Social Justice

Campaigners call for a million people to cancel their energy bills if government refuses to act

More than 800 people have already signed up to organise the mass non-payment of energy bills

Energy bills/ Image of money

Campaigners are urging people to cancel their bills. Image: Pixabay

Campaigners are calling for a million people across the UK to stop paying their energy bills in October if the government “goes ahead with another massive hike”.

Don’t Pay is a drive to push the government and energy companies to make bills more affordable as people struggle through a cost of living crisis.

More than 800 people have already signed up to help organise the mass non-payment in just a few days. The hope is that this group will inspire a million people to join them in cancelling their bills on October 1.

A spokesperson for Don’t Pay, who has asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, said: “Millions of us won’t be able to afford food and bills this winter. We cannot afford to let that happen. We’re all worried about what this will mean for us and our families but, if we come together through collective action, we can force the government and energy companies to reduce our energy bills.” 

An estimated 3.16 million people in the UK could not afford to pay their household energy bills in 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available. 

Prices for electricity, gas and fuels rose by over 46 per cent in April 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics, when the energy regulator Ofgem increased the energy price cap. 

Costs continue to rise, with 85 per cent of adults reporting an increase in their gas and electricity bills last month and another increase energy price cap increase expected in October.

As energy bills continue to rise at worrying rates, many more families will be left unable to cook a meal, have a hot shower or heat their homes in the winter. 

Organisers of Don’t Pay say they are local people who want to remain anonymous in media coverage. They have no official affiliation with any organisations or charities. 

They are hoping that this decentralised, grassroots approach will urge huge numbers of people to take collective action. They believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are beginning to take action in their local communities.

The campaigners say on their website that they are “demanding a reduction of energy bills to an affordable level”. For this to work, they claim they need one million people to pledge to cancel their bills. The strike will not go ahead unless they have this “critical mass of people”. 

“Even if a fraction of those of us who are paying on credit metres withhold our payments,” they claim, “it will be enough to put energy companies in serious trouble, and they know this. We want to bring them to the table and force them to end this crisis.”

Don’t Pay are using social media to attract attention and build support. You can sign up to their emailing list for more information, or sign up to be an organiser on their website. 

The organisers said they already span across more than 300 different towns and cities in the UK. More than 50,000 leaflets have been ordered to another 52 locations. 

The organisers add on their website: “It can only work if we believe in each other and show the powers at be that we would not stand for being treated as cash cows.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Almost no recorded cases of disability benefit fraud despite DWP crackdown: 'PIP fraud is a non-issue'
dwp pip/ disabled person
Disability benefits

Almost no recorded cases of disability benefit fraud despite DWP crackdown: 'PIP fraud is a non-issue'

Deaf man awarded £50,000 after 'oppressive' and 'discriminatory' treatment by DWP
dwp jobcentre
Department for Work and Pensions

Deaf man awarded £50,000 after 'oppressive' and 'discriminatory' treatment by DWP

The UK used to be the most LGBTQ-friendly place in Europe. Now, it's not even close
LGBTQ+ rights

The UK used to be the most LGBTQ-friendly place in Europe. Now, it's not even close

'We're at breaking point': Food banks see record number of first-time users as demand soars
food bank
Food banks

'We're at breaking point': Food banks see record number of first-time users as demand soars

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know