Electricity shut off at business park after owner refuses to pay whopping energy bill
PUBLISHED: 10:25 09 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:33 09 March 2019
More than a dozen firms based on a rural business park are having to rely on generators because of an unpaid power bill, which could be as high as £370,000.
EDF Energy cut off power to the Tattersett Business Park, near Fakenham, on Wednesday, because the site’s owner, Roger Gawn, refused to pay the bill.
Businesses at the park include some which lease from Mr Gawn’s company, and a number of other freeholders who own their sites, but have their energy supplied by Mr Gawn. Mr Gawn said some of the freeholders had not paid him for years, which is why he had opted to stop paying the power company.
Jan Kelly, office manager at Clean and Coat home improvements, one of the freeholders at the park, said they had spent £11,000 on having a generator installed and several thousand more on diesel.
She said: “Obviously we can’t run a business without electric. It was frustrating trying to find a generator but now it’s all running fine. We had to pay for electricians to come out. It’s money you don’t really need to spend. [Staff] had to install diesel tanks when they could have been working.”
Staff said they believed the bill owed to EDF was as high as £370,000.
Derek Hill, joint owner of Axes and Escapes axe throwing and escape rooms, also on the site, said they had been “seriously affected”.
He said: “We’ve had to cut our opening hours by half during the week - we were open 10am to 10pm but now it’s 5pm to 10pm. We have paid our bills on time but now we are being penalised.
“We don’t know how long this will go on for.”
Mr Gawn took over the park, which is based on the former RAF Sculthorpe aerodrome, 10 years ago. He said some of the freeholders had not paid his management company in years, and the ball was now in their court.
He said his company had supplied generators to the firms that were leasing.
Mr Gawn said: “I have left it to the freehold owners to get together and come to me with their proposition and then we can move forward but in the meantime I’m not doing anything. Why should I?
“There comes a point when you can’t carry on. You can’t have stuff for nothing.”
Another business owner, who did not want to be identified, said: “They could’ve sorted it out another way. We are struggling. But we can’t do anything else. We are British, will carry on.”
EDF has also been contacted for a comment.