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Energy costs ‘crippling the future’ of indie pubs

Over half of Britain’s independent pubs, cafes and restaurants say the rising cost of energy is jeopardising their future business with some having their supplies cut off for missing a single payment.

A survey from energy supplier, Utilita Energy, found that 57% of independent pubs, cafes and restaurants feel the rising cost of energy is crippling their future, with almost a third (29%) forced onto a high tariff because they are seen as a credit risk and 50% asked to make large, upfront payments.

Almost half (42%) of the 502 micro businesses surveyed believe they get an unfair deal from energy suppliers and over two thirds (71%) say they have been caught out by unexpected T&Cs such as crippling rates, inflexible payment terms, high deposits and extended contracts. Almost one in ten (7%), meanwhile, have had their energy supplies cut off entirely for missing a payment.

The survey also found that businesses are facing rising energy bills with on average their fuel costs having increased by £215 in the last year.

“A secure, affordable energy supply is vital for these businesses; it literally ‘keeps the lights on’ and the business operating,” said Clare Bailey, independent retail expert and high street campaigner.

“It is clear from the results of the survey undertaken by Utilita that too many of our small businesses feel they are getting a raw deal on prices and how they are treated.”

Utilita has announced plans to move into the commercial sector for the first time with a single tariff, flexible payment package.