Licensee in £46k energy dispute with British Gas

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

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Licensee in £46k energy dispute with British Gas
British Gas is working to resolve a dispute with a licensee in Cumbria about a £46,000 bill after intervention by the PMA.

Lesley Coop, of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in Arnside, was left “absolutely stumped” after the energy supplier told her she owed £46,774.32 for electricity usage dating back to June 2005.

British Gas originally told Coop on 6 June 2011 that the actual meter readings she provided had not been used by their system to create her bills.

The utility supplier apologised for the discrepancy, adding that it understood the “additional cost was unexpected” and promised “to make payment terms fair and as hassle-free as possible”.

Coop appealed the charges with the Energy Ombudsman in November 2011 , but was informed in January 2012 that the maximum refund she was entitled to was £5,000.

British Gas told the Energy Ombudsman that it had been billing for electricity on five-figure meter readings. However, Coop is adamant that she has always provided the correct six figure readings, since her moving in date on 5 November 2004.

However, after intervention by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser and following negotiations with Coop, British Gas have offered her a revised balance of £19,361.19 to pay — a discount of more than £27,000. But Coop believes that the error is with British Gas and is refusing to back down.

“I still don’t believe I owe anything,” said Coop. “I am absolutely stumped and just do not know what to do for the best.”

She added: “It is an absolutely staggering amount, especially when you are already paying £900 per month for electricity. I will go bankrupt if they ask for this money.

“Thirteen people will lose their jobs and it will just be another pub closing as a result of spiralling costs. I am not accepting liability yet.”

A British Gas spokesman said: “We are working to try and resolve Mrs Coop’s billing issues. We installed a smart meter last year which ensures she now only pays for the energy she uses and avoids billing inaccuracies.“

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