Energy suppliers 'profiteering' from pubs

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Profiteering: operator claims energy suppliers are using pubs as piggy banks (Credit:Getty/Nicholas Murrall)
Profiteering: operator claims energy suppliers are using pubs as piggy banks (Credit:Getty/Nicholas Murrall)

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Energy suppliers are using the hospitality industry as “piggy banks” and “profiteering” from the ongoing energy crisis, according to one Chester-based operator.

Pub Solutions director Ian Price claimed suppliers Yu Energy last month (November) quoted increases four times higher than the company had previously paid, but charged the business “even higher” prices when the direct debit was taken.

He said: “The energy companies are out of control they are doing whatever they want.

“I’m lucky we have 16 pubs and look like we can get through until next year with only a few pubs getting these types of hikes in prices at the moment. But things need to change. Once again, it’s the individuals I despair for.”

Price detailed the company has two gas accounts with Yu Energy, one for the Joiners pub in Oldham, Greater Manchester, and another for Tumbler in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, both of which had contracts renewed on 1 November.

The renewals saw the Joiners standing charge increase from 175p per day with a cost per kwh of 2.042p, to 349p and 8.15p respectively, while Tumbler saw its standing charge rise from 232p per day to 349p per day and an increase per kwh from 2.029p to 8.15p.

Profiteering from crisis 

However, after receiving last month’s bills, the operator claimed the supplier had charged both accounts a standing charge of 499p per day with a cost per kwh for the of 41p and 39.6p for the Joiners and Tumbler respectively, totalling £1912.38 between 1 and 10 November for the former and £4,459.15 from 11 to 30 November for the latter.

In comparison, Price, who also contacted UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls regarding this issue, stated October’s gas bills from Yu Energy totalled £118.82 for the Joiners and £337.79 for Tumbler.

He added: “Energy suppliers [are] blatantly profiteering from this crisis.

“If Yu Energy took these [direct debits] 10 days into December with an individual tenant there is every likelihood they wouldn’t trade over Christmas.”

Furthermore, the operator claimed the invoices for November included Government support as part of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme and would have been much higher without this.

Having contacted the supplier to query the invoices, Price was told the company was on “out of contract rates” according to Yu Energy’s records and that the direct debit was still in place.

Break the industry 

Subsequently, the operator contacted Yu Energy again to inform them of his plans to cancel the company’s direct until the matter was resolved.

Price said: “I’m not allowing this energy company to use our bank account as a piggy bank.

“This crisis is going to break our industry. The energy problem started over a year ago, no one listened then and I am afraid no one is listening now.”

A spokesperson for Yu Energy claimed the issue was due to a "misunderstanding" with Price's renewal, resulting in the company being placed on out of contract rates. 

However, the energy supplier stated the issue had now been resolved and Pub Solutions had been moved back onto fixed-contract rates.

The spokesperson added: “We empathise with our customers and understand their concerns over energy rates in the current climate.

"Unfortunately, due to the state of the market and rise in wholesale prices, energy costs have risen across the board.

"We always endeavour to find the best solutions for all our customers, and support them through this tumultuous time. With the current energy crisis ongoing, we urge all businesses, regardless of supplier, to check their contract end dates. We advise they renew or take out a new contract in order to secure the best possible rates and avoid being moved on to a variable tariff.”

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