Edinburgh cost of living: Owner of Fazal and Sons in Moredun facing 'nightmare' electricity bill hike
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Asif Mohammad who owns Fazal and Sons convenience store in Moredun was told by Scottish Power that the cost of his electricity would be almost £70,000 under a one-year contract - a monthly cost of £5000.
It comes as the energy giant warned that the looming spike in energy prices will be “truly horrific” for many people.
Faced with the stark increase of five and a half times his current annual charge of £12,500 Mr Mohammad said he has barely slept due to stress and worry about the future of his business.
After looking into other deals Mr Mohammad said it’d be slightly cheaper to sign up to a three-year contract on a fixed tariff but said he’d still be hit with an unaffordable increase of more than 300 percent with an estimated £52,000 annual bill.
Ofgem are due to officially announce the next energy price cap today, which sets the maximum price suppliers can charge households per unit.
Shocked by the increase, dad-of-three Mr Mohammad who manages the shop with his brother said he will be have to make a ‘drastic choice’ when his current contract ends in October.
The shop which his family has owned for more than forty years will either close its doors, forcing family members out of work, or have to cut power.
His 24-year-old son offered to work part-time for free to help him out but he says this will not be enough in the face of ‘outrageous’ overheads.
Mr Mohammad told the Evening News: “I’m in shock and have hardly slept since I found out about this. These increases will put many businesses on the road to ruin. Around here I know many are looking at having to hand back their keys.
“Electric is our main energy use so there is no way that we can survive as other bills have jumped up too. We can’t afford these outrageous overheads.
"I don't want to close but have to make a drastic choice to shut or operate in a blackout with candles and torches. If I had to pass increases onto customers we’d be looking at £5.50 for a loaf of bread. I couldn’t do that to people in a cost of living crisis. It’s an absolute nightmare.”
Mr Mohammad said many local, small businesses are ‘crippled’ by rising costs of energy and is calling for a price cap for small businesses.
He added: "Many were hit by the pandemic but for those who survived this could be the biggest catastrophe facing business since the Second World War. It’s setting the country back decades.
"We have done everything the government asked us to. We invested in LED lighting and a low emissions fridge. Our leaders are asleep at the wheel and need to get a grip on this now. I think we need price caps for small businesses. Or many will just go to the wall.”
“But this is not an isolated incident - households are incredibly anxious and there is a very real risk for local businesses as well, with people’s livelihoods and jobs at stake. There is a cost of living crisis engulfing the country, but there is also a significant cost of doing business crisis that is compounding the problems.
“We need urgent action from both governments without delay.
“The SNP has the power to introduce a £75 million Business Hardship Fund which could offer grants over autumn and winter to businesses struggling to cope with rising prices.
“And a UK Labour government would freeze gas and electricity prices immediately to give people breathing space over the winter.”