Richard Giles, who runs BG Inns - which owns nine pubs around Warrington, Cheshire – received two bills for £53,000 and £9,000 backdated to 2008 after British Gas said it had been invoicing him incorrectly. It said the profile class for the venues had been incorrectly set as “standard” rather than “maximum demand”, which allows for greater energy usage.
After Giles sought assistance from energy broker Inenco, the supplier reduced the larger bill – sent to the Famous King and Queen pub in Warrington - to £30,000 as a “gesture of good will”, while the £9,000 bill for the Rope and Anchor remained the same. However, Giles said the bills are still “horrendous” and he is considering legal action.
Giles’ British Gas contract at the Rope and Anchor in Woolston, Warrington has since expired, but he said the supplier has told him he cannot move to another contract or supplier until he has paid the outstanding amount.
“It is outrageous,” he told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser. “They have been incredibly unreasonable and it’s given me an unbelievable amount of sleepless nights and stress. It could make me bankrupt.”
Peter Johnson from Inenco energy said he has been negotiating with British Gas over the bills for almost six weeks, and although the supplier agreed to reduce the bills further it then changed its mind.
“If British Gas has billed the pubs on an incorrect profile, which is what they’ve been doing, then they can’t expect Richard to be paying £53,000 or even £30,000,” he said.
“I spoke to them last week and asked them about a settlement fee. They came back and said they would be able to offer a one-off payment of £16,000 and then changed their mind and said that’s not what they said.
“It’s come to the point now where there’s not much more we can do, other than advise Richard to go down the legal route.”
Bills calculated 'incorrectly'
Katie Alloway, PR & Strategic Planning manager at British Gas, said:“I am sorry to hear that Mr Giles is concerned about his energy bills. We identified an issue which led to his bills being incorrectly calculated over a number of years, and have now provided bills that accurately reflect the rates we had previously agreed with him.
"We understand the pressures that small businesses face and will work with Mr Giles to reach a resolution to this matter that he is comfortable with.”