Impact report looks at Brighton energy co-op Bhesco’s fuel poverty work

‘As energy prices spiked, we have seen requests for financial support via grants and fuel vouchers rocket to 72% of all clients’

Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative (Bhesco) has released an impact report into its work to alleviate fuel poverty.

The study, conducted last August by Dr Timothy Laing, senior lecturer at the University of Brighton’s School of Business and Law, looked at the financial and environmental impacts of the co-op’s fuel poverty work in Brighton and Hove.

He is work details the changes to the co-op’s work in response to changes in the energy market after the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. 

“Whereas once most of our support involved helping clients switch energy supplier to access cheaper tariffs,” said Bhesco, “after 2021 this was no longer an option. As energy prices spiked, we have seen requests for financial support via grants and fuel vouchers rocket to 72% of all clients in 2022-2023.”

Laing’s report found that the co-op has helped over 3,000 households reduce their energy use over the last 7 years and this number is increasing year on year.

During the period of the study, 2016 to 2023, the energy-saving equipment – such as LED bulbs, draughtproofing and radiator reflectors – has saved an estimated collective total of £300,000, the report says. By 2030 this same equipment is expected to have provided savings of almost £800,000 over its lifespan.

This energy-saving has also had environmental benefits, the report found, helping to prevent over 360 tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere. Lang calculated that this saving could potentially rise to 700 tonnes by 2030.

Related: Labour drops £28bn green pledge but commits £3.3bn to Local Power Plan

Bhesco has also extended its bond offer, set to close at the end of January, until 15 April. The bond offer – the co-op’s first – was launched on 9 November last year and has raised a more than £288,000 for new clean energy projects in Sussex.

“With 2023 going down as the hottest year on record, the need for everyone to take action on climate change has never been more urgent,” says Bhesco. “Investing in the Bhesco Bond Offer provides individuals with a unique opportunity to deliver meaningful impact on climate change whilst earning an attractive rate of interest in return.”

Click here for more details of the bond offer