By Denis Sheehan MIH: BII write to Ofgem demanding action to save the life of British Pubs.
The British Institute of Innkeeping has today written an open letter to Ofgem, demanding urgent action to tackle energy suppliers who are crippling fragile pub businesses across the whole of the UK. The letter is below in full.
Following the letter Steve Alton, CEO of the BII told us: “Our members, independently running pubs in all communities, are in many cases days away from business failure, as a direct result of the unfair and unviable energy costs they are facing. These otherwise successful and essential community hubs are being forced to the brink of bankruptcy by energy suppliers, who are quite simply profiteering from vulnerable small businesses.
“Despite the Government’s initial intention to support pubs with energy bills past April 1st, the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) provides almost no relief to licensees, who will now be paying, in many cases, more than 4 times more than they were in 2021. With wholesale prices falling dramatically in 2023, anyone signing into a new contract now can access prices as low as 30ppkWh, which is in stark contrast to contracted rates in 2022.
“Government’s extension of the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) for domestic users was the right thing to do, protecting vulnerable consumers from the cost of heating their homes and cooking for their families. So many small businesses, but particularly pubs, will have no protection from the end of this month, standing to lose their businesses, family homes and livelihoods.
“Ofgem’s review of the numerous bad supplier practices including failure to pass on the Government support as well as rocketing standing charges, has already taken too long, and any further delays will now result in unnecessary business failures. They must use all of their powers urgently to encourage suppliers to recontract with those businesses who had no option but to sign deals at the peak of energy prices, or face being cut off.
“This is not just an issue of a small business disappearing – there will be a ripple effect on entire communities, losing essential skilled jobs, impacting on local suppliers & brewers, with lost Government taxation and repayment of pandemic specific debts.”
Last month, Centrica, the company that owns British Gas, reported record profits for the 2022 financial year. Operating profits of £3.3bn were up from £948m in 2021, surpassing the firm’s previous highest ever yearly profit of £2.7bn, posted in 2012.