Energy firms have been accused of unfairly targeting hospitality businesses with higher price tariffs.
Trade body UKHospitality said it has been contacted by members with evidence that they are being singled out by energy providers.
It has now written to the energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, calling for an investigation into unfair practices in the energy market.
UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “Prices being quoted are significantly higher for our sector than others and we are even seeing instances of businesses being asked to pay extortionate deposits up-front. One of our members has been instructed to pay a £60,000 deposit for a single site hotel.
“This behaviour would be wholly unacceptable at the best of times. When it is happening while so many businesses are trying to recover from the Covid-19 crisis and while so many jobs are still on the line, it is totally beyond belief.”
The organisation said it had also learned of energy companies penalising hospitality businesses for unused energy during the lockdown period.
It said the “lack of empathy” with businesses that have been hit by the coronavirus crisis “verges on immoral”, adding that there seems to be no recourse that can be taken.
It has called on the government and Ofgem to investigate the matter immediately.
“Our sector has already been hit the hardest of any,” said Ms Nicholls. “It cannot afford to be unfairly squeezed like this right at the moment it is expected to play a role in the recovery of the economy.”