The owner of a Moray hotel has spoken about the battle to keep going after his energy bills skyrocketed to more than £15,800.
Businessman Charles Milne, who owns the Seafield Arms Hotel in Cullen, has raised concerns over bills increasing for hospitality businesses.
The hotel’s electricity bill has soared from £2,940 to £15,824 a month.
He has called for more business support during the energy crisis.
‘These are scary times, but I believe we can ride out it ‘
Mr Milne said: “The Seafield Arms Hotel in Cullen fell out of contract and the rates quoted were a five fold increase overnight.
“These are scary times, but I believe we can ride out it.
“If we experience a really cold winter this year, we have calculated it could cost £180,000 per year.
“It would be £144,000, even in a normal winter.”
It would be stupid to increase our room rates and food prices as it would cause so many customers to go elsewhere.”
He said trade was “holding up well” for the hotel. But he feels hospitality businesses are affected worse than many other industries.
Mr Milne added: “Trade seems to be holding up really well and this will be very key in the months ahead.
“Some put up prices to cover the cost.
“However it would be stupid to increase our room rates and food prices as it would cause so many customers to go elsewhere.
“It is about finding a balance.
“In hospitality businesses, we can’t switch off the electricity as need it for heating, lights and to cook meals.
“That’s why hospitality is being hit more by the energy crisis than others.
Call for more support
Last month, the Moray Chamber of Commerce said it had “terrifying conversations” with hospitality businesses “on their knees” as a slew of economic storms batters local companies.
Chief executive officer Sarah Medcraf wrote to MSPs Richard Lochhead and Douglas Ross, Scottish Chamber of Commerce and Moray Council calling for more action to be taken.
Mr Milne said: “I feel for small businesses and cafes, these bills are likely to wipe them out.
“We require a maximum unit price for gas and electric for businesses before a nightmare scenario develops forcing most of the hospitality business in the North East to close.
“The government must help the small businesses and the domestic users.
“Scottish planning rules should be removed immediately on small energy generating wind turbines.
“VAT should revert back to lockdown levels and hospitality rates must be suspended until 2025.
“These measures will go some distance to help industry.”