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Hartlepool business heads to court over electricity bill dispute
A FAMILY business is taking on the power of the energy supplier NPower in a dispute over its electricity bill for one of its North-East pubs.
Leo Gillen, a partner with the Dunston Partnership which runs The Golden Lion in Hartlepool, has spent almost four years trying to resolve the problem after receiving a bill for £34,000 nine months after changing energy supplier.
The company will be appearing in Birmingham County Court on Friday (October 11) despite attempting to broker a deal with NPower.
Problems with the meter reading at the pub on Dunston Road, first came to light when the company was still an Npower customer.
However, another electricity bill came demanding the money after the company had transferred to new a energy supplier.
Mr Gillen said: “In 2008 we put our electricity out to tender and changed to Eon. Nine months later Npower hit us with a bill for £34,000 in underpayment. We objected to this as the meter had been read regularly during this period, we had also telephoned in readings.
“This matter has gone legal and we will be in Birmingham court on Friday (Ocotober 11). When we received their court papers it has transpired that their meter reader MeterPlus had misread the meter, MeterPlus is also owned by Npower.
“The mis-reads were no fault of ours. Npower made a series of mistakes subsequently, including correspondence with the ombudsman and reneging on dealings in a without prejudice business meeting to rectify the debt.”
The company has been willing to make an offer for the outstanding debt but believe their pleas have been ignored.
He added: “Our issue is that we paid every bill presented and only left Npower for a cheaper price. How can a small business set its prices when a national utility can go back three years and rebill when they have made a mistake. If we get our pricing wrong we can’t ask our customers to pay up next time they come in.”
NPower was yesterday unavailable for comment.
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