Landlady of Old House on Sheppey landed with £17k bill
Beverley Auston outside
the Old House pub
A landlady fears she will have to close her historic pub after
being hit with a whopping £17,000 electricity bill by bungling
Shocked Beverley Auston, 56, was told the supplier had been
undercharging her for three years.
She is now desperately trying to find the money to keep open the
Old House pub on Sheppey.
Beverley switched to the energy giant in August 2009 after
requesting a more efficient way to manage the pub’s energy.
They installed three new meters for separate day, evening and
overnight rates and delighted Beverley found her monthly bills drop
from £450 to just £150.
She claims that when she quizzed Npower about the price drop she
was told there was no mistake.
"She is worried sick, she feels ill and she is not sleeping. It is like she is getting pushed out and she doesn't know how to deal with all this" – Nick Auston, after his mum was hit with a £17k electricity bill
She also says that
during the three-year period an engineer from the company read the
meter and confirmed it was correct.
But last August she had a letter from Npower saying an error had
been made with her billing and had to pay £17,000 or be
After some negotiation the company offered her discount of
£1,600, but a final agreement could still not be reached.
Beverley now plans to contact the energy services’ Ombudsman and
is also instructing her solicitor to fight the matter in court.
She said: "It has had a knock-on effect because my business
readings have been out for three years."
Her son Nick Auston, 34, an interior designer, said: "It is
wrong that they can do this. It is an old pub that has been on the
island for hundreds of years.
"They are now telling us that they are going to come in and just
turn off the power and they know that the business will have to
"She is worried sick, she feels ill and she is not sleeping. It
is like she is getting pushed out and she doesn't know how to deal
with all this."
An Npower spokesman said: "Timely and accurate billing is
extremely important to us, and we would once again like to offer
our sincere apologies for the problems Mrs Auston and her son have
experienced on this occasion.
"We are now simply seeking to recover payment for a proportion
of the energy we have already purchased and supplied to their
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