A Dundee businesswoman has slammed her energy supplier for increasing prices despite the firm signing a fixed-rate contract.
Jenni Liandu runs The Calligraphy Box, based at Prospect House Business Centre, with her husband Mo.
The business produces boxes for subscribers on a monthly basis to allow them to hone their calligraphy skills.
Calligraphy is the art of producing decorative handwriting or lettering.
Ms Liandu has been running her own businesses in the field for nearly a decade.
‘We agreed a fixed contract’
She said the couple signed the business to a fixed term contract with BES Utilities in February this year.
Then last month, she says they were contacted by the energy provider to say their prices would be increased.
Ms Liandu, who is five months pregnant, believes that is unfair.
“We moved in to our studio last December, and we agreed a fixed contract with them in February.
“It’s a three-year fixed contract at a price we were happy with at the time – it was about 32p per kWh.”
The Dundee businesswoman said the couple then received an email last month saying that because of the energy crisis, their energy prices would be almost doubled.
“We weren’t happy and we looked at the contract.
“There’s nothing in the contract itself about changing the price, but there is a line in the terms and conditions.
“It says they can change the price if they want to, basically, even though it’s a fixed contract.
“We were told if we weren’t happy we could leave the contract.”
Dundee firm in a ‘horrendous’ position
Ms Liandu said she has been in contact with the company about government assistance, but claims BES has told her the business would not be eligible.
The energy provider has denied ever telling Ms Liandu she would not be eligible for support.
Ms Liandu said her business has been put in a “horrendous” position and she is caught “between a rock and a hard place”.
“They are twisting the contract to their benefit and to the detriment of the business,” she added.
‘Unprecedented rise’ in energy prices, says provider
A spokesperson for BES said: “The terms and conditions of Ms Liandu’s supply contract do contain provision for the prices to change (up or down) in the event of certain circumstances.”
The spokesperson confirmed that clause has been invoked “due to the well-publicised and unprecedented rise in the cost of wholesale energy.”
The statement added: “We recognise the impact of these increased costs and as a gesture of goodwill we are allowing Mrs Liandu the opportunity to terminate her contract, should she wish.
“We understand the rising cost of energy is a cause for concern for our business customers, and we are doing all we can to support them at this challenging time.
“We’re working closely with the government to finalise how its business energy bill relief scheme will work in practice.
It said it will pass through the support to eligible customers as soon as possible.
The firm said it regrets that Ms Liandu “remains unahppy” and has issued a deadlock letter.
That will enable her to approach the energy ombudsman for an independent review.