December 9, 2022

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More and more Britons are supporting a boycott of energy bills. The petition signed by over 170,000 people

A petition to boycott the payment of energy bills is gaining momentum in the UK as the country faces a deepening cost of living crisis, reports CNBC.

By Tuesday, the Don’t Pay movement had gathered more than 170,000 signatories, who pledged to cancel their direct debit payments to energy companies on October 1, when household bills will skyrocket.

Campaign organizers say supporters will implement their pledge if a total of 1 million signatures are gathered before the October deadline.

The government called the move irresponsible, warning that it could cost consumers even more money due to late payments, according to News.ro.

The Don’t Pay movement did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. However, in a statement on its website, it said this campaign is designed to gain temporary “leverage” and encourage government support. He also said that people making advance payments should not take part as their power supplies could be cut off.

The UK’s energy regulator, Ofgem, announced last month that it would raise its main cap on domestic energy bills by 80% from October, taking the average annual household bill to £3,549 from £1,971.

The move comes as global energy markets come under continued pressure from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting supply constraints.

Consumer rights campaigners have warned that the rise will leave millions of Britons unable to pay their gas and electricity bills this winter, with the most vulnerable hit hardest.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition estimates that this year 12 million UK households (42%) will face energy poverty, broadly defined as the inability to heat or cool their homes adequately.

Indeed, in a recent study, the campaign group found that UK homeowners will now need to fork out a minimum of £62,686 ($72,000) to avoid fuel stress this winter – three times the figure of £20,586 for October 2019.

“People are demanding warmth this winter and we need to see more emergency money for people this winter, funding to help everyone reduce their bills, with better insulation and a quick switch from expensive gas to cheaper renewable energy,” said a spokesman for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.

“Without urgent government action, the impact of the growing level of energy poverty on our nation will be profound and devastating,” he said.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss is now under pressure to announce new energy aid measures – and quickly. In the hours following Truss’s victory on Monday, signatories to the Don’t Pay campaign increased by around 10,000.

The government announced a £15 billion package of measures in May, including a £400 discount on all energy bills. However, activists argued that more support was needed as prices continued to rise.

Truss, for her part, said she would announce new support within a week of taking office, although, so far, she has not provided details.

The measures could be worth up to £100 billion, including freezing the price cap for the average household at £1,971.

Market analysts say this could go some way to easing bills for Britons this winter, while also helping to reduce the UK’s skyrocketing 10.1% inflation rate.

“Such a price freeze would make a major difference to inflation,” Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, wrote in a research note on Tuesday, predicting it could lower inflation by 3 percentage points in the fourth quarter. of the year 2022.

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