Protestors angry at Big Six profits took giant fake fuel bills to the Department of Energy and Climate Change in London over the weekend.
Protest action also took place in Edinburgh as well as Nottingham and the London boroughs of Lewisham, Haringey, Hackney and Southwark over a weekend dubbed Stop the Great Fuel Robbery.
The protests on Saturday came the day after Scottish Power and EDF Energy announced increased profits of 12% and 7.5% respectively.
In London protesters including pensioners, disabled people and single mothers carried fake bills bearing the slogan: ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay’ – an echo of Italian workers’ strikes over during the 1960s and early 70s.
Elizabeth Ziga of Fuel Poverty Action which helped organise the protest claimed that DECC are “in bed with the Big Six”. She added: “The result is mammoth fuel bills, millions forced to choose between heating and eating and a ‘dash for gas’ that will send fuel bills through the roof and contribute to rising food prices through climate change.’
Ellen Clifford from Disabled People Against Cuts, one of the groups participating in the protest, said: “I can’t afford to heat where I live anymore. I have a severe mental health condition that limits my employment options and just working the hours I do is a struggle. Last year I couldn’t afford my rocketing fuel bills and I got put on a payment meter which is more expensive. If I wasn’t well because of my mental health I couldn’t leave the house to top it up so I didn’t use it.”
DECC said it already has announced intentions to launch a new fuel poverty strategy.
A spokesperson said: “We fully understand the concerns of those faced by fuel poverty; that is why we have a range of initiatives in place to help vulnerable households struggling with rising energy bills. It’s easy to find out about the assistance available, by calling the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.”