Closed Swaledale pub unsure of reopening date amid energy supplier dispute

The Farmers Arms in Muker.

The landlords of a closed Swaledale pub say they are unsure when they will reopen due to a dispute with their energy supplier.

The Farmers Arms in Muker closed last year after saying they were having difficulties getting staff.

The pub, which is owned by former rugby league star Andy Gascoigne, has also been put up for sale with an asking price of £495,000.

In an update on its Facebook page, the pub has this week revealed it is dispute with energy supplier Maxen Power, which it has accused of holding the business “to ransom”.

The post states that the supplier has increased its prices up to five times times since they signed a three-year contract in October 2020 and wont allow the pub to cancel, despite this being allowed under the terms and conditions.

The pub says the industry ombudsmen has ruled that the pub should be able to cancel, but Maxen keep sending bills.

The pub’s landlords also claim they were charged £1,500 for energy for December even though the pub was shut and the power turned off.

They added: “We can’t operate a business without knowing what our running costs are this week – 80p Kwh, next week what? £1.00? £1,50?

“If they can change the price any day of the week and we can’t cancel, then what do we do?

“Our terms of the contract are clear. Cancellation using any forms of communication without penalties, but they ignore all forms of communication.”

Asked by a customer when they might reopen,they replied: “We simply don’t know just yet. We need some help from outside. (It) wouldn’t take much to get the pub open, it’s ready to go.”

Richmondshire Today ahs contacted Maxen Power but has not yet had a response.

Energy industry regulator Ofgem said in a statement: “We’re working hard to increase our monitoring across the non-domestic market, carrying out a compliance review to investigate high prices for non-domestic customers, and driving up quality and standards across the market.

“We are aware of problems for some businesses getting fixed rate energy deals due to high prices or requests for large deposits from some suppliers.

“Ofgem is working closely with government and stakeholders to determine if further action or assistance is needed to help non-domestic consumers.”