Pub host urges caution over energy bills

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Money

Energy Price Watch: get in touch and tell us how much you pay
Energy Price Watch: get in touch and tell us how much you pay
A licensee is urging others to keep an eye on their bills and bank balance, after encountering an ongoing energy nightmare with several suppliers....

A licensee is urging others to keep an eye on their bills and bank balance, after encountering an ongoing energy nightmare with several suppliers.

Sharon Chittock, of Punch pub the Globe Inn in Chichester, West Sussex, also thinks there should be an independent body to help pubs with any problems they are having with energy providers.

On the day she took over at the pub, with husband John, they accepted a deal with Opus Energy for electricity, and received quarterly bills of around £4,000.

They eventually managed to move to British Gas for electricity and Total Gas for gas. But Chittock then noticed that British Gas had stopped taking the direct debit out of her account, putting her £4,000 in arrears. She has since paid this off on a payment plan.

The problems didn't stop there. Chittock decided to move to E-On for her gas as it offered a better deal than Total Gas. She was set up on a direct debit to pay £490 each month, but her quarterly bills were amounting to more. After several phone calls to increase the payments, E-On still did not charge her properly, and she is now on a repayment plan.

"If it wasn't for me keeping an eye on my outgoings and bills, I don't think I would still be at the pub. I've found the companies to be very incompetent, and feel there needs to be a body that helps commercial buildings fight against them."

E-On has since apologised to the Chittocks. A spokeswoman added: "We pride ourselves on our customer service and it's disappointing that Mrs Chittock was not happy with the service she received through the broker. We do believe we have now resolved the issue and apologise for any inconvenience caused."

An Opus spokesman said: "Opus strongly contests any allegations of wrong-doing. Having agreed a contract with Mr and Mrs Chittock under which they accepted the rate, we then released them from this within three months. Opus acted entirely within the agreed terms and then voluntarily allowed Mr and Mrs Chittock to break the contract. We are surprised to be accused of improper behaviour almost four years after the complaint was successfully resolved."

• The Morning Advertiser's Energy Price Watch appeal aims to help licensees keep an eye on the latest offers and issues. Have you recently negotiated your utility bills? What deal did you get? Have you had an issue with your supplier? Email thewvg.qrtha@jeoz.pbz​.

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