Another businessman shocked by electricity charge

WHEN Mr David Adams, proprietor of Wilco Cabs, read our story last week about the shock cost of connecting a ‘serviced’ site to electricity, he told us it was like reading his own experience.

Last week we told how Nemesis Equipment Ltd., were being hit with a £21,000 bill to connect Plot 2, Phase 2 at Brent Avenue to power, when the owners’ understanding was that the phrase ‘serviced site’ meant that any cost would be relatively nominal.

Mr Adams is taking his taxi and garage business to the adjacent site, Plot 1, and was under the same impression, that the cost of connection, if not actually to be paid out of small change, would be reasonable.

But while Mr Johnson of Nemesis is considering pulling out of the purchase of the land, Mr Adams has gone too far down the road of settling into the site to turn back. For example, his building has been constructed.

He has had to pay £17,500 to obtain the electrical connection. The phrase ‘serviced site’ meant in fact that there was a high voltage cable about 120 metres away, and tapping into it required the installation of a transformer and digging up the brand new pavement to connect it.

Mr Adams is furious with Angus Council, and feels that he has been misled because no mention was made of the cost or the required work to really make the connection. He says that no reasonable person would have thought that ‘serviced site’ meant what it actually did mean.

He has had numerous meetings with the authority to try to resolve the situation, but to no avail.

He told us: “If I’d known then what I know today, my building would not have gone up. This should not be how the authorities help people who are trying to expand their businesses.

“I had intended to take on a couple of apprentices, but that may go on hold or just not happen.”

Mr Adams concluded: “If I’d been filming this as I went along we’d have a best-selling Carry-On movie on our hands.”

The Review was dismayed at having to report last week’s story about Nemesis Equipment, but put it down to a one-off misunderstanding, nonetheless a very serious one.

But when, within a few days of publication, we received a call reporting exactly the same situation with the next-door site, it appeared to us that some kind of pattern was emerging.

An Angus Council spokeswoman said: “We develop business parks in Angus where there are no private sector developers willing to put in the investment. We do this to help companies to expand or to relocate in Angus, and offer them help, advice and information at all stages in the process.

“The sites we offer are serviced with power, water and telecommunications to industry standard, as we are not able to anticipate which business will be the eventual owner of each site. Every business has particular and specific requirements: for example, a food processing plant might require an increased water supply and a call centre would need above average IT capacity. We advise prospective purchasers, both verbally during our talks with them, and in writing as part of their contract with us, to contact the utility companies for quotes.

“Unfortunately Angus Council cannot influence what utility companies charge for their services. At this time, and as result of now having a better understanding of the electricity requirements of potential occupiers we are in discussions with, we are investigating installing a bespoke supply in the form of a substation at the Brent Avenue site. We are in talks with the power company as to costs. It is anticipated these costs would be passed on to the individual businesses taking on the sites.”