A new movement is calling for Brits to stop paying their energy bills on October 1 if costs have not been reduced.
Don’t Pay UK said it aims to get one million people to pledge to cancel their bills from October 1 in an attempt to force energy companies to offer more assistance and to lower payments.
This action is in response to soaring energy bills, which are expected to reach £2,800 a year after another increase in the price cap.
The same tactic of mass non-payment was deployed in the late 1980s and ’90s to tackle Thatcher’s Poll Tax, which resulted in 17 million people refusing to pay.
It was widely believed to be one of the key factors in bringing down her government.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures to assist , including a £650 one-off payment to those on lowest incomes – approximately eight million households – expected to be paid in July and Autumn.
He also extended the Household Support Fund by £500 million from October.
According to National Energy Action, the most recent price cap rise in April increased the average bill by 54% from £1,277 to £1,971, which equates to £164 per month on average.
For customers who have a prepayment meter, their annual bill has increased from £1,309 to £2,017 after the April price cap increase.
The campaign is led by a group of people, who wish to remain anonymous, and their plan is outlined in three steps.
The first is to build support, using social media, video calling platforms and word of mouth to spread the awareness of their plans to halt payments.
They are discouraging anybody who are on prepayment meters – approximately 4.5 million people – to join the campaign as they face self-disconnection if their credit runs out, and same for those whose energy bills are included in their rent and who therefore risk eviction by not paying.
They are asking those people to support the movement by encouraging those who can do so safely, to join and not pay.
The second is to get one million people to pledge that they will cancel their bills from October 1 , when the price cap is expected to rise again.
The third is to go ahead with the mass non-payment strike, and cancel all direct debits to energy companies if more support has not been offered by government and if the companies have not reduced bills to an affordable level.
Don’t Pay UK told The Metro: “It is not about us, this is not our idea.
“Many people have told us that they’ve been thinking about this for a while. We are just the ones that put the work into it with the necessary skills and strategy.
“We are making this a collective action. Currently, we are all individualised, atomised and scared. We need to bring everyone together.”
The group’s Twitter account has 3,000 followers, and its Instagram has 1,200.
On the organisation’s website, supporters can donate to help raise money for leaflets and other campaigning necessities, but only £349 of its £5,000 goal has been raised so far.
500 Leaflets can be purchased for £5.
The group also criticised the Labour party and trade unions, stating on their website: “We can’t expect the Labour party or trade unions to do what’s needed to force action on cost of living.
“The stakes couldn’t be any higher. Thousands of people will freeze to death in their homes.”
People who don’t pay their energy bill could have their details passed to a debt collection agency by the energy provider.
The company could also seek a warrant to install a prepayment meter, or remotely switch your smart meter to a prepayment one if bill-payers refuse to pay for energy.