Don’t Pay UK: campaign group calls for boycott of energy bills this winter

·3-min read
The Don’t Pay UK campaign urges people to not pay their bills this winter in protest. (Don’t Pay UK)
The Don’t Pay UK campaign urges people to not pay their bills this winter in protest. (Don’t Pay UK)

A grassroots campaign has called for one million households to boycott their bills in a fight against the rising energy cap.

Don’t Pay UK has launched the campaign reactively to Ofgem’s planned energy cap hike in October.

While millions more families face increased fuel poverty, many also hold reservations about the proposed actions.

Here’s what you might need to know before making your pledge:

When is Don’t Pay day?

British energy regulator Ofgem has plans to raise the energy cap on October 1.

Campaigners have called for Brits to cancel their direct debit payments if the government decides to go ahead with this – but only if they reach one million pledges.

The cap, the maximum amount a household can be charged for gas or electrics, will be raised by £2,000 to £3,000 per year in October.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition estimated that this increase could leave around 8.5 million UK households unable to afford adequate heating or power.

Who is behind Don’t Pay UK?

Don’t Pay’s mostly anonymous organisers are a “non-aligned non-political party campaign” group, they said.

One member of the friend group, Jess, who helped devise the idea on a pub night out, said that for action to be effective it must be “more than just a hashtag and viral social media campaign”.

Speaking to Dazed, she added: “We are all socially and class-conscious people who often discuss and make plans to respond to what we see as oppressive economic violence meted out on working-class people.

Energy bills and their costs are some of the single most important things that we are all feeling at this moment.

“With the atrocious and unjust rises we’ve had over the last year and are expecting in October, we felt now was the time to really take the jump and start Don’t Pay.”

Why are people being asked to not pay their bills?

The cost-of-living crisis has impacted millions of families in the UK – and more to come if the hikes in energy charges continue.

In June, organisers tweeted: “It’s a simple idea: We demand the [government] scrap the energy price rises and deliver affordable energy for all.

“We will build a million pledges and by October 1 if the [government] and energy companies fail to act we will cancel our direct debits.”

Infographics, available as printable posters on their website, have been funded by the group themselves – and they are currently accepting donations.

Their website said they have no “set list of demands” but that strike action is “not only necessary as a means of powerful, mass collective action in the cost of living crisis, we think it’s also one many people are considering already up and down the country”.

In response to questions regarding possible repercussions, the group is planning a ‘How To’ guide should the 1 million goal be reached - with some questions already answered on the Don’t Pay UK FAQ page.

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