Community hall faces closure as bills quadruple

A community hall faces closure after its bills quadrupled following the installation of solar panels.

Credenhill Community Hall had installed the panels, which cost £20,000, in order to reduce costs.

Energy provider SSE said it was working with the hall to help find ways to reduce its bill.

Paul Oliver, the secretary of the hall, said: "With these huge payments coming out we just can't survive anymore, all the money made here is volunteer raised and it has happened because of something that isn't our fault."

Mr Oliver claimed SSE had admitted it had been charging for energy created rather than energy use.

The hall said it had not received a refund and was still being charged.

"Last year the average amount of electricity used was about £120 a month, suddenly when we had these solar panels put on we had a bill for £5,000 for one quarter," Mr Oliver said.

"They said they'd put in a new smart meter but if they have it has made no difference because the next bill was for £2,000 which is four times the amount we had previously been charged,"he added.

'Huge problems'

Credenhill Community Hall has served the community for 50 years providing a cafe, social and sports club run by volunteers.

Without the hall Mr Oliver said programmes that had been in the community for years were at risk and the knock on effect that would have would be heartbreaking.

"People come here and it's a huge community effort and without the hall here people will be in huge problems."

SSE Energy said it was working with Credenhill to "look at ways they can reduce their bills, including whether they are eligible for some form of VAT relief."

A spokesperson added: "The consumption meter is only measuring the electricity that is used by the Community Hall when the solar panels are not generating power."

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