Coronavirus: How we're supporting customers and staff

27 April 2020

We’ve put together a set of questions and answers showing you how Bristol Energy is responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and its impact on our customers and staff.

The Coronavirus pandemic is understandably causing widespread concern.

This is a unique and challenging period for individuals and businesses, and we want to reassure you that we are prepared to support our customers throughout the period.

We’ve put together a set of questions and answers showing you how Bristol Energy is responding to the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on our customers and staff:

We are working hard to support our most vulnerable customers right now. To help us meet their needs, please use your online portal to contact us and to manage your energy whenever you can.

Residential customers

Are your customer service teams still available?

Yes – we are still available, we’ve just changed the way we’re working, in response to government guidelines.

Our Temple Street office is currently closed, including the Bristol Energy Hub, and we’re all working remotely to help keep our staff, and our customers, safe and well.

You’ll still receive your bills and any relevant communications in your chosen format (by post and/or email).

If possible, please get in touch with us via email, our website or social media channels (search Bristol Energy) so we can keep our phone lines free for vulnerable customers or emergency calls. Visit our Contact Us page for full details.

Vulnerable customers

Bristol Energy normally reads my meter – will this stop?

Yes – to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, our agents are now only undertaking emergency meter works, including maintenance or replacement of faulty meters. In these cases, in addition to the hygiene advice that we are giving our employees (e.g. washing hands regularly) we are introducing a number of additional steps to provide protection against the spread of the infection. An example of this is keeping a minimum of two metres from the customer at all times.

We encourage customers to submit their own meter readings if possible, via our app, by logging into the portal or by email. If you’d like some support with reading your meter and submitting reading online, please visit our Information Page.

How is Bristol Energy helping pre-payment customers?

We’re working to ensure vulnerable people do not get cut off amid the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak. We are encouraging pre-payment customers to top up their accounts where possible through digital channels, online, or SMS. Visit our Services for Pre-payment Customers page for more information.

I am on a pre-payment meter but in self-isolation so can’t top up, what should I do?

If possible, we recommend asking a neighbour, family member or friend to top up on your behalf if you are self-isolating. Ofgem have advised customers to leave top up cards in outside meter boxes where possible. Our third parties including SMS are still visiting properties where field engineers are required.

I am no longer working as a result of the Coronavirus and may not be able to pay my bill – can you help?

We are awaiting further advice from the government on the detailed schemes to offer assistance through this period, however we suggest making minimum payments (where possible) and seek further debt advice as soon as possible. Please let us know if you’re having problems paying your bill as soon as possible using our online contact methods.

Our company

How is Bristol Energy handling customer data while the office is closed?

We take our data protection and information security responsibilities very seriously. We use secure network connections and IT systems to ensure customer data is safe whether we are office based or working remotely.

How are staff being supported?

We are ensuring all of our staff are getting the support they need. We have been sharing up to date Public Health England guidelines on the outbreak daily to ensure colleagues are in a safe environment and supported.

We understand working from home can be a huge adjustment to people. Line managers are checking in frequently to ensure teams are supported, and we are currently running online support sessions for colleagues, led by our mental health first aiders.

Several avenues of emotional support are available to colleagues during this time, including our Employee Assistance Programme (a phone service where people can speak to trainer counsellors.)

Could the outbreak put Bristol Energy as a business at risk?

Bristol Energy has a Business Continuity Plan in place to ensure we are prepared and equipped to operate during an office closure. Aside from staff working from home, it’s business as usual for our company as we adjust to this new way of working. We are a safe and solvent business which is able to continue to fulfil its commitments to our people, our customers and our shareholders.