A MAMMOTH £45,000 gas bill has left a Post Office owner stunned.
Ismail Patel, postmaster at Batley Carr Post Office and NisaLocal store, has been locked in a dispute with energy supplier British Gas since 2008.
Late last year he received his first bill in four years, requesting immediate payment of £18,000.
Four months later British Gas said there had been a mistake – the actual figure he owed was more like £45,000.
Mr Patel, who has owned the post office for four years, said he was still in a state of shock over the bill.
“I’ve been making regular payments based on what I thought the supply would cost, even without the bills,” he said.
“This has caused a big problem for me, financially. I can’t pay that amount.”
Before March, the last bill Mr Patel received from British Gas was in March 2008 for £96.
In July last year he received his first alarming bill, after several requests for it to be sent out.
In an internal British Gas log, a member of staff said the £18,000 figure was ‘fictitious’. This log was later released to Mr Patel and has been seen by the Reporter.
In November Mr Patel was sent another bill, this time for £43,520.
He has employed energy brokers InEnergy Limited to act on his behalf with British Gas.
InEnergy’s business development director Ian Thompson said he would be working to get British Gas to accept their errors in Mr Patel’s account and offer a substantial reimbursement.
He explained Mr Patel could take his case to the energy ombudsman, but a successful outcome would only take a maximum of £5,000 off the debt.
A spokeswoman for British Gas, said the supplier was looking into Mr Patel’s case as a matter of urgency to reach a mutually acceptable arrangement.