Pubs warned to check their gas bills

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Related tags: British gas, South yorkshire

Licensees are being strongly advised to check they are not being overcharged thousands of pounds for energy bills due to an error by British...

Licensees are being strongly advised to check they are not being overcharged thousands of pounds for energy bills due to an error by British Gas.

Energy broker Power 4 Pubs is investigating a number of cases in which licensees may have lost out after British Gas bought out supply company Electricity Direct.

After the takeover in 2002, British Gas integrated the Electricity Direct customers' accounts into its own system and Power 4 Pubs claims the change may have caused errors. Electricity Direct's customers had fixed-price contracts in place for two to five years, but following the takeover a number are believed to have seen their prices go up before the end of the fixed-price term.

British Gas has already acknowledged a mistake was made on an account held by the Royal Oak in Wombwell, Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Power 4 Pubs director Simon Askew claims the error would have cost the pub more than £13,000 over the next three years.

Licensee Jim Hardy said: "I noticed there was something wrong with my bill. The bills can be quite complicated to understand and I'm just very relieved that the mistake was spotted."

At the Barrel Inn, in Chapeltown, Sheffield, licensee Enza Falsone was also saved from falling foul of British Gas' new rates. "I signed up three years ago on a five-year contract with Electricity Direct," she said. "But when British Gas took over, I got sent a letter saying the prices would go up in November.

"I've probably saved about £7,000 on my bills."

Mr Askew said it was important that licensees checked their contracts with their energy supplier. "People tend to lose the paperwork, but it's important that they go back to British Gas and request their original contract."

A spokesman for British Gas admitted the error, adding that the matter had been resolved and apologies sent to customers. "We have a lot of pubs on our books and as far as we are concerned this is absolutely not a big problem," he claimed.

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