A couple who run a bar in Leeds were landed with an electricity bill for more than £72,000 after a meter reading error by their supplier.
Sean and Catherine Coleman, who own Sandbar in Horsforth, were undercharged by a British Gas high consumption meter for the past five years.
British Gas admitted it had made a mistake, but said it still wanted the underpayment to be met.
Mr Coleman said: "It's an amount we can't afford and it's not our error."
He said that while the £72,788.04 outstanding bill from British Gas had been since revised to £58,000, this was still "unachievable".