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24th March 2021

Energy companies are refusing to supply pubs

BBPA heaps pressure on Ofgem to do do the right thing” and hold to account providers who refuse to supply energy to families living in pubs

The British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today called out the energy sector, which it says is refusing to supply many pubs with energy.

The trade association said a number of pubs across the UK had experienced poor commercial behaviour whereby some utility companies were refusing to renew contracts or simply to supply energy to them, even where such supply includes domestic use.

The BBPA also said that where new contracts are being negotiated, they typically remain subject to punitive, out of contract rates with renegotiations lasting for weeks or months.

The BBPA says the actions of these energy suppliers means they are failing in their obligations established under Ofgem, the energy regulator, by refusing to supply domestic energy to hospitality sites like pubs which also have people living in them. In thousands of pubs across the UK, it is quite typical for the landlord or landlady that runs the pub to also live in it with family.

Following a meeting offered to the trade association by Ofgem, whilst it is pleased the regulator has agreed to further investigate the issues reported, the BBPA says it remains concerned that publicans seeking to renew or secure energy contracts will continue to experience refusals to supply, or be forced to pay inflated fees during this process, increasing their risk and reducing their options in terms of securing competitive rates for energy supply.

The BBPA is now urging Ofgem and energy suppliers to work with the beer and pub sector to find a long-term solution to bring confidence back to supplying the sector. The BBPA is also urging publicans to share examples of unfair practices directly with Ofgem at:

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“Publicans have already suffered enough through this pandemic. The last thing they need is energy companies refusing to supply them or renew contracts.

“The regulations are clear that energy suppliers are obliged to provide domestic energy to a pub when it is lived in. Considering so many families live in pubs, Ofgem must really do the right thing and ensure these unfair behaviour is ended.

“It’s time for energy companies to show support for the sector through fair dealing.”

Chris Jowsey, Chief Executive of Admiral Taverns, a UK pub operating business, said:

“Ofgem have been keen to hear about the experiences of licensees and explain the work they are doing with supply. However, I was disappointed in Ofgem’s and the Energy Minister’s unwillingness to tackle the poor commercial behaviour demonstrated by many utility companies towards small hospitality businesses. Many pubs are also the family home, and refusing to supply energy to families already hit hard by the pandemic is simply unacceptable.”


Press release from BBPA