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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I opened a cafe, I signed a 5 year lease after one year all

Customer Question

I opened a cafe, I signed a 5 year lease after one year all the offices attached to the shop closed leaving me high and dry, I spoke with the landlord as he was acting agent for offices but no joy I traded for another. 3 years but funds ran out I gave my notice in writing to the landlord which was accepted as he was aware of the situation. ON entering the premises when the lease was signed the electric cables were cut off at floor and ceiling to ensure safety we installed a generator onto the fuse board and isolated the main switch we installed new wiring and ran the shop of the generator until we were ready to open. When we opened we had to disconnectthe generator for safety and had to use mains electric. This is a short history to the business. The legal problems are as follows. When I entered the premises I telephoned several electric supply co. And got prices from 11pence to 14pence per KW and no standing charge the existing supplier wanted 14pence per. KW and £1.25pence per day. They were told that we did not want to purchase. From them and could you please remove your meter to allow me to obtain my electricity from another sauce. They wrote and said the would remove their meter(as it was an old,obsolete meter) before the shop was to open. (This is the start of the problems) the electricity company never turned up and despite make several calls before the shop opened they still did not show which forced me into using their electricity. I continued to phone them and they made arrangement after area game t but never showed. I never paid them for the electricity and told them that I WOULD NOT PAY THEM PRICES. as I could either run the shop off a generator or purchase the electricity cheaper elsewhere. This continued until the shop closed. We are now going to court in about 4 weeks their claim to court is based on 2 separate invoices one is for £2000 and the other is for £4000 the £2000 is the period the shop was open the £4000 is for the period that the shop was closed but to then end of the lease ( the £4000 Bill was used by others who had accessible to the shop from the rest of the building) the landlord is now claiming the lease was still in force even when the shop was closed ( I think that the landLord,does nit want to be paying a £4000 electric bill sed by others in a part of the building he should have had lock up. There is no disputing that I used the electricity on the £2000 bill but this bill is made up as follows £400 electricity used £1600 standing charge which is the reason I wanted to change supplies the second bill for £4000 was used by others, my point in law would be that when I served notice to the landlord,and was accepted if he did not agree he should have wrote back and refuted the notice am I correct in thinking this . The last an most important point is that both invoices are estimated bills there are no final readings how can they quantify an estimated bill. Hope,this not to long and is clear. Many thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help .you with this,
Alex Watts : Are they taking you to a small claim please?
Alex Watts : What is the basis of your defence?
JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

No the county court

JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

My defence is that i used their electricity under duress as they were informed that i did not accept their prices and they never turned up to remove their meter forcing me to use their electricity secondly I did not use the electricity in the second invoice as the shop was closed and as far as I am concerned the lease was surrounded also what will a judge say when he see,s both invoices are only estimated bills

JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

I would also add that by not removing their meter when asked. Is an abuse of a dominant position

Alex Watts : And the basis for their claim is what, breach of contract?
Alex Watts : has it been allocated yet?
JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

Their claim is once I have used their electricity there is a deemed contract under the electricity act 1989 I have to exchange witness statements on 17/04/2015

Alex Watts :

But they have no idea how much you have or have not used?

JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

That is correct the first bill reads as follows date 14/05/07 previous read 504361 C. 08/05/08 current read 507147 A. = 2796 units used on the next line it continues as follows previous read

JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

(Sorry pressed wrong button on computer) previous read 08/05/08 507147A. current read 05/08/11 507148 E = 1 unit used total bill. £2300. the first reading is Mark C this they say was given to them by the landlord (I would point out that the meter was in another part of the building and needed 3sets of keys to get to the meter position and only the landlord had a set of keys) I presume "A" is actual. Although in a letter sent of supposed readings taken by them they have figures of units used of in round figures of 50000 next reading they say they took it was 52000 next reading they took 51000 and other readings of 40000 anywhere up to a variation of 10000 unit although in my opinion they, if they have read the meter have been reading different meters . The second bill reads

JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

Prev. 05/09/11 507148 E. Current 29/12/11 512041 E. =

JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

Through to a final fig on 01/04/12 522264 E. 14/05/12 524519 E = 17371 units used total bill. £4800 the shop closed and key hand back with letter 14/01/11 never heard from the landlord again. You will note the closing date 14/01/11 the second bill is from 05/09/11 to 14/05 12 I assume the final date is when the lease was signed for. Although I cannot officially lay blame on someone I know that the student union has used off all of the building other than the shop but when I moved out they were using it as a private cafe access was via the emergency door system.something I believe the landlord was unaware of.

JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

I only add this information about the students as some one must have been using the electricity after I closed.

Alex Watts :

Do you have evidence of them saying they would remove the meter and telephone calls etc?

Alex Watts :

If they did not remove the meter did you actually use energy?

JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

The electricity co. Sent letter before shop opened giving date for removal of meter they did not turn up ( 98% of letters bills etc were destroyed when shop closed as I had no further use for them) and they say they do not have a record of the letter. the only proof if thats what it is is a copy of the page of my diary when i opened shop it reads. " phone electricity co. And again next day " phone electricity co." This was to remove meter but they say they will deal with it but never came. Your second point that I used their electricity is yes there is no disputing I had to use it as i had 2 choices one. stay closed until they turned up if and when or disconnect the generator and used main electricity for safety reasons I used their electricity under duress. The reason I did not want to purchase their electric was the price quoted 14p per KW. Plus a daily standing charge. The £2000 bill is made up as follows £400 electric used £1600 standing charge other companies were quoting a KW rate and no standing charge I was prepared to pay a fair price for electric but not a standing charge. Its like buying something off the internet for £400. And being told. By the way it £1600 postage .

Alex Watts :

Ok. Well you have a number of things you can defend upon.

Alex Watts :

I dont think you can get away from a bill for ACTUAL energy used. If you used it then you need to pay

Alex Watts :

However in terms of the other costs such as standing charge etc you have a valid defence.

Alex Watts :

They are entitled to charge a reasonable fee for reasonable work done.

Alex Watts :

Given that they are charging more than anyone else, you can argue its not a fair fee for the energy used.

Alex Watts :

As for the meter standing charges you can defend it on the basis that they agreed to remove it and did not.

Alex Watts :

In this case they are in breach of Section 13 of the Sale and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 by failing to act with all reasonable skill and care.

Alex Watts :

Therefore you can defend it on the basis above.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

I would point out that i made an offer (without prejudice) of what I though was a fair offer on what i think I actually used ,and that being. £750 but their solicitor did not acknowledge the offer. What about on a point of law the bills are estimated and cannot quantify what they are claiming. PS if you are busy we can leave it for now.

Alex Watts :

Ok - the offer can't be disclosed until AFTER the Judge has ruled.

Alex Watts :

I agree, if you raised the bills are estimated they will need to prove to the Court you actually USED that energy

Alex Watts :

How can they bill for something that they do not know you have used?

JACUSTOMER-w4wm6b2e- :

Dear Alex I have given this service a poor rating there is nothing personal to you but you have told me nothing I did not know I was looking for legal assistance on points of law. to assist me but there was nothing

Alex Watts :

You have rated BAD SERVICE?

Alex Watts :

This affects my rating on the site compared to other professionals.

Alex Watts :

I have pointed out the law to you, ie elements of contract, estimated billing and the Sale and Supply of Goods and Services Act. I have also said they are entitled to only charge a reasonable fee for reasonable work done as per the act.

Alex Watts :

What other points of law, despite those above, are you after?

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