THE boss of a Pendle garage received the shock of his life when a £22,000 electricy bill arrived.

Keith Bury, who owns KB Tyres and Exhausts, in Barnoldswick, was hit with the huge demand from energy giants E.ON.

He said he had been paying £70 a month for the previous five years so could not understand why it was so high.

E.ON have since cut the bill to £9,500 and issued an apology for the mistake which was caused by inaccurate meter readings.

Earlier this month, Rippleheads Ice Creams, of Blackburn, was hit with a £60,000 electricity bill because the electricity firm fitted the wrong meter. E.ON later agreed to drop the bill to £30,000.

Mr Bury said: “I find it a bit strange. The meter must have been read by different people over the years. They can't have all got it wrong.

“We obviously can’t find that sort of money at the drop of a hat. We may have used that level of electricity, but they have been reading the meter and they should be liable.”

Mr Bury employs five people in his business, on Ravenscroft Way, Barn-oldswick. Apart from an air-comp-ressing machine, the only substantial use of electricity was for lighting, he said.

“The £9,500 is better but still not acceptable,” he said.

“We can’t go back to customers three or four years later and say we under charged them and want a cheque for so many thousands. The debt was accrued over five years so in my opinion it should be paid back over five years.”

A spokesman for E.ON said: “We have offered to cut the debt to £9,500 and will be contacting the customer to try to agree a payment plan.

“We would always say, if you have any concerns with paying too little, then please contact us.

"It is better to have that discussion rather than getting a shock like that.

“We would like to apologise to KB Tyres and Exhausts for the mistake.”