“I am in shock. After working hard for the last two years to keep the business alive it feels like a kick in the teeth”
Geraldine Dolan, who runs the Poppy Fields Café and restaurant in Athlone, said she was stunned by the size of the bill.
The bumper bill comes after she spent two years struggling through lockdowns to keep her business afloat.
“I am in shock. After working hard for the last two years to keep the business alive it feels like a kick in the teeth,” she said.
Her business account had been with Spanish company Iberdrola which pulled out of the electricity supply business here in June.
This meant her account was automatically shifted to Electric Ireland.
The bill is for the period of July 8 to August 19 is €9,836. Some €812 of the bill is made up of Vat.
This is a slightly longer period than normal due to the fact that the regulator automatically shifted the Iberdrola accounts to Electric Ireland.
“I don’t know how I am going to cope. A cost like that is just bananas.”
She said she has a consultant who helps her switch providers regularly to ensure the business gets the best rate, and the café’s account only moved to Iberdrola in October.
And she has been told she can’t move again until next month.
Ms Dolan said her annual electricity bill for the café was €12,700 in 2021, excluding Vat.
But based on the latest bill she faces having to fork out €45,000, excluding Vat, for a year.
There are 11 staff, some part time, working in the café and it opens six days a week.
The café also uses gas but the oven is electric.
“We had a great summer and we pay good wages. I would like to be able to reward the staff, but now there is a €10,000 bill to be paid, and that is for the summer.”
She said the business was just recovering after being forced to close due to Covid.
The catering operation was forced into lockdown just a week after completing a big refurbishment.
Commenting on the bumper bill, Ms Dolan said: “A lot of businesses are in the same position. There is no way it can continue like this.”
She said she had contacted Electric Ireland about the size of the bill, but got no response.