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Pub forced to shut after energy bill soars £58,000 a year amid cost of living crisis

The Fontmell, in Fontmell Magna, Dorset, has been forced to close after their energy bills skyrocketed by £58,000. (Google)

A pub has been forced to close its doors after the landlord was told its energy bills would rise by £58,000.

The Fontmell, in Fontmell Magna, Dorset, has been running for several generations, offering six bedrooms, a bar and a restaurant.

Unlike household bills, businesses' energy costs are calculated without a regulated energy price cap, with some pub owners warning that their bills have quadrupled or are struggling to even find suppliers willing to power their venues when contracts come up for renewal.

In the case of The Fontmell, their gas and electric alone will be going up by £58,000 a year - without including the increases of food and beverage costs and laundry services.

Owner John Crompton, 47, has run the pub for the past six-and-a-half years, but said due to the prices of energy, they are no longer able to pass that cost onto their guests.

It also means the 22 members of staff have been made redundant.

In a post on social media he said: "It is with a heavy heart and great regret to say that The Fontmell will close with immediate effect other than to honour the bed and breakfast bookings that we already have.

"This is not a decision that has been made lightly and we would like to thank all our guests for their support and help over the last 6 and a half years.

Read more: Food banks warn surge in demand will prevent feeding hungriest this winter

The owner made the sad announcement on social media (Facebook)

"Supplier prices have increased to such a point that we are no longer able to pass that cost onto our guests.

"Our utilities alone have increased by an extra £58,000 per year.

"Until further notice and subject to the above proviso as regards current bookings, the building will remain closed."

Crompton also told Dorset Live: “We have been paying £1,800 to £2,000 a month for our electricity which is weather dependant. The renewal quote is £72,000 and that starts from the beginning of September.

Watch: Millions of Brits face fuel poverty as energy bills rocket

"It goes up to £5,000 a month. Our gas has gone from £8,000 per year to £16,000. Those two elements of our business alone add up to £58,000 of extra costs per year. Our laundry has tripled in price for rooms, food and beverage costs have increased significantly.

“Everything has gone up. We have never made a massive profit and we cannot swallow it and run a business on those prices – it’s just impossible.”

Pub industry bosses have warned the sector could be heavily hit by rising energy bills.

Read more: Price cap experts cut forecasts as wholesale costs fall, but warn worse to come

File photo dated 29/01/21 of chains securing the doors of a closed Fuller's pub in London. Pubs and brewers across the UK are at risk of closure within months amid price hikes upwards of 300%, industry bosses have warned. Issue date: Tuesday August 30, 2022.
Pubs and brewers across the UK are at risk of closing thanks to cost of living crisis, industry bosses have warned. (PA) (PA)

On Tuesday, bosses at six of the UK's largest pubs and brewing companies have signed an open letter to urge the government to take action.

Greene King, JW Lees, Carlsberg Marston’s, Admiral Taverns, Drake & Morgan and St Austell Brewery have all sounded alarm bells at the state of the industry as costs to run it skyrocket.

William Lees Jones, managing director of the JW Lees pub group, said: "We have publicans who are experiencing 300% plus increases in energy costs and some energy companies are refusing to even quote for supply.

"In some instances, tenants are giving us notice since their businesses do not stack up with energy at these costs.

"These are not just pubs but people’s homes and the hearts of the communities that they sit in.

"Government needs to extend the energy cap to business as well as households.”

On Friday, regulator Ofgem confirmed that bills for an average UK household would surge by 80% in October when the new price cap comes into force.