Paddington licensee 'may have to sell lease of pub' to pay British Gas energy bill

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: British gas, Money

Big bill: Dudley Arms licensee Rogerio Mendes has queried backdated energy charges from British Gas
Big bill: Dudley Arms licensee Rogerio Mendes has queried backdated energy charges from British Gas
A Paddington licensee fears he may have to sell the lease of his pub in order to pay a £19,000 energy bill from British Gas.

Rogerio Mendes of the Dudley Arms was hit with a backdated bill from British Gas in February after the supplier admitted it had made an error with the final reading of his old meter.

The error added £21,650.56 to Mendes’s account and his direct debit was cancelled by British Gas so that the money was not taken without his knowledge or consent.

British Gas are now seeking payment of £19,917 from Mendes, but he does not believe it is a fair reflection of his energy usage since October 2010.

He has also queried why his standing charge has increased from £21.44 per day to £37.85 when he is on a fixed term, fixed price energy contract.

The energy ombudsman ruled in October that Mendes should be given the option of a payment plan by British Gas.

However, Mendes is adamant he should not have to pay “for something he hasn’t used”, though has conceded he may have to leave his business should he end up having to pay. He has 13 years left on his Spirit Pub Company lease.

“I think this is a very big amount of money for my energy consumption,” said Mendes. “There is no way that I have spent £20,000 in two years.

Mendes: May have to sell lease of his pub

“If I have to go to court with this, it is going to cost me from £2,000 to £6,000, which is money I don’t really have at this time. 

“That (selling the business) is one of those difficult decisions I may have to make. I am a sole trader so I am liable for the bill.”

A British Gas spokesperson said: “We have spoken to Mr Mendes and are looking into his concerns, as we want our customers to be happy with the service they receive from British Gas.

“We hope to reach a mutually satisfactory conclusion.”

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