Burnley's Ballaro' Italian restaurant owner speaks of concern over rising utility bills

A concerned Burnley restaurateur has said his business is facing crippling electricity bills of more than £6,000 a month from October.
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Francesco Tutrone, who runs Ballaro’ Italian restaurant in Barracks Road with Sionny Williams and head chef Simon Widdup, spoke to the Burnley Express about his fears for the coming winter with energy bills set to rocket.

Mr Tutrone (42) who set up the business in May, 2018, with the late David Hankinson, said his electricity bills had begun increasing in April when he had to renegotiate his half hourly meter rates and was told it would be best to stay on a standard variale rate.

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His electricity bill of £2,200 in March jumped to £3,300 in April. It is now estimated to be over £6,000 from October.

Simon Widdup, Sionny Williams and Francesco Tutrone at Ballaro'Simon Widdup, Sionny Williams and Francesco Tutrone at Ballaro'
Simon Widdup, Sionny Williams and Francesco Tutrone at Ballaro'

He said: “I was advised to stay on the variable rate, but it’s really going to rocket from October. I am concerned but optomistic that the government will give businesses the necessary support.

"Sadly, I am having to look at all options, the first being sadly having to reduce my staff. I have a mixture of 17 full and part-time staff and they are like family to me so I obviously don’t want to lose any. It would also have an impact on the running of the restaurant.”

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Francesco added that his gas bills have been frozen until 2025 and so another option for the business may be to change his cooking equipment from electric to gas.

He added: “I am staying positive, but I know that a lot of local businesses are feeling the same pressures. I hope the new prime minister can help us.”

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