A FAMILY business will fight one of the country’s biggest energy suppliers in court over a disputed £34,000 electricity bill.
Hartlepool businessman Leo Gillen has been involved in a long-running dispute with npower over the bill for The Golden Lion pub, in Dunston Road.
The Dunston Partnership, which Mr Gillen is a partner of, was landed with a bill for £34,000 from npower nine months after the pub switched its supplier to e-on.
Problems with npower’s meter reader, Meter Plus, led to the pub being undercharged for its electricity.
Mr Gillen insists npower realised its mistake in 2006 but did not do anything about it until three years later after the pub had changed its supplier.
The bill, with interest, has now risen to more than £50,000 and after four years of trying to resolve the issue, the case will be heard at Birmingham County Court on Friday.
Mr Gillen said: “The misreads were no fault of ours. The debt with penal interest rates is now racked up to over £50,000 and is obviously a serious issue to a relatively small family business of a gastropub.
“Our issue is that we paid every single bill presented, and only left npower for a cheaper price.
“How can any 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 next time they come in.”
The Golden Lion was built in 2005 and originally signed up with npower before switching to e-on in 2008.
npower declined to comment on the situation.