The owner of two Italian restaurants in Eastbourne has launched a petition and campaign to stop businesses and domestic customers being cut off when they are in dispute with energy supplier EDF.
Mo Manfredi, who owns Mo Mambo in Seaside Road and Mo Mambo Mania in Terminus Road, says he has been left deeply distressed at his treatment by EDF and has accused them of using “heavy handed tactics” and threatening to cut his power supply off in a dispute over his electricity bills which ran into thousands of pounds.
Mr Manfredi said his complaint began in 2008 when he claims EDF failed to obtain a first reading when he took over the business premises but a direct debit payment was set up based on estimated electric use.
When EDF took out an extra £500 one month, Mr Manfredi refused to pay and says he received threatening letters to cut off the supply unless he paid. He also says the wrong meters were installed at the two business premises.
A lengthy battle ensued which also included Mr Manfredi claiming compensation for stress and taking his case to the Energy Ombudsman, who found what was described as a “shortfall in customer services from EDF Energy” and acknowledged Mr Manfredi’s problems were “linked to the actions of the energy firm”.
The Ombudsman ruled EDF Energy should provide a goodwill gesture of £6,000 between the two restaurant accounts, ensure Mr Manfredi is on the most competitive tariff available to him and provide a “letter of apology to Mr Manfredi for the inconvenience caused”.
Mr Manfredi says he is now wants to collect 2,000 signatures from other people having problems with EDF and lobby newly appointed Energy Secretary Amber Rudd MP to bring about changes.
A spokesperson at EDF said, “Mr Manfredi has two accounts with EDF Energy and we acknowledge we have been liaising with him regarding an error made by us on his account and also regarding monies owed on his accounts.
“EDF Energy has offered financial compensation to Mr Manfredi previously, which he declined.
“Mr Manfredi sought an independent review from the Energy Ombudsman and following in-depth analysis, the Ombudsman issued a Final Decision regarding compensation. EDF Energy accepted this ruling, however Mr Manfredi declined. EDF Energy is continuing to liaise regarding significant debts still outstanding on his accounts.”
Mr Manfredi is now considering legal action.
* Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make our website your homepage at www.eastbourneherald.co.uk
2 Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ Eastbourne-Herald-and-Gazette
3 Follow us on Twitter @Eastbournenews
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.