Restaurant owner outraged after power cut-off

17 September 2008
Restaurant owner outraged after power cut-off

A Glasgow restaurateur has spoken of his outrage after Scottish Power cut off his restaurant's electricity in the middle of a busy Friday afternoon's service even though he had paid all his bills.

Seafood restaurant Striped Bass took over its Princes Square site in January this year from previous tenant Barca Tapas. However, the restaurant continued to pay its electricity bills in the name of Barca Tapas as Scottish Power would not accept the documents it provided as proof of change of ownership.

Although Striped Bass had paid all of its bills up to date, the Barca Tapas account was indebted and the restaurant received an unannounced visit by a Scottish Power representative, who presented a warrant and switched off the power.

Striped Bass owner Ian Fleming told Caterersearch that Scottish Power has been wrongly sending correspondence to Barca Tapas for months.

"It was contacting an old tenant and this is why we had no prior warning of its intention to cut off our supply," he said. "We tried to explain all this but it simply wasn't interested."

Fleming said he understood why there could have been confusion but hit out at Scottish Power for its heavy handed approach.

"Despite its attempts to fob us off by stating that it has been following procedure, its mistakes and complete lack of customer care have cost us thousands of pounds," he said. "The loss of customer loyalty and goodwill is impossible to put a value on of course."

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said the event was "extraordinary".

"While disputes over unpaid bills are quite common, this sort of thing is very unusual and really doesn't show the energy provider in a good light," he said. "It is disgraceful that they would turn off a restaurant's electricity in the middle of service."

A spokesman for Scottish Power told Caterersearch the decision to cut off the power was the result of "many months" of communication.

"When an operator moves into new premises he has the responsibility to provide sufficient documentation to prove that there has been a change of ownership," he said. "Despite a number phone calls, Striped Bass failed to provide the correct documents and continued to pay its bills in the name of the previous occupant."

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By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

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