WORRIED business owners say they were left out of pocket and in the dark when an energy company switched off the power to their office building “without warning”.

Louise Sargent owns Loveless Tattoo Lounge and had run the business out of Gainsborough Business Centre, in Lexden Road, Colchester, paying £750 per month as part of a licence agreement.

She said the payment covered utility costs.

But she said she arrived at work on January 4 to be greeted by workers from energy company Eon, who were threatening to cut the power to the building.

“We all asked what was going on, they said the electricity was being switched off because of a dispute between the landlord and the energy company,” she said.

Ms Sargent said seven businesses occupied the office space, but are now unable to access the building, with “no response” from their landlord over the issue.

She added: “The door’s got a fob, it’s a security door, which is now locked as there is no electricity to the building.

“We have three girls who work with us, three girls between the age of 25 and 30 – we’ve all just bought our own houses and now we can’t work until we get a new premises.

"This could take eight weeks.”

Dominic Tyler owns software development company Junari.

He said he moved his business into Gainsborough Business Centre in August last year, with a “fully serviced” licence agreement covering utility costs priced at £850 per month plus VAT.

He even put down a £2,040 deposit.

Gazette: Dominic Tyler (centre) with his team at Junari's office at Gainsborough Business Centre, in Lexden Road, ColchesterDominic Tyler (centre) with his team at Junari's office at Gainsborough Business Centre, in Lexden Road, Colchester (Image: Newsquest)

He said Eon’s visit on January 4 coincided with “critical” customer calls which he feared would be lost if the power to the building was cut.

“Imagine you run a small business that turns over less than £500,000, you spend six to nine months trying to get a customer, you finally get them and you’ve got two of your guys on a kickoff call with that customer,” he said.

“Then you get a power company outside saying they’re going to turn the power off.

Mr Tyler said he managed to “plead” with Eon, who agreed to put off cutting the power to the building until around midday.

“Other tenants were all informed, at that point the power’s going off,” he said.

Mr Tyler said businesses had since “heard nothing” from the landlord.

“This has cost us a whole lot of money,” he said.

The beleaguered business owner said he has since been in touch with the Colchester Business Enterprise Agency (COLBEA) - a not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting businesses - over the situation.

The organisation has found new office space for Junari.

“We all work really, really hard and make constant progress, but it feels like this is ten steps back,” said Mr Tyler.

“COLBEA has been utterly phenomenal with their support.

“We are an older business, I bought the business four and a half years ago, but COLBEA have got a rule that they can’t lease to anybody that’s more than five years old and they are tied to that by Colchester Council.

“But these are extenuating circumstances.”

'We've received no response from our landlord'

Gainsborough Business Centre, in Lexden Road, is listed on the website of office space provider Jordec Business Services.

The website says the company will “take care of maintenance, insurance, cleaning of common areas and even the little extras like gourmet coffee”.

It adds: “Mix it all up in a beautiful building; price it affordably, let the spaces on easy-to-understand licences where the focus is on customer service – and that is Gainsborough Business Centres.”

The Gazette reached out to the company via telephone and an online contact form, but the firm did not want to issue a statement.

Both Mr Tyler and Ms Sargent provided a contact number for Jonathan Greenaway, naming him as the landlord, but he did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr Greenaway is listed on Companies House as an active director of Jordec Business Services and Gainsborough Business Centres.

An email from a Jordec employee addressed to Mr Tyler, seen by the Gazette and sent on the day the power was cut off, reads: “We have had difficulties trying to resolve the matter regarding the electricity account, John has been on the telephone all morning trying to deal with the matter.

“Our opening reading when we took responsibility for the account was disregarded and they would not adjust it even through there is actual evidence of this.

“John is still in talks with them to resolve this matter, but unfortunately not getting very far as it stands.”

When approached by the Gazette, Eon said it was unable to comment.

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