A Welsh language teaching company is stepping up its programme of courses after receiving a £16,500 windfall thanks to a local energy broker.
When the Llanrwst branch of Popeth Cymraeg became suspicious about the level of energy charges they were paying they turned to Ruthin-based The Energy Company for help and advice.
The specialists in energy supplies for business and domestic users soon uncovered a massive discrepancy and have won a huge rebate for Popeth Cymraeg, a Denbigh not for profit company which aims to promote the Welsh language.
Ioan Talfryn, the Chief Executive of Popeth Cymraeg, said: “Our centre in Llanrwst let its first floor to a restaurant which, unfortunately, arranged its own electricity and gas supplies instead of doing it through us so we could have monitored it.
“We were having huge bills which we paid and passed on to the restaurant but even though it later closed we continued to have ridiculously high bills which surprised us.
“We couldn’t understand it but one of our directors knew of The Energy Company and we called them in and John Davies looked at the figures and argued our case with the energy company.
“He did it so successfully that we have received a refund of £16,525.15 which is a huge benefit to us as a local charity and he has also set us up with a new energy supplier which has saved us more money.
“The Energy Company were spot on and extremely thorough and that money means we will be able to provide extra services for the Welsh language and invest the money into the company for the benefit of our learners.
“It has worked out very well for us but what if you are a company or an organisation which doesn’t have someone like John and The Energy Company to fall back on.”
John Davies, Managing Director of The Energy Company, examined the bills and the supply arrangements at the Llanrwst premises and identified some serious billing issues by Opus, a specialist business energy supplier.
He said: “Initially Opus insisted that the bills were correct and then tried to make a derisory offer of £80.
“This was clearly rubbish and we pointed out their many failings throughout this procedure which had led to the serious over billing and they admitted their mistakes and came up with a far more satisfactory offer.”
He also commented: “The deregulation of the energy industry in the mid-nineties was massively miss-managed. There are 14 electricity areas in the England, Scotland and Wales. Each area has a range of different tariffs, prices and metering. It was an accident waiting to happen.
“The Popeth Cymraeg miss-bill is just one of dozens we have identified and helped. No doubt there are many more out there.
“This was an extreme case but it was clear something was wrong and there had been a mistake by the supplier so it was just a case of tracking it down and then fighting their corner for them.”
The Energy Company was founded by John Davies 20 years ago and is now based on Lôn Parcwr, Ruthin, where it employs eight staff as well as a network of agents across the UK.
He said: “We act as brokers for our clients, finding them the best deal and in return we are paid, not by them but by the energy companies with whom we arrange their accounts.
“We also give all customers an assurance that we will deal with any issues that might arise, including bill and tariff analysis, correct termination, and, of course, competitive quotes.”
Popeth Cymraeg aren’t the only client that the company have been able to help with overcharging – they recently won a rebate of over £20,000 for the monks of isolated Caldey Island in the Bristol Channel and the Cyfnod Café in Bala had been seriously miss-billed and the Energy Company negotiated a credit of £42,000 on the bill.
John Davies added: “We’re delighted to help all our customers and we estimated that in the last 10 years alone we have saved them a total of £5 million, money which I am sure they can better spend elsewhere in their business.
“Popeth Cymraeg is a brilliant company which is doing so much to help so many people learn the Welsh language which is a cornerstone of our culture in Wales so we were delighted to have helped them.”