Dudley dairy firm owner with electric milk floats says 'going diesel will be cheaper'

ITV Central reporter Pablo Taylor reports on the effect of the rising cost of electricity on a dairy business in Dudley.

A dairy business in the Black Country says it is now counting the cost of using electric milk floats as the wholesale cost of energy continues to rise.

Andrew Brigstock's firm in Dudley delivers milk to around 4,000 customers.

His firm uses 15 milk floats, all of which have recently been fitted with new electric engines.

Until recently, they had been saving the business money, but with the wholesale cost of energy continuing to rise, they’re now becoming a drain on finance, with the firm’s monthly electricity bill rising from £4,000 to £16,000.

Why is the cost of electricity going up?

Much of the UK's electricity is made using natural gas, which has skyrocketed since the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Therefore, if the price of gas goes up, so too does the price of electricity.

Market rules mean that even electricity that's generated from renewable sources is priced as if it was produced by gas.

The huge rise in electricity costs means Mr Brigstock has been forced to make his milk more expensive.

For many of his loyal customers, the increase has been too much.

Mr Brigstock said: "I've had old people crying on the phone because they've got to cancel their deliveries or cut down their deliveries because they just can't afford it with the other increases.

"We've had customers that we've delivered to for 35 years and they're devastated, absolutely devastated - but it's unavoidable.

"There's not much more we can do."

With costs too high to employ new staff, Andrew is now heavily reliant on the help of his 79-year-old dad, Malcolm, who started the business.

Having built up a customer base of more than 4,000 from scratch, Malcolm is now determined to save the business he started 50 years ago.

"Some of my customers are third generation - where I've served their mothers, their children and now their grandchildren and it's just been my life."

Brigstock Dairies will benefit from the government's energy price cap.

However both Andrew and Malcolm say they're expecting further energy price rises in the future and will now look to adapt their business to cope.