Marc Allinson was looking around to find a new gas contract for the Artful Dodger site in York when an adviser for the supplier told him they were not currently making new contracts with pubs.
British Gas confirmed to The Morning Advertiser (The MA) it had tightened its approach to taking on new customers during the period when pubs were closed but was currently reviewing the situation.
Allinson said: “I could understand if it was someone with a bad credit record who messed them about in the past but I have been with them on probably about six contracts over the years for gas and electric.”
“They seemed to have thrown the industry under the bus. We're busier than normal at the moment because we're getting a lot of British tourists who tend to spend a lot more than foreign tourists do, as they drink a lot more.”
The operator said he was “absolutely gobsmacked,” after his conversation with the supplier.
“I was speechless when he said it at first. It just felt like a big slap in the face,” the publican said.
“There's a good chance I would have been switching back to them, I was fully expecting to get sensible prices and make up my mind, as is the standard procedure. It seems a bit odd.”
A spokesperson for British Gas explained it had provided many customers in the sector with additional support while their sites were closed.
They said: “British Gas has more than 4,000 existing bar & restaurant customers, many of which looked to us for additional support over the course of the Covid crisis, which we know has been an extremely tough time for the industry.
“In June, as a result of the additional support we were already giving to our existing customers, we tightened our approach to bringing on new customers.
“We are currently reviewing this in light of the changing business circumstances for the sector as the lockdown eases across the majority of the UK.”