Almost half of sector refused new energy quotes

Pubs and bars are being refused new/revised quotes by an energy suppliers.

A snap survey of UKHospitality members has shown that almost half (41%) have been refused a new/revised quote by an energy supplier for the sole reason of operating within hospitality.

With 1 April marking the start of the Energy Bill Discount Scheme, which replaces the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, pubs, bars and the rest of the hospitality sector is still facing costs of £7.3bn in increased energy bills. Without meaningful action to rein in some profiteering energy suppliers, the industry is expected to see thousands of venues go out of business.

Energy costs show no sign of relenting, with costs now accounting for 11.4% of business turnover, up from 3.4% before the crisis.

"The energy crisis has suffocated businesses over the past year, causing thousands to fail and forcing many more to take drastic measures to afford extortionate energy bills," says UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls. "A £12bn increase in energy costs in a year is almost incomprehensible and, frankly, unsustainable for much longer. The transition to a continued, but significantly reduced, energy support scheme does not provide much comfort for anyone, especially with the £7.3bn price tag it comes with.

"It’s clear to everyone that a driver of these rocketing costs has been some suppliers that have seen this crisis as an opportunity to boost their bottom line at the expense of hard-working hospitality venues."

Decisive action

Nicholls says that Ofgem (The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) has recognised this but has been unable to yet take decisive action. Its current plans to ‘consult on suggested actions’ in the summer, Nicholls says, is not at the speed the sector needs.

"It needs to move much, much quicker to rein in these suppliers," she says. "If Ofgem doesn’t feel it has the teeth to grip hold of this problem, the government needs to step in immediately to sanction those energy suppliers or immediately give further powers to the regulator."

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