Cafe owner shocked to receive €10k energy bill for two months

Cafe's electricity bills increased by 250% in just 12 months

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31 August 2022 | 0

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The owner of a small coffee shop in the centre of Athlone has expressed her shock to discover she had been charged almost €10,000 for just over two months of energy usage.

The Irish Times reports that owner Geraldine Dolan realised the cost of electricity to her Poppyfields cafe for 73 days from early June until the end of August came in at €9,024.70. This is an increase of 250% in just 12 months, and doesn’t include the €812.22 increase in VAT, which brought her total bill to €9,836.92.

As a result, Geraldine Dolan has been left concerned about whether she will be able to continue running the business she has owned for the last 16 years as prices continue to rise.

Dolan switched from Bord Gáis Energy to Iberdrola, a Spanish-based energy provider at the end of last year.

However, Iberdrola left the Irish market earlier this year, amidst challenging market conditions in the face of rising energy prices.

The cafe was automatically switched to Electric Ireland — the supplier of last resort if a company pulls out of the Irish market at short notice. Dolan subsequently lost the switching discount she had been offered by Iberdrola.

She transferred on to the standard unit rate charged by Electric Ireland and under current market rules, had no option to switch providers until the start of September at the earliest.

“We have gone from paying a daily rate of €34 last year to paying €123 per day now,” she said. “When those figures are spread the cost of a year it means an annual electricity bill which would have been around €12,000 is now going to be around €45,000. There is no way we will be able to cope with that. We will pay this bill because we have used the electricity but we would not be able to pay at that level every two months.”

Neil McDonnell of small and medium businesses umbrella group Isme said Ms Dolan’s experience was one which many businesses all over the country were living through with some seeing energy price increase of well in excess of 300%.

Retail groups CSNA and RGDATA have also been outspoken in their calls for retailers to receive relief to enable their businesses to survive rising energy costs.

 

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