We spoke to publican James Skinner of the Rose and Crown whose Energy Renewal quote was shared by the national press and across the media resulting in responses from politicians and commentators.
Just thought I might update you on the latest ‘best’ energy deal available for a pub of our size.— The Rose and Crown (@RoseAndCrownBeb) August 27, 2022
We were paying 15p/unit in May. This is the best quote available today. pic.twitter.com/2r5HmCcKns
Despite recently winning “The Best Pint” in the area awarded by Thwaites Hospitality it is not a time for optimism and excitement at the Rose and Crown. As with many of our local businesses the “Energy Price Crisis” is starting to hit home Contracts with Energy companies are coming to be renewed. It is a scary time as prices are not capped like domestic users.
James explains how the companies, who have announced record profits, have begun to raise the price he pays for the pubs energy use.
Our energy bills so far are 3 times higher than in May of this year. we were paying 13.6p/KWh in our previous contract. When that ended in May, the best price available to us was 37p per unit. Standing charges on our electricity have increased from 14p/day to around 40p/day.
In real terms, it means we have gone from paying around £9000 a year for electricity to over £25000. It’s worth bearing in mind that this is JUST electricity. This does not include gas for hot water or keeping the building warm.
On that front, we were paying 2p/unit. That worked out at £50-60 for a month to heat water for and for central heating. We are a 100% wet pub, so we don’t have a kitchen. Since May of this year we have been paying 11p/KWh, more than 5 times the amount. We’re expecting our winter gas bills to be around £3-400 a month.
“It could quite literally be the difference between closing the pub and staying open. We face a very real danger of not surviving this winter and I know that is a position faced by most small businesses”.Despite winning many awards, James is worried about the future of the Rose and Crown.
Following Covid many pubs and small businesses have already used up any cash reserves they will have built up. There also bounce back loans that need repaying. This is not just an issue facing one business in Bebington. James is already having to contemplate drastic energy saving options, such as, relying on locals to donate firewood. He is also considering only serving cask ales which do not require the refrigeration of drinks such as lager.
Despite comments from Edwina Currie that the word catastrophe is too strong a word, James asks “What could be more catastrophic for the economy than virtually every small business in the country facing the possibility of closure at some point over the course of this winter?”
He finished with a plea for help. “Pubs are vital community assets. This was proven during COVID. places for people to socialise, but more importantly this year, they will actually places for people to go and stay warm. Small businesses need support and they need it immediately.”
As the Cost of Living Crisis rumbles on I am sure the Rose and Crown will not be the first local business which may be contemplating turning off the lights permanently. It is up to all of us to support all of our local businesses otherwise we may find we begin to lose some, if not a majority of them….
The Rose and Crown is supporting the petition here to cap prices for small businesses.
Do you run a local business facing a challenging time with the cost of living crisis? If so get in touch.