Kent cafe owner facing £100,000 energy bill as government confirms price cap rise

  • Report by ITV Meridian's Joe Coshan

The owner of a cafe in Kent has revealed his energy bill could skyrocket as much as six times for the next year.

Chris Vidler has been operating The Lane in South Street in Deal for eight years. He's told ITV Meridian his energy provider's latest quote would cost him a staggering £100,000 a year.

It comes as regulator Ofgem announced on Friday the energy price cap will increase by more than 80% to £3,549 from October 1, but there is no cap for businesses.

That means suppliers are able to increase their out-of-contract rates by as much as they choose in order to cover their own costs.

Chris described the news as yet another blow. "We're suffering at home as it is, but the business is what is suffering the most.

"I can't afford to pay those kinds of rates, especially if it's for a year, two years, three years.

  • Cafe owner Chris Vidler says there should be a price cap introduced for businesses.

"We don't want to close the business, it's the last thing we want to do. We've put so much effort in, and we have been here for eight years, and we want to keep our 25 staff employed - they've all got bills to pay.

"We lose sleep over this every single day.

"It's the thought that doesn't leave our minds at any point.

"We struggled with the electric monthly bill as it was, and to go up from £1,500 to £6,000 is just insane. I've not even looked at the gas bills yet."

If the cafe was to pass the increasing expenses to customers, the cost of a latte would increase from £2.90 to £18.70.

Chris said with the quote he received from his supplier last week, he worked out his electricity bill alone would be around £69,800 based on last year's usage, which is a stark rise from the current £11,500 bill.

While his gas tariff would climb to £30,000 from £4,000 a year.

"If I sign the contract, it's business suicide", he said.

Chris is calling on politicians to step in to help, so there is a cap on business rates as well as for homes.

"If it comes to it, we may have to shut on certain days and certain hours. But we still have salaries to pay even if we're shutting", Chris said.

"The situation is really terrible."

The federation of small businesses is calling on the government to reduce VAT rates.

A government spokesperson said: "We understand that people are struggling with rising prices.

"While we can't shield everyone from the global challenges we face, we're supporting British businesses to navigate the months ahead."