It’s summer time and although the cold might not be biting too hard right now, the bills still are in the form of fuel bill debt. A leading debt advice charity recently reported that in the last four years, it’d seen a 180% increase in people seeking advice about problems paying off their energy bills. This is no surprise, as our bills have grown seven times faster than income since 2004.
Fuel poverty is an issue that affects us all year round. This means that, despite the warmer weather, Fuel Poverty Action are keeping up our campaigning against the collusion of the Big Six and the government in driving up our bills.
In May, we supported Climate Justice Collective’s ‘Big Six Energy Bash’, which saw hundreds of people taking direct action against the UK Energy Summit, an exclusive corporate conference at which the Big Six energy companies were meeting with government representatives to ensure that energy policy remains in their interests, not ours. This was a really exciting day that allowed people to come together and directly confront the energy companies whose profiteering is driving up our bills, as well as heating up the planet.
Last week, we held a really successful info night, at which we were really happy to meet several new faces looking to get involved with our group. The night begun with a short presentation about the issues we’re campaigning on, what we’ve been doing and our plans for the future. Afterwards, we had an interesting discussion about the ways in which rocketing bills are affecting us, and how we can go about fighting this. The presentation we delivered was made with the intention of it functioning as an outreach resource that we could deliver to other groups, should they like to know a bit more about fuel poverty and our campaign. Get in touch if your group would like us to come along to a meeting, have a chat and deliver the short presentation. We’re hoping to make the presentation available on the website soon, so watch this space.
The info night was part of a broader outreach strategy. We’ve spent the past few weeks talking to lots of different groups, including those campaigning against the cuts, on disability rights and on housing issues, about coordinating our efforts. We’ll be building for a public meeting in autumn, which will hopefully allow lots of groups to come together and strategise about how we can work together better to make our fight against rising bills stronger. Follow @FuelPovAction on Twitter and check the website nearer the time for more details.
Finally, we’re about to launch a new community organising project in Haringey. The plan is to spend the summer talking to Haringey residents about their views on rising bills and what action they’d like to take. Then, in the Winter, we’ll be hoping to support collective community action. The project is a pilot – we’re hoping to learn lessons from this that can be applied to similar projects that will spread across London and, hopefully, nationwide.
In order to keep up our fight against fuel poverty and the collusion of the Big Six and the government in maintaining a profit-driven corporate monopoly, we need you to get involved. There are loads of ways to participate in our activities, from helping on outreach stalls in Haringey, to planning direct actions, to helping out with social media publicity. We welcome all new people, and take direction from the passions and ideas of everyone involved. To find out more, or to come to our next meeting, email [email protected] And remember to follow @FuelPovAction on Twitter to keep up to date about fuel poverty and our campaign.
Want to find out more about Fuel Poverty Action? Come to our info. night…
Continue reading “Fuel Poverty Action Info. Night”
Climate Justice Collective takes to the streets to block the energy monopoly going on behind closed doors at the UK Energy Summit. Companies from the Big Six including EDF, Npower, EON and Scottish Power, as well as oil giants like Shell and BP are conspiring with government to line their pockets at the cost of climate crisis and millions of people locked in fuel poverty. The Big Six energy companies are an obstacle to a democratic energy system that could keep the sea levels down and get the heating on in fuel poverty homes. We want a socialised grid not a corporate monopoly – the UK Energy Summit cannot go ahead!
Be in Central London on Thursday 3rd May.
Be ready to go at 11am.
Keep an eye out on our Twitter (@CJ_Collective) for updates on meeting points and live and instant action plans.
UK Energy Summit website: http://www.economistconferences.co.uk/event/uk-energy-summit-2012/5964
1. People not profit
This conference is all about the people who should NOT be making decisions about our energy. It is about corporate elites, of which the government is now just one, colluding to make money, impose austerity, keep control and retain their privilege. We’re here to say that we see a different possibility: a world where people come first. We say that the needs of communities and the environment come before the needs of corporations.
This conference is an attempt to keep the status quo of high energy prices, soaring profits, dependant consumers, growing climate insecurity and disaster capitalism. This conference is a classic 1% stitch up. This conference is the wrong people asking the wrong questions and proposing the wrong solutions.
2. Climate justice
Climate change is already affecting millions of people around the world, as weather patterns become more unpredictable and natural disasters become more frequent and severe.
The self-serving agendas of rich corporations and governments, as represented in the UK Energy Summit, perpetuate and exacerbate climate change, whilst preventing any meaningful attempts to stop it, and those least responsible for causing the crisis suffer most as a result of it.
3. Energy democracy
This summit exemplifies how putting profit before people will only cause ongoing chaos. There is a positive solution to these problems, and it is a community-controlled energy system.
Together, we can organize a new, democratic, decentralised, social and renewable energy system. Because access to clean energy is a right, not a commodity. Clean energy and a liveable world for all are possible if energy is taken out of corporate control.
We’re going…see you there?
Saturday March 31st – Sunday April 1st
Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0JG (http://www.transitionheathrow.com/grow-heathrow/)
Day 1 | Saturday March 31st | CJC organising meeting | 11am-5pm
The Climate Justice Collective is now up, running and ready to take action. With people involved from across the country, we’ve made exciting plans for a mass action against the corporate control of energy in May (see below). And, at the last meeting, we made good progress on: how we can relate to the anti-cuts and Occupy movements; our organising guidelines; joining and membership processes; building the network via outreach and solidarity with other groups. This meeting will be a chance to decide collective activities for the months ahead and discuss how our network can be developed.
Day 2 | Sunday April 1st | The Big Six Energy Bash planning meeting | 11am-5pm
At a meeting in Oxford at the end of February, CJC agreed to organise a mass action on May 3rd, on the same day as CEOs of the Big Six energy companies, global oil giants and government ministers are meeting behind closed doors at the UK Energy Summit. Our action will target corporate control and the fuel poverty and climate chaos that this is driving, and will provide a platform to speak out for energy democracy. Working groups have been set up, including outreach and solidarity, publicity and action logistics. This meeting will continue planning, decision making and working group time, on issues including the action’s messaging, promotion and format.
Food: Food will be provided, but we need someone to take on coordinating food. Please email [email protected] asap if you are happy to take on doing this, or to help with cooking on the weekend.
Crash space: bring a tent, if you can, to pitch inside the beautiful Grow Heathrow community garden. Challet space is available for those without tents.
Please email [email protected] to let us know that you’re coming, and tell us if you’re planning to bring children so we know whether a kidspace is needed. Also, let us know if you’re up for coordinating food, cooking on the day or helping out with the kidspace.
Website: www.climatejusticecollective.org (coming soon)
Facebook: Cimate Justice Collective
Email: [email protected]
On Friday 27th – Monday 30th January, hundreds of people in cities across the country came out of their cold homes to Warm-up together at the buildings and offices that house those responsible for fuel poverty. People warmed-up at the offices of the energy companies raking in record profits from the thousands of people in the UK that die from fuel poverty, and the hundreds of thousands worldwide that die from climate change. The weekend also saw Warm-ups at local council offices and town halls. Local governments are failing to take action to rectify the shameful state of the UK’s housing and insulation, and are implementing welfare cuts that are making the bills bite even harder this Winter, leaving millions with a choice between heating and eating.
The Warm-ups brought a glimpse of the community action that will be needed to tackle the Big Six’s monopoly and the government’s complicity. The weekend came as part of a growing movement for energy democracy and energy justice, emerging across the world from Nigeria to Russia to Greece. As corporations continue their drive to extract profit at all costs and governments sit comfortably in their pockets, people are becoming ever more cold and ever more angry. Together, we will Warm-up and build a democratic alternative that works for people’s needs, not corporate greed…
Continue reading “The Warm-up weekend comes to an end as the movement for energy justice grows….”
Faced with a threatening police presence, the occupiers of the British Gas offices have now decided to leave on their own terms. But while they were inside, British Gas MD Phil Bentley decided to come out and talk to the protestors outside. The writeup below is from the #heatoreat blog.
There are times during protests where you feel those in power aren’t listening. That they shut themselves away in a cocoon of expensive lunches, executive meetings and fancy cars. Today, in response to Fuel Poverty Action’s occupation of his offices, Phil Bentley (CEO of British Gas) broke that mould and is probably now wishing he hadn’t.
As Fuel Poverty Action activists stood outside in the biting cold leafleting this morning, out strolled the suited figure of a man who looked very much like the millionaire CEO. That’s because it was. Bentley, whose floor had been occupied by a group protesting against the 2,700 preventable deaths last year from Fuel Poverty, looked like he had a point to prove.
As he introduced himself, our man on the door asked: “Do you think its unfair that when you’re paid £600,000 plus even more in bonus that people are dying of cold in their home?”
What was to be the media-trained, experienced CEO’s answer? Surely he’d have a pre-prepared script to read from on this, some kind of skilfully meaningless mediaspeak
“Yes of course”, replied to well paid CEO. Continue reading “'Our Chat with Millionaire CEO of British Gas Phil Bentley'”
Six activists have barricaded themselves into meeting rooms on two floors of British Gas offices in Staines, Middlesex, as part of the ‘Winter Warm-Up’ weekend called by the campaign group Fuel Poverty Action. British Gas is being targeted as one of the Big Six energy companies making profits out of rising energy bills. It is planned to stream the occupation live on the internet, with a ‘Heat or Eat’ comedy quiz played by the occupiers, and audience participation over Twitter.
Hannah Edler, 27, a Heat or Eat contestant, said
“Heat or Eat is a choice no-one should have to face. The Big Six energy companies are raking in record profits while our bills rise, and thousands die unable to heat their homes. We’re here to put ourselves in the way of this shameless profiteering.”
Edler added: “Instead of paying billions to Big Six bosses every year, we could have a fairer system where our energy is owned by communities who decide how it is priced and produced. Money could be better spent on giving homes proper insulation, and investing in moving away from the dangerous fossil fuel system which the Big Six have trapped us in. To provide for everyone’s needs and stop wrecking the planet’s climate, we need democratic control of our energy system!”
This action is part of a national weekend of protests called by campaign group Fuel Poverty Action targeting energy companies, local government and housing providers over fuel poverty and corporate greed. The protests, dubbed ‘Winter Warm Ups’ and organised by community, environmental and Occupy groups, also took place in Lewisham, Haringey, Hackney, Swindon (outside RWE Npower office), Leeds, Manchester, Cambridge, and the City of London. They demand a fair democratic energy system which provides warm housing for all and a safe climate for our future .
Live footage and photographs available
Livestream of the occupation will appear at http://livestre.am/1gaxQ
Twitter feed: @heatoreat
For direct contact details for occupation participants please contact Fuel Poverty Action:
Email: [email protected]
Day 2 of the Winter Warm-up Weekend saw a theatrical Warm-up in Cambridge that featured the Big 6 ‘beating up’ the Earth and its frozen inhabitants. Meanwhile, 200 protesters from Disabled People Against Cuts, Disabled People’s Direct Action Network and UK Uncut came together to block Oxford Circus in protest against the government’s Welfare Reform Bill.
Continue reading “Saturday 28th January: what went on…”
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”