British Gas error decimates trade

By John Harrington John Harrington@william-reed.co.

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: British gas, Causality, British gas business

Licensee takes action on 'appalling' bills A licensee suffered 18 months of hell after a billing blunder meant he couldn't afford to heat his pub...

Licensee takes action on 'appalling' bills

A licensee suffered 18 months of hell after a billing blunder meant he couldn't afford to heat his pub properly.

Peter Mackrory stopped heating the living area, scrapped plans to renovate the garden and kept heating in the bar to a minimum — causing customers to stay away.

Monthly bills with British Gas Business (BGB) hit almost £2,000 in winter at the Jolly Gardeners, in Old Windsor, Berkshire.

Punch lessee Mackrory feared he may be unable to sell his lease when accounts show such high overheads.

He told BGB the stated consumption was four times what it should be.

After 18 months, BGB has now admitted there was a mistake — caused by a meter wrongly being measured in feet rather than metres.

"We lost a lot of business because this became a cold, old pub," said Mackrory. "That's not to mention the discomfort. It's appalling.

"We thought that if it is going to cost £2,000 a month to heat the pub, the business is destined to fail."

A BGB spokesman apologised "for any distress and inconvenience caused," and added: "As a gesture of goodwill, we have credited both gas and electricity [accounts] with £500."

But Mackrory said this does not go far enough:

"We have rewritten to British Gas asking them to reconsider its offer."

Energywatch backs complaints

Energy watchdog Energywatch has slated British Gas Business over its handling of Mackrory's bill.

Energywatch helped Mackrory resolve the case and the group's head of company performance Audrey Gallacher said: "It is shocking to see that British Gas has pushed this licensee to a state of stress and near bankruptcy through its failure to provide even the most basic customer service: issuing a correct bill.

"British Gas should seriously consider its level of compensation."

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