Cost of living: help with energy bills for low-income homes

Councillor Kye Dudd, smiling, with trees and College Green in the background.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor
Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for
Climate, Ecology, Waste, and Energy and Labour Councillor for Southmead ward.

Even though the energy price guarantee was introduced last year, many people across Bristol are still struggling to pay their bills or are deeply concerned about the cost of heating their home during the national cost of living crisis.

Cutting energy usage by making homes more energy efficient can help to bring down bills. According to the Institute of Public Policy Research, the average household could save £500 a year on bills with good insultation and heat pumps.

National Energy Strategy

The government has recently launched their National Energy Strategy, which unfortunately does not go far enough to support people.

We welcome the extension of Heat Pump grants but the strategy is a real missed opportunity to improve energy efficiency for families and businesses: reducing bills and reducing our dependence on global energy supplies in the most sustainable way. The current proposals are for 1-2% of homes to be insulated – there’s a much greater need than this and an opportunity to create many more new jobs. 

While new technology is important, the strategy places too much reliance on carbon capture and storage, as well as nuclear power which takes longer to deliver.

We look forward to working with the government on the implementation of the strategy where it complements Bristol’s ambitious One City Climate Strategy and the Bristol City Leap programme. 

£11 million of energy efficient upgrades for fuel poor homes

A picture of Mayor Marvin Rees, wearing a high visibility vest, speaking with Bristol City Leap staff. They are looking at the construction site for Bristol City Leap. Bristol City Leaps logo is in the top right of the image. The Mayor of Bristol's logo is in the bottom left on the image.

Our innovative new partnership, Bristol City Leap, between Bristol City Council, Ameresco Limited and Vattenfall Heat UK, as an essential subcontractor, is set to deliver an £11 million programme of energy efficient upgrades for fuel poor homes in Bristol, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset.

Over 150 low-income households in Bristol with poor energy efficient ratings will be eligible for free energy saving upgrades to their homes, through the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s Home Upgrade Grant.

Improvements could range from loft and cavity wall insultation, to heat pumps and solar panels, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis to enhance the energy performance of a home.

Upgrades can be installed to eligible households from as early as next month until 2025, building on the hundreds of homes that have already benefitted from earlier phases of the ‘Bright Green Homes’ project that is being delivered with the government’s funding across the South West.  

Apply for cost-saving measures to your home

The wide range of energy saving measures are available to households who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • have a combined gross annual household income of £30,000 per year or under  
  • have a valid Energy Performance Certificate with a rating of D, E, F or G
  • live in Bristol, North Somerset or Bath and North East Somerset
  • have a non-mains-gas heating source (oil, electric, wood, etc.).

The scheme has funding for a limited number of homes, so if you believe your household meets the eligibility criteria, please complete this online questionnaire as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please call the Bristol City Leap team on 0117 352 1180.

Bristol’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030

By making homes warmer and cheaper to live in, we are not only transforming the lives of households across the city, but we are cutting carbon emissions and taking important steps towards Bristol’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.

As part of the council’s partnership with Ameresco Limited, Bristol City Leap will investment £424 million in a range of large infrastructure projects during its first five years. Over 185MW of low carbon energy generation will be invested across Bristol, helping to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 140,000 tonnes. The partnership will also bring over £61.5 million of social value to Bristol and support over 1,000 new jobs, apprenticeships and work placements.