Cafe Rene in war against 'systematic robbery' by energy giants
BUSINESSMEN in Gloucester have been left fuming after their case to reclaim almost £40,000 in energy bills failed in court.
Café Réné partners Paul Soden and Jonathan Hill claimed they had been overcharged by £38,000 by nPower over a three-year period.
They said their energy rates almost doubled overnight in February 2008.
But nPower hit back, insisting they had been undercharging Café Réné, in Southgate Street, for electricity by around 40 per cent for five years and were merely switching them back on to the correct tariff.
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Taking their case to court has cost Paul and Jon almost £60,000 in legal fees.
Paul has vowed to continue his fight to have his costs repaid, and is urging other businesses to join his campaign for fair power prices.
“I am incensed by the systematic robbery of small businesses by the energy giants,” he said. “The way they work is a joke. No one has ever, as far as we can establish, been as far as court to try to expose this vital energy commodity casino system.
“The likelihood is that thousands of other businesses across the UK have been victims to these techniques over many years, which could amount to very large sums of money.”
They have now started a website to campaign for fair energy prices.
Jon said: “We didn’t look for the fight but we cannot walk away because this is in the public interest. A stand has to be taken.
“The legal costs so far have been punishing.
“I believe this is a landmark case.
“We have only just begun to make our stand and we will take this as far and for as long as we can to see justice is done.
“Only in the energy industry does this system of continual confusion and exorbitant overnight rate increases exist.
“We are determined to prove our point of principle is right.”
nPower has insisted it is not at fault and that the business partners have not lost out financially.
A spokesman for the energy company said: “We’re absolutely not at fault here.
“Mr Soden took over ownership of the premises in April 2003 but didn’t tell us until July 2004.
“Mr Soden has actually benefited from much lower rates, around 40 per cent, for five years so he has not been financially disadvantaged.
“The court dismissed his application as they too could clearly see we were not at fault.”
If you have experienced difficulties with energy companies over complicated price tariffs, join their campaign online at Fairpower4all.com