A round-up of Friday's Warm-ups

An exciting start to the Fuel Poverty Action Weekend of Winter Warm-ups…Hundreds of people across the country came out of their cold homes to get warm at the buildings of institutions that have a hand in creating fuel poverty, to challenge the Big Six’s monopoly and the government’s complicity.
Here’s a round-up of some of today’s actions – there will be more updates throughout the weekend. If you participated in a warm-up, or couldn’t come but have related experiences to share, please tell us your story in the comments! Continue reading “A round-up of Friday's Warm-ups”

Press Release: Hundreds protest across the country in anger over fuel poverty and corporate greed

Campaign group Fuel Poverty Action has called for protesters to target energy companies, local government and housing providers this weekend as anger builds over fuel poverty and corporate greed. The protests, dubbed ‘Winter Warm Ups’ and organised by community, environmental and Occupy groups, will take place in Lewisham, Oxford, Leeds, Cambridge, Haringey, Hackney, the City of London and elsewhere. They demand a fair energy system which provides warm housing for all and a safe climate for our future [1].
Elizabeth Ziga from Fuel Poverty Action explains:
“Hundreds will be out protesting this weekend to challenge the ‘big 6’ energy companies who control 99% of the energy industry and make record profits off our rising bills. Thousands die each year in the UK because they cannot afford to heat their homes, and hundreds of thousands die globally due to climate change. The government is in bed with these companies, is doing nothing to deal with the poor quality of housing many of us experience, and to make matters worse has just cut the winter fuel allowance.”
Groups have called publicly for ‘warm-ups’ at Town Halls [2] criticising councils for not providing decent quality housing and insulation. Other groups are expected to be staging protests directly aimed at energy companies over the course of the weekend.
Jessica Ahmad, Lewisham resident, said:
“Our current energy system puts over 6 million homes into fuel poverty in the UK. Many have to choose between heating or eating, while CEOs of the energy companies pay themselves millions. We want our communities to control our housing and energy so that we can provide warm, insulated homes for all and a fair energy system that serves people’s needs, not corporate profits, and doesn’t rely on fossil fuels that destroy our climate and our futures.”
Interview, photo and filming opportunities: Friday 27 – Monday 30 January
For more information, or to be put in contact with warm-up participants please contact Fuel Poverty Action:
Phone: 07864350440
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @FuelPovAction
Footage and images available as events unfold – please contact us and/or follow us on Twitter to access.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
A more detailed Press Pack on fuel poverty and who’s responsible is available on request.
[1] Fuel Poverty Action (http://fuelpovertyaction.wordpress.com/, Twitter @ FuelPovAction) was set up in 2011 as part of Climate Justice Collective. It aims to support and give a voice to people who can’t afford to pay mammoth fuel bills, and to take action against the energy companies, private and social landlords, and corrupt governments, national and local, that are leaving people in the cold. In November 2011, Fuel Poverty Action held a ‘die-in’ protest at EDF offices in London to mark the thousands of deaths due to fuel poverty in the UK annually.
[2] A list of public ‘warm ups’ with more info on each can be found here: http://fuelpovertyaction.wordpress.com/events-coming-up/where-are-people-warming-up/
Recent Press Coverage on the issues:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2084919/Energy-bills-Millions-complain-charging-err
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/city-news/2011/07/06/a-quarter-of-brits-are-living-in-fuel-poverty-as-energy-bills-rocket-115875-23250279/
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ianmcowie/100013377/fuel-poverty-and-cold-weather-the-deaths-that-shame-britain/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/24/companies-ministers-networking-events http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/3882387/Fuel-poverty-kills-2700-a-year-Shock-report-as-Sun-calls-for-fair-deal-on-energy.html
Key Facts:
⁃ According to the government-commissioned Hills Poverty Review, 2,700 people – a conservative estimate – will die this winter as a direct result of being ‘fuel poor’. As of April 2011, nearly 1 in 4 households (6.3million homes) in the UK were in fuel poverty.
⁃ While between 2005 and 2009 the number of UK people in fuel poverty doubled, the profits of the UK’s ‘Big Six’ energy companies – EDF, Centrica, Eon, RWE Npower, Scottish Power and Southern & Scottish Energy – have soared to a record five-year high.
– 4 million people filed complaints against their energy company last year
⁃ The 5% price decreases announced by EDF and British Gas go back only a short way against the overall 15-20% price rises in the past two years.
⁃ The government is making matters worse by delaying compulsory landlord-installed insulation, undermining the solar power feed-in tariff, and cutting the Winter Fuel Allowance.
⁃ Failing to make a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy will have huge environmental, human and economic costs. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue, annual global economic damages could reach US$20 trillion by 2100, or 6-8% of global economic output at that time.

Occupy London are Warming-up…

The Occupy London Winter Warm-up…

Friday 27 January | Meet 12noon on the steps of St Paul’s | Bring hot water bottles, flasks, and your ideas for a better world.

Since October 15th, hundreds have been occupying the forecourt of St Paul’s Cathedral, next to the London Stock Exchange, alongside other London spaces and buildings, as part of the global Occupy movement for economic justice. Occupy London now say that it’s time to take it to the corporations that are freezing us out.

One in every four people in the UK will struggle to heat their homes this winter. In 2010 over 2,700 people died in the winter because of high bills, low incomes, and draughty, poorly insulated housing.  Meanwhile climate change from fossil fuels is already killing 300,000 a year, and impoverishing many more. more.
That’s why the Energy Equity and Environment working group of Occupy London are taking part in a long weekend of “winter warm-ups” organized by Fuel Poverty Action.
Anyone who can’t afford to heat their home should be able to go into a nice warm place and make themselves at home. That’s just what people will be doing, from tomorrow, in Leeds, Cambridge, Oxford, and several parts of London.
We will not stand aside while unaccountable companies rake in the profits and allow our human right to energy to be privatised and turned into a commodity.  We strive for a world where sustainable energy sources are the norm, where solar and other forms of responsible energy are encouraged and the corporate greed-driven companies that are putting profit before people are a thing of the past.
As Occupy London has said, “With its relentless pursuit of profit at all cost, the present corporate system fits the definition of a psychopath, driving the rapid destruction of our society and the natural environment. This is done only to benefit a small minority and not the needs of the 99 per cent.”
Keeping warm in winter is not a luxury, nor is preserving a planet we can live on. However, energy companies amassed £9 billion in unearned profits under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and we spent £850 billion on bailing out the banks. We just need to change our priorities: instead of lining the pockets of banks and corporations, we need to keep people warm and the climate safe.
From the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral we will move off to warm ourselves up inside.  You might like to dress for a nice warm place at the heart of the establishment.  Don’t forget to bring your hottie and a flask, and maybe a shawl to help keep you warm…

Another Warm-up confirmed in Hackney…

The Hackney Winter Warm-up
Sunday 29th January 
Assemble at 5.30pm in front of Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street, London E8 1EA
We will be assembling in front of Hackney Town Hall, Sunday 29th January from 5.30pm for an hour. We ask all potential attendees to bring candles and tealights as well their sleeping bag/duvet.
There is also a pre-event meeting at Pogo Cafe, 76 Clarence Road, London E5 8HB, from 12pm – 2pm, where we’ll be discussing fuel poverty.
For updates on where else people will be Warming-up, see here and follow us on Twitter.

Two more Warm-ups confirmed…

As well as the Warm-ups announced in Lewisham and Leeds this week, two more Warm-ups have been confirmed in Haringey and Cambridge. It’s all heating up…
Keep checking the website, Facebook and Twitter for more announcements this week…
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Cambridge
Saturday 28th January, Meet 12 noon outside the Guildhall on Market Square

This is an event to fight:
– fuel poverty and rising energy bills in Cambridge and across the country http://fuelpovertyaction.wordpress.com/the-facts/
– the monopoly on energy held by mega-corporations that prohibits cheaper and more environmentally friendly energy options 
– and their actions that actively destroy livelihoods and lives across the world
http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/un-confirms-massive-oil-pollution-niger-delta-2011-08-04
http://www.offshore-environment.com/gasimpact.html

More info to follow, check the Facebook event.
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Haringey, London
Sunday 29th January
12 noon, Meet outside Boots, Wood Green High Road (next to Shopping City), N22
* No more deaths from hypothermia
* Reduce fuel bills now
* No to cut-offs
* Expose energy companies profit scandal
* Yes to renewable energy – Phase out fossil fuel dependency to prevent climate catastrophe
We will be calling on all shops, pubs and public buildings to welcome those who wish to get warm. Come and join us – don’t sit in the cold alone.
Part of nationwide weekend of action, see below for details. If you would like to help prepare and publicise this event attend the open planning meeting at 5pm Sunday 22nd January, at the Piazza Cafe next to Turnpike Lane Tube, opposite Ducketts Common. All welcome.
Organised by Haringey Solidarity Group, supported by Haringey Alliance for Public Services, and Haringey Housing Action Group.

First Warm-ups confirmed…

The first two Warm-ups have been confirmed in Lewisham and Leeds! Watch this space for more announcements soon…
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Lewisham, London
Friday 27th January. Meet at Lewisham Town Hall, 6pm.
Facebook event

Poverty, poor housing, no insulation, social isolation, debts…all these conditions affect our ability to pay the bills. None of them are accidental.
With six energy companies controlling 99% of our energy supply in the UK, giving us the ‘choice’ of over 400 different tariffs, whilst hitting us with price hikes of over 15% last year, it’s clear we have no power to decide where our energy is sourced and how much it costs.
This has to change. Access to warmth, decent housing, and health should be rights not a privilege. At the moment, government and energy companies are preserving the market over peoples’ needs and our environment.
As part of the Fuel Poverty Action winter-warm up weekend of January 27th-30th, community activists in Lewisham will be gathering outside our local seat of government – Lewisham Town Hall for a creative, cheeky, awareness raising “warm-up” aiming to build momentum towards future activity on fuel poverty and other issues.
We’ll be bringing tea, blankets, our experiences of fuel bill nightmares and ideas on how to find ways forward together.
Let’s not shiver behind closed doors, come out and warm-in at Lewisham Town Hall, Friday 27th January, 6pm…
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Leeds
Friday 27th January, Location tbc
Facebook event
Fuel poverty is a public issue, not a private pain. One in four families in the UK is shivering, out of sight, behind closed doors. The government and energy companies may want to keep it this way, but we say this can’t go on.
In the UK, six companies are deciding how 99% of our energy is sourced, produced and priced. Under this monopoly, we have no say in these decisions, despite them having a major effect on our health and our climate.
So, we’re coming out with thermoses of tea and coffee, biscuits and snacks to hold a coffee morning. Together we will ‘warm up’ in the office of civic organisations and energy companies which are putting profits and cuts before people’s welfare.
Will you be there too?
Check back here or on the Facebook event for a location nearer the time…

How to warm-up in 10 easy steps

On Friday 27th – Monday 30th January, Fuel Poverty Action are staging a weekend of Winter Warm-ups across the country (http://fuelpovertyaction.wordpress.com/events-coming-up/)
Here’s a step by step guide to planning a Warm-up in your local area…
1.    Who is affected…Fuel poverty disproportionately affects young children, pensioners, people suffering from illnesses, disabled people, students and others on low incomes. Think about contacting mothers & toddler groups, pensioners’ groups, student organisations, disability groups, residents associations, tenants associations. Before you plan your warm-up, it’s a good idea to chat with some of these people and discuss the idea of a warm-up with them. See what they think of the idea, whether it’s something they’d like to help plan or participate in, and what they’d like to get out of a warm-up.
2.    Find a group of people who want to plan a warm-up together. This can be anything from a group of people fed up with extortionate energy bills, a group of friends, a coalition of people from different groups, an existing group such as an anti-cuts group or environmental organisation, or a combination of any of these! A really successful warm-up can be planned by a few people with a spare few hours, so don’t worry if you don’t have masses of people!
3.    Choose a place to warm-up… Fuel poverty is being driven by the collusion of the government, public and private landlords, and energy companies. These institutions are ensuring that private profits and cuts are being prioritised over people’s rights to warm homes, a safe environment and a say in where our energy comes from. We can challenge the government, the Big Six, and housing providers by warming-up in the toasty buildings that house them. Possible targets include town halls, council offices, housing associations, government departments, the offices of the Big Six and cultural and sporting venues sponsored by the Big Six.
4.    Inside or outside…You need to decide whether you want your warm-up inside or outside your target. Getting inside and occupying is a powerful way of challenging the power of your target, as we’ve seen with UK Uncut actions against tax-dodging corporations across the country. But before you decide to warm-up inside, your group needs to have a discussion about what people feel comfortable with. It’s also a good idea to have a plan for how to respond if the police turn up and ask you to leave, so decide beforehand whether you want to stay, or all leave together if asked. (For activist legal info, see http://www.activistslegalproject.org.uk/resources.html).  The presence of the local paper and a photographer can make all the difference, too!  You can also warm-up outside! Chilly weather can be got around with blankets, hot water bottles, flasks of tea, tents (maybe even a campfire of burning energy bills!) and you’ll be in a great position for leafleting and talking to the public.
5.    Location location location… If you want to be outside your target, then think about where you want to be: do you want to be in front of the doors, or do you want to be out of the way but still visible? If you want to get inside your target, you need to think about how to do this. It’s a good idea to check out your location beforehand to work out how to go about getting where you want to be. You need to think about questions such as: are doors locked or controlled by swipe-cards? Are there security guards?  How can you get inside? If you want to stay for a long period of time, how can you do this and what provisions will you need?
6.    Choose a meeting-point to advertise publically… If you want to advertise your event publically and you’re planning to warm-up inside, then you need to think about how to do this without being stopped. One way to do this is to arrange an easy meet up point somewhere away from but nearby to your target like a train station or public landmark. If you do this, then you might want to have a plan for moving people from the meet-up point to your target, such as having flags or music to follow. You still might want to consider this if you’re planning to warm-up outside, although it is unlikely that you will be stopped from assembling outside a building.
7.    Think about what you want to do while you’re warming-up… It’s great to include a visual or theatrical element such as destroying energy bills, huddling together to warm each other up, giving yourselves frozen blue lips and white faces, clutching flasks of tea and hot water bottles and blankets…Also, warm-ups are a fantastic opportunity for public meetings to discuss the problems raised by high energy bills in your area, to give people a chance to speak out about their bills and how cold their homes are, to draw up a local campaign plan, to form a new Fuel Poverty Action group and to discuss visions for a new just and sustainable energy system. You might decide that you want to come up with a public statement or a set of demands in your warm-up? You can use the Occupy movement’s human microphone method. This works with big crowds and when you lack a megaphone. It involves repeating whatever the person speaking is saying as a group so that everyone hears it. Alternatively, just use a megaphone or portable amp. It’s up to you, so get creative!
8.    Publicity… A really successful warm-up can be organised by a small group without further participants on the day. But, if you’ve got the time to publicise your warm-up, the more people you get along, the better. So, if you can, publicise your warm-up far and wide! Make a leaflet (you can find a template on our website) and distribute it in public places, at other demonstrations and anywhere you think there will be cold and up for it people! Get posters up everywhere: pubs, cafes, public spaces and social centres! Spread the word round all the relevant email lists you can think of! Make a Facebook event and share this widely! Set up a Twitter account and start Tweeting about your warm-up! Go to other groups’ meetings to talk about your plan and get them involved. Obvious groups to link up with are anti-cuts groups, student organisations, environmental groups and any relevant campaigning groups or networks in your area. Also, email [email protected] to let us know about the warm-up you are planning and we will publicise it too!
9.    Media…Try and compile a list of local media contacts that you think would be interested in covering your warm-up. If you think that your warm-up is something that national media would be interested in, email [email protected] for some contacts. The really important thing to do is to email a press release and photographs of your warm-up out to your media contacts immediately after your warm-up is finished. If you would like a press release template for your warm-up, email [email protected] and we’ll send you one. If you’ve got the time, it’s also a good idea to send a press release out a few days before the action. This can be a lot briefer and simply include the key details of your action – date, time, meet-up place, contact details for questions and a short blurb (but obviously if your target is secret – just give the meet-up place!) It’s also good to follow up this prior press release by ringing around the contacts you’ve sent it to in order to check they received it, to answer any questions they might have and to find out whether they will be sending reporters or photographers to the warm-up. You might want to consider agreeing on a media spokesperson to talk to journalists whilst the warm-up is happening, and it’s definitely worth agreeing on some key messages to convey to the media. It’s also worth buying a new cheap phone and setting up a new email account to be used for media contact details as it’s can be better to avoid giving  journalists your personal details. For more useful media tips, see http://pressgang.noblogs.org/files/2012/01/ActionMediaTeam.pdf
10.    Afterwards…A warm-up will be a great opportunity to make links with people who want to start taking action on fuel poverty. So make sure that you collect the contact details of all that attend. Why not arrange a follow-up meeting for people to debrief and reflect upon how the warm-up went and, hopefully, to think about how a more permanent group or campaign could be built.
**A leaflet that can be handed out during the action will be uploaded here soon!**
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/350821344932887/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fuel-Poverty-Action/272943569430814
Twitter: @FuelPovAction
Email: [email protected]

Our EDF Die-in on film…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SScF4lpw2qA&w=420&h=315]
In November, we died-in to mark the thousands of deaths last Winter caused by fuel poverty. Please share this film widely.
As the government cuts its Winter Fuel Allowance, and the Big Six reap in record profits, its now time to warm-up in January…
Find out more about the Fuel Poverty Action Weekend of Winter Warm-ups here, join and invite all your friends to the Facebook event, and keep your eye on @FuelPovAction on Twitter for updates…

Nationwide Fuel Poverty Action Winter Warm-up

Friday, January 27th – Monday, January 30th
http://fuelpovertyaction.wordpress.com
It’s January. It’s freezing. Christmas emptied the coffers and now the bills are starting to bite. As the Big Six energy companies rake in profits of 700% and the government freezes the fuel allowance, it’s time to tell the Big Six and the government that we’ve had enough!
Fuel poverty is a public issue, not a private pain. One in four families in the UK is shivering, out of sight, behind closed doors. The government and energy companies may want to keep it this way, but we say this can’t go on.
In the UK, six companies are deciding how 99% of our energy is sourced, produced and priced. Under this monopoly, we have no say in these decisions, despite them having a major effect on our health and our climate.
On the last weekend of January, Fuel Poverty Action will be heating things up!
We’re calling for people to come out of their cold homes and into the warm offices of the Big Six: E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern, Centrica (British Gas), and Npower.
We can also warm-up at the town halls and housing associations, which are putting profit and cuts before people’s welfare.
Bearing flasks of tea and our own experiences of landlords that won’t listen, unaffordable bills, tuition fees, and debts, as well as cuts in services, benefits and working conditions, our winter warm-ups will be taking place wherever cuts are biting and warm spaces look inviting.
This is a call to anti-cuts groups, local youth and pensioner organisations, and anyone suffering in the cold this winter because they can’t afford the heating.
We can find ways forward, collectively, by making ourselves heard by the government and the energy companies. But what do we demand? Some things are clear: Decent shelter and warmth are a right, not a privilege. We should all have well insulated, warm homes and affordable bills that don’t make us choose between eating and heating. But how do we achieve this? What alternatives are there to a corporate controlled energy industry? How do we shift to sustainable, renewable energy? As we Warm-up we’ll be discussing these important questions and forming a plan to achieve it, come and join us!
Stop shivering in silence, let’s warm-up together!
Details of local actions will be announced here.
The January actions are just the beginning! Fuel Poverty Action is a group of the Climate Justice Collective, which is planning a mass action in late April / May. If you and your group want to get more involved, come to a planning meeting on Saturday, February 18th, 2011 in Oxford. Look out for an email or check the CJC website for more info closer to the time: http://climatejusticecollective.wordpress.com