Another round of TEA

10 July 2018

Great news for council tenants in Bristol. The city council has confirmed that the Bristol Tenants Energy Advice (TEA) project will run for another year, supporting vulnerable tenants with energy advice and helping upgrade homes that are disadvantaged by old, expensive and unreliable heating systems - particularly night storage heaters and backboilers.

You can read the project profile here.

Support is offered in a number of ways, including claiming discounts and benefits to which the tenants are entitled due to their circumstances, such as the Warm Home Discount and discounts on water bills. We give energy advice and help tenants switch to cheaper energy tariffs, help clear fuel debt, and install energy efficiency measures such as draught proofing and LED lightbulbs. We also give advice on how to reduce condensation, damp and mould.

In many cases, we visit the tenants in their home to understand the circumstances and be better placed to help.

All these little things add up to a great deal. So far – from July 2016 to June2018 – TEA has helped Bristol tenants save a total of £164,000.

'Mr P' is fairly typical of the kind of tenant we support. In his 60’s, he contacted the Tenants Energy Advice team because he was struggling to pay for his electricity, as he had recently been made unemployed, suffers from stress and depression, and owed around £100. A CSE energy advisor visited him at home, showed him how to use his night storage heaters effectively and suggested other ways to save electricity and cut his bill.

At a second home visit, the advisor completed an EDF Energy Trust fund application on Mr P's behalf (which was successful and led to an award sufficient to wipe out his fuel debt) and recommended that he applied for single occupancy council tax reduction and that he would benefit from a water meter. The advisor also did a tariff comparison, showing that Mr P could save over £100 a year if he switched electricity supplier.

"Mr P is like many council tenants whom we support," said Jamie Walters who manages the project. "He's vulnerable and lives on a very low income so any money that we can help him save goes a long way.

"It's great that Bristol council has agreed to continue funding this work. Over the past two years it's helped improved the lives of over 850 clients, many of whom we've supported on more than one occasion. During this period, Bristol council tenants have had over 600 home visits from CSE energy advisors."

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