A Kent restaurant has received an electricity bill of £45,000, which led its owner to think she had been the victim of a “practical joke”.
Karen Williams, owner of The Mulberry Tree, disputed the total telling the BBC she felt the energy usage was the “equivalent to a small factory”. Energy provider Utility Warehouse, told the same publication the restaurant had been undercharged by for a decade and that the bill represented three years of back changes.
Williams says the company had recorded incorrect meter readings since 2008 and realised its mistake in June 2018. Ofgem rules stipulated at the time that businesses could only be billed for mistakes within three years.
The restaurateur said the invoice charging £45,108.08 saw her monthly bills more than doubled. Williams says she had previously paid between £150 and £350 per month which she said “seemed right for a small, family-run, country restaurant”.
Solicitors appointed by Williams’ insurance company sent an independent electrician to the premises, who said the meter was recording double the energy usage. Williams, said: “Apparently it’s equivalent to a small factory with 50 employees and heavy machinery.”
Solicitor Matthew Knight, said Utility Warehouse had been ordered to install a “check meter” at the restaurant, after making a complaint to the Energy Ombudsman. Knight said: “If the meter is inaccurate then the £45,000 of back charges will, in fact, be £22,500.”
Utility Warehouse said: “We’re in contact with Ms Williams directly, and we’ve complied with requests from the Energy Ombudsman regarding her energy usage.”