to distribute 300 energy saving goodie bags to low income and vulnerable households in our local area.

The goodie bags contain a variety of items which help residents reduce energy consumption in their household and BHESCo will demonstrate how to install the items and how to get the best results from them.

Energy Saving Goodie Bag Light Draught Excluder Thermometer Card Shower Timer
An assortment of energy saving goodies to help local residents save money and keep a warmer home over winter
Free Home Energy Surveys

Through a partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council, BHESCo offers free energy improvement surveys to people on a low income or who have a family member who is vulnerable to the cold.

Each survey identifies where heat is being lost and  suggests the most cost-effective ways to fix it. A follow up visit is then completed to install the appropriate energy saving measures.

Since the the service was launched in 2016, BHESCo’s Energy Saving Service has visited over 700 properties

BHESCo recognised with 'Heat Hero' award for our fuel poverty work

In 2019, Dan Curtis, who is one of the leads in delivering BHESCo’s fuel poverty alleviation programme, was recognised for all his hard work. He was named a ‘Heat Hero’ by the fuel poverty charity National Energy Action and received his award at a ceremony held in the Houses of Parliament.

Dan collecting his award at the Houses of Parliament, accompanied by Brighton MP Caroline Lucas and Hayley Carmichael from the Sussex NHS Foundation, who nominated BHESCo for the award