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Hotelier puts expansion on hold after receiving huge, unexpected electricity bill

18 December 2008

A South Devon hotel owner has been forced to put expansion plans on hold after receiving a series of massive bills from energy company EDF.

Keith Makepeace, owner of the four-star, two-rosette Soar Mill Cove hotel near Kingsbridge, says since the summer the hotel has received bills varying from £67,000 to £124,000.

He said: "This is amazingly incompetent by EDF. It means that plans to upgrade our rooms are all having to be put on hold why we try and sort it out.

"If we owe anything at all it is a fraction of that amount. But at a time like this it is very worrying to be getting these sort of demands."

Makepeace says the problem arose initially from an incorrect meter reading several years ago.

"This has been made worse by irregular meter readings by EDF. Because we are a business we have different bills and different meters but we never see the same meter reader twice so none of them get to know how our system works.

"I would certainly advise other hoteliers, whatever you do never rely on estimates.

"I have now got my local MP on the case. But every time we contact EDF they come back with a different amount they say we owe and a different repayment plan. It we ran our business the they do we would not stay open for five minutes.

An EDF spokesman said the company apologised over any misunderstandings and said that the problem had arisen due to readings being estimated.

UK hoteliers must look for creative ways to cut costs >>
Businesses wasting thousands of pounds through poor energy efficiency >>
Hotel forced to close after being hit with £35,000 gas bill >>

By Andrew Smith

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