Bristol Tenants Energy Advice
A specialised service for council tenants
Project duration: October 2013 ongoing
“This is a great partnership between CSE and the biggest local authority in the area to help some of the most vulnerable local people."
These are the words of CSE’s Jamie Walters who is managing the Bristol Tenants’ Energy Advice (Bristol TEA) project, our service for Bristol City Council tenants which CSE will be delivering for at least another two years (until June 2022).
The council is taking the issues of fuel poverty and energy efficiency seriously, and so are continuing to fund us to provide advice and help for its tenants. Through this project “we have the ability to reach and engage with some of the most vulnerable people in our local area. Our aim is to tailor advice and support to meet each individual’s specific set of circumstances” says Jamie.
Tenants who call our advice line or are referred to us by the council's Housing Officers or another support agency like a local foodbank will get bespoke advice. Typically we are able to offer home visits and ongoing support to people who need help understanding how to use their heating system, are having issues with their energy bills, or who are struggling in other ways to keep warm at home.
Meeting tenants where they are
We’re used to being proactive with our advice by promoting the service to Bristol City Council tenants in their local own area. Annually we run a series of drop-in sessions for council tenants on how to apply for the Warm Home Discount, and how to switch supplier.
We’ve met tenants at Local Housing Forums, Family Fun Days and even breakfast clubs. We are very much looking forward to attending these events again.
Supporting the aims of Bristol City Council
Through the TEA project CSE has supported Bristol City Council in the delivery of numerous planned programmes and strategic objectives. This has included engaging with tenants to promote the council’s programme of heating system improvements; making referrals for free loft and cavity wall insulation; evaluating a pilot of Dimplex Quantum as an alternative to conventional night storage heaters and helping to design a solar PV survey. Next we’ll be helping to conduct some research into air source heat pumps as the council works towards its Net Zero commitment.
We also provide trigger training to council teams so they can spot the signs of fuel poverty when they visit tenants’ homes and make appropriate referrals to TEA.
Meeting the needs of tenants
If tenants have self-disconnected from their energy supply due to financial worries, have built up energy debt or are simply paying more than they can afford, CSE can advise them on finding the right tariff, managing their energy consumption, negotiate an affordable repayment plan and in some cases access trust funds to help clear debt.
Our team is skilled in showing tenants how to use their heating controls effectively, whether they have gas central heating, conventional night storage or something more modern. We even have a range of how-to videos based on heating controls installed in Bristol Council properties.
Where our advisors spot damp and condensation issues in tenants’ homes they can offer behavioural advice to improve the situation or alert the council where improvements to insulation or ventilation are needed.
These services are helping to improve the financial situation of tenants and have the potential to create warmer, healthier homes.
Bristol Council tenants can find contact details for the advice service and online energy advice here: www.cse.org.uk/bristoltea
For more information about this project, contact Jamie Walters.