Fighting cold homes and saving money on energy bills in Brighton & Hove

It's a shocking fact that, despite being the fifth richest country in the world, there are 3 million UK residents who cannot afford their heat and power costs.

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.

The UK energy crisis and what customers can do

The UK energy industry in facing a crisis, with spiraling costs causing dozens of suppliers to go out of business. The most high profile of these so far is Bulb Energy, which was the seventh largest supplier in the UK with 1.7 million customers.

Caught between the energy price cap and rapidly rising wholesale costs, many energy suppliers are losing money on their domestic customers. For this reason, most are not taking on new business, which means that customers find themselves unable to switch to a cheaper tariff.

Amidst such conditions BHESCo’s advice to households is to focus on reducing energy costs by installing energy saving measures in the home and a being frugal with your heating where possible.

Installing simple, affordable energy saving measures will help to make your home more thermally efficient, keeping in the heat which comes from your radiators, and preventing warm air from escaping. Not only will this lead to a warmer and more comfortable home, it will reduce the amount of money you spend on energy bills, because you will not need to use so much.

Some simple energy saving measures you may wish to consider include:

1. Fit draught excluder strips around windows and doors
2. Make or buy a fabric draught excluder for your door
3. Use a chimney balloon
4. Fit heat reflector foil panels behind your radiators
5. Install secondary window glazing
6. Switch to LED lightbulbs

Do you need help with your energy bills?

If you are struggling to afford to pay your gas and electric bills this winter then please get in touch with BHECo’s energy advisors as soon as possible.

There are many ways that we can provide support, such as finding you a cheaper tariff, helping you apply for the Warm Home Discount, or installing free energy saving measures in your home.

Send us your details using the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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 struggling to afford their energy bills by helping in a number of ways including:

Help applying for the Warm Home Discount

The Warm Home Discount is a credit payment of £140 that is given to eligible customers to make heating their home more affordable over winter.

To be eligible, customers need to be in receipt of a means tested benefit such as Universal Credit. There must also be someone living in the home who is considered to be vulnerable, e.g. young children and anyone who suffers from a disability.

If you are with an energy supplier who offers the Warm Home Discount, then BHESCo can help you apply. All you’ll need is your account number.

BHESCo's Record Breaking 2019 / 2020 Fuel Poverty Campaign

In winter 2019/ 2020, 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.

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

Case Study

BHESCo met Sharif at the Brighton Unemployment Centre where he explained his concerns about a recent energy bill which he was unable to pay. Having only recently arrived in the UK, his English was limited and understanding his bill was difficult.

To overcome the communication barrier, BHESCo enagaged the services of an Arabic translator. We arranged for Sharif’s bill to be paid by the Brighton Lions Club’s ‘Project Wenceslas’, which is a fund available to help pensioners and benefits recipients who are in fuel debt.

BHESCo also helped Sharif to switch to a cheaper supplier which would save him £350 over the year compared to his current tariff. We arranged to get a smart meter fitted, which means that Sharif does not have to give meter readings in the future and will always get an accurate bill.

Finally, BHESCo registered Sharif for the Priority Services Register for the reason of ‘non-English speaking’ which will help in future communications with his supplier.