A HARTLEPOOL business is celebrating after defeating one of the country’s biggest energy firms in a dispute over a £34,000
Family firm The Dunston Partnership was taken to court by npower over the electricity bill for The Golden Lion pub, in Dunston Road.
Pub managers were landed with the huge bill after a mistake by npower’s meter reading.
It rose to more than £50,000 after four years of trying to resolve the issue.
But the pub owners were celebrating after a judge rejected the bill after a day-long hearing at Birmingham County Court.
The business was also awarded legal costs it had to pay to fight the case, which came to around £12,000.
Leo Gillen, a partner in The Dunston Partnership, said: “We are absolutely delighted.
“If we had lost we would have had to pay the bill, their costs and our own costs which would have been around £85,000.
“Utility companies are the new banks now. npower should be ashamed.”
The row started after The Dunston Partnership decided to switch its suppliers at The Golden Lion from npower to e-on.
Several months later in 2009 it received the bill for £34,000 for underpayment from npower.
The energy company said mistakes in its meter reading meant the pub was undercharged.
But The Dunston Partnership said it was unfair to be presented with the bill after so long and for something that was not its fault.
It also claimed npower realised its mistake as early as 2006 but failed to do anything about it.
Mr Gillen added: “You can’t bill incorrectly and come back years later and give someone a bill for £34,000.”
An npower spokesman said: “We were disappointed with the result against The Golden Lion. We’re sorry that there was an error with the meter readings provided but, it’s also important to point out that customers are responsible for paying for the energy they have consumed.
“We’d ask all customers to check their bills and meter readings and, if they have any concerns, they contact us directly so we can talk to them about these.”