Energy companies refusing to supply pubs

25 March 2021 by
Energy companies refusing to supply pubs

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has called out the energy sector, which it says is refusing to supply pubs.

The trade association said some pubs across the UK had experienced utility companies refusing to renew contracts or simply to supply energy to them, even where such supply included domestic use.

The BBPA also said that where new contracts were being negotiated, they remained subject to punitive, out of contract rates with renegotiations lasting for weeks or months.

The group said the actions of these suppliers meant they were failing in their obligations established under Ofgem, the energy regulator, by refusing to supply domestic energy to hospitality sites like pubs, which also have people living in them.

Following a meeting with Ofgem, the regulator has agreed to investigate the issues reported, however the BBPA said it remained concerned that publicans seeking to renew or secure energy contracts will continue to experience refusals or be forced to pay inflated fees during this process, increasing their risk and reducing their options in terms of securing competitive rates for energy supply.

The BBPA has urged publicans to share examples of unfair practices directly with Ofgem.

The Catererreported last year that hospitality businesses were being turned down by British Gas as industry customers were considered "too high risk".

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: "Publicans have already suffered enough through this pandemic. The last thing they need is energy companies refusing to supply them or renew contracts.

"The regulations are clear that energy suppliers are obliged to provide domestic energy to a pub when it is lived in. Considering so many families live in pubs, Ofgem must really do the right thing and ensure this unfair behaviour is ended. It's time for energy companies to show support for the sector through fair dealing."

Chris Jowsey, chief executive of pub operator Admiral Taverns, said: "Ofgem have been keen to hear about the experiences of licensees and explain the work they are doing with supply. However, I was disappointed in Ofgem's and the Energy Minister's unwillingness to tackle the poor commercial behaviour demonstrated by many utility companies towards small hospitality businesses. Many pubs are also the family home, and refusing to supply energy to families already hit hard by the pandemic is simply unacceptable."

Photo: Shutterstock

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