A nice cup of tea 

On 26 May Rishi Sunak announced a £15 billion package of support for people struggling with energy bills, and although he didn’t dare say its name, a windfall tax on oil and gas companies’ current extraordinary profits.  

The windfall tax, called a temporary “Energy Profits Levy” was expected. The size of the support package was something of a surprise, a measure of the depth of the crisis the UK population is facing, and the depth of the crisis of the current government, which has, with impunity, partied while people die. The End Fuel Poverty Coalition, of which FPA is a member, has outlined numerous potholes in the distribution of these funds – operational issues for some renters, Prepayment Meter users, and others that could prevent some people from receiving what they are entitled to. We will be Below we focus on the amounts. 

The key offerings were:

£400 for every bill-payer and people on Prepayment Meters.

£650 each for the 8 million households surviving on welfare benefits, 

£300 for pensioner households, and

£150 for households who get non-means-tested disability benefits 

Many people can qualify for more than one, or even all of these sums. The chancellor has repeatedly claimed verbally that “most” people will get £1,200. The government’s website is more cautious: almost all of the eight million most vulnerable households across the UK will receive support of at least £1,200 this year. 

There was enough in the package to warrant considerable relief, and even joy at this new proof that, after all, the government can move when pushed. Some people have dared to hope that the fuel poverty crisis is solved now. But unfortunately that is very far from the case. Lasting progress will require structural changes to our homes, our energy supply and the pricing system – like Energy For All, which will guarantee that every home has enough energy, free, to meet its basic needs. Instead, the Chancellor’s handouts will enable some to eat today – and go hungry again tomorrow. Here’s the context:

  1. The starting point. The levels of poverty are now so high in this country that even sums that are high, for a giveaway only take the tip off the iceberg. The UK spends far less on pensions than other OECD countries. Over two million families last year were forced to turn to food banks, up 80% on five years ago, and in many of these homes parents were working two or even three jobs to try to get by. Missing meals and rationing heat to an hour or less a day, many have not dared to put a kettle on, let alone cook a hot meal. With UK homes the worst insulated in Europe many are paying over the odds to heat houses and flats that never really stay warm or even dry. In terms of fuel costs alone, £1200 more than cancels out the expected £800 increase next October, but doesn’t approach negating the £1,500 total with the increase this spring, let alone what could happen next January, with Ofgem’s accelerated increase timetable. We cannot forget that the £1500 is an average – it is more for people on prepayment meters, and much more for people in bad housing, forced to pay to heat the streets. And we can’t forget, either, that BEFORE these increases, even before the pandemic, 10,000 people in the UK died each winter from fuel poverty.  
  2. Aside from the increasing fuel prices, people are facing massive increases in food costs, clothing, housing costs, transportation, and also, by the government’s choice, NI increases and real-terms cuts in benefits. Benefits increased by 3.1% in April, with consumer price inflation at 9%. The Chancellor’s “generous” £650 for people on means tested benefits goes a bit over half way towards making up the £20 per week ripped last October from people on UC – and never even extended to people on legacy benefits. There’s an extra £150 for people on disability benefits that are NOT means tested, but they are also to lose access to the Warm Home Discount, worth £150.  
  3. Meanwhile, working age people who are not on any benefits will get £400, which doesn’t go far against a £1500 increase. Where does that leave people who were working 2 or 3 jobs but were still struggling to make ends meet before the need to find hundreds of pounds more to pay for energy? The Chancellor keeps saying that benefits will rise with inflation in the autumn – and inflation, he says confidently, will then fall (would he count on that if his own family were affected?) It’s true that in this very low waged economy many people in “good” jobs are also recipients of benefits. But that is by no means true of all. For the many one or two income households who earn just over the benefits threshold, there is a cliff edge to climb – they get only £400 and nothing more. Unlike a tax system that is graduated so people benefit from allowances in some proportion to what they need, your fate with the Chancellor’s helicopter money, as with so much else these days, depends on arbitrary cut off points, and luck. 
  4. The monies do nothing about the gross injustices built into the pricing system. Because of the recently hugely increased standing charge on bills, you pay more per unit if you use less energy than if you are wealthy and profligate. No matter how much you cut down you can’t avoid the standing charge, which now carries the burden of covering the costs of failed, poorly regulated, energy suppliers. In addition, people on prepayment meters – often forced to have one installed because they’ve fallen into debt  – pay more than people who can pay by Direct Debit. 
  5. The handouts, however welcome, are a one-off. They may of course be repeated if the government again finds itself under sufficient pressure. But the total insecurity of having to wait in hope of such an event will drive many to despair, with all the implications for mental illness, suicides, demotivation, and sad, hard, unnecessary decisions being made to give up hope of a home, a course, a holiday, a business plan, or even a child because people in this country just can’t count on anything.
  6. The handouts will go not only to people who need them but to people who are already very wealthy and do not by any stretch of the imagination need help with their bills. FPA’s planned “Energy for All” is also universal, but would be balanced by higher tariffs for people who are using far more energy than they need. The Government’s suggestion that individuals can ‘donate to charity’ in no way deals with the injustice of giving public money to people who may already be profiting from the crises that are pushing the rest of us to desperation. 

Meanwhile, how is this all funded, and what of the Windfall Tax? Well, a 25% levy on the extraordinary profits that energy companies are raking in from our bills is due to raise £5 billion of the £15 billion pounds being spent on returning cash to households. (Interesting that they can find the rest from somewhere.)  But at the same time, the Chancellor has promised these same companies that if they “invest in the UK” – and specifically in oil and gas – they will get back over 91p for every pound invested. In their own businesses, that is. Promised up to 2025, at £1.9 billion per year this has been estimated to give them £5.7 billion (no official figures available). The government is taking with one hand, then, and giving back generously, with the other – as a bribe to induce profit-sated multinational corporations to further drill for oil, pollute the air, water, land and sea, and destroy the climate that we all depend on. Rishi Sunak’s tax breaks could lead to more than £8bn worth of North Sea energy projects. 

In any case, a tax worth £5 billion from £13.4 to £13.6 billion of windfall profits, still leaves eight and a half billion pounds in the hands of these corporations. That money – unearned, and created by the extra high prices we have paid – will go to people so obscenely wealthy that they don’t know what to do with it, and to further destruction of planet earth. Yet that money could have made a huge difference to our bills and our health. Just £3 billion could insulate over 2 million homes.

All this on top of the ongoing enforced generosity of the British taxpayer who gives more in subsidies to the likes of BP and Shell than we take from them in taxes. In normal times the UK government taxes oil and gas producers 40% on profits from North Sea extraction. This is the lowest government tax take in the world from an offshore oil and gas regime.  Even with this temporary levy, the tax rate on oil and gas companies in the UK will still be lower than the global average. 

Out of sight of the headlines, then, the champagne corks were no doubt popping in corporate boardrooms where billionaire CEOs weighed up the Chancellor’s statement. In millions of kitchens, meanwhile, their customers splurged by finally turning the kettle on and making a nice cup of tea.

#EnergyForAll

#EnergyForAll means everyone getting a free amount of energy – that is enough energy, free, to cover the basics like heating, cooking, and lighting. This would give us all the security we need, taking account of people’s actual needs related to their age, health, and housing. 

To pay for this new pricing system, Energy For All, we want a more effective Windfall Tax, and an end to the massive subsidies now going to oil and gas producers,traders and suppliers – subsidies from the taxpayer that are worth millions of pounds every day.  The Government has recently announced a windfall tax – but at the same time announced that they would give corporations 91p for every pound they invest in gas and oil extraction from the North Sea.  Ninety one pence in the pound for investing in their own business – and pocketing the profits that result!  This is the kind of policy that makes a mockery of everything green and fair.

A third source of funding would be higher prices for people who use much more energy than they need. The UK is a wealthy nation, with many billionaires – now more than ever due to fortunes made in the pandemic. Many companies, including energy companies, are clocking up exceptional profits – while we struggle to pay the prices they are charging. (The top 5% in the UK consumes more energy than the least wealthy half of the population.)

No one should get ill or die because of cold homes. No one should spend days in libraries or shopping centres to keep warm. Every home should be well repaired and insulated so we don’t need so much energy in the first place. 

Energy For All would reverse the present perverse situation where people pay less per unit of energy if they use more of it – and pay more per unit the more we cut down on what we use.  This huge injustice is a result of the Standing Charge on our bills and prepayment meters.  As part of the Campaign for Energy For All FPA is campaigning for Ofgem to stop loading extra charges – like the cost of failed suppliers – onto this part of our bills, the part no one can avoid no matter how much we cut down. And then we want Ofgem to abolish standing charges altogether, and instead, provide a band of energy free. 

Energy For All: 

  • Would be paid in kind – not in cash, which loses value with inflation.  
  • Would be universal, provided for all – but people who can afford it, who use a lot of energy, would end up paying more through higher tariffs for the non-necessary energy they use.
  • Would incentivise the government to finally invest in large-scale insulation programmes – because they would be responsible for meeting needs, instead of just loading extra costs onto people who cannot afford to.
  • Would force the Government to look again at supporting renewables – which produce energy at a quarter of that produced by cost of oil and gas. 
  • Would incentivise all of us to keep our usage down to something like what we need.
  • Because of all this, it would benefit not only our pockets, but the climate.  

Similar proposals have been or are being tried in several countries.  A free band of energy is now favoured by many in the EU commission and in the UK more and more organisations and political parties are looking at the idea closely.  In the posts below you can see where it all began!  

Heat and Light are Basic Rights: Energy Customers Need the Same Rights and Protections as Domestic Water Customers and We Need it Now

Fran Lobel

The current energy crisis means that millions of households will not be able to afford their energy bills or costs and will be plunged into fuel poverty. The sharpest end of fuel poverty is ‘fuel crisis’ whereby households who use prepayment meters ‘self-disconnect’ from their supply when they can’t top-up. Customers with prepayment meters pay for their energy use in advance, usually by taking a key or card device to a local shop, buying credit which is loaded to the device, and then topping up the meter with credit. When all credit is exhausted the lights go out and the heat cuts off. ‘Self-disconnection’ is the commonly understood term for when this happens, although its use is contentious due to the implication that it’s an outcome customers choose.

Self-disconnection: the sharpest end of fuel poverty

Energy suppliers’ too-common recourse to recuperating debt is to pressure customers to switch to a payment method that might not be suitable, safe or practical, without exploring alternative methods of repayment. Energy suppliers also remotely ‘mode-switch’ indebted smart metered customers to prepayment mode without adequate warning and safety and practicability checks. As a final measure, suppliers forcibly install prepayment meters under warrant where (often frightened, vulnerable customers, unsure of their rights) fail to engage with debt collection processes. 

 We have particular concerns about the effects of chronic self-disconnection on prepayment energy customers. We are also deeply concerned that energy suppliers will recuperate problem debt resulting from unprecedented price rises by forcibly installing large numbers of prepayment meters. Self-disconnection is a fate that awaits hundreds of thousands more customers who won’t be able to afford their monthly or quarterly bills.

Energy is required to support and participate in life

Domestic water utilities customers have been protected from loss-of supply due to unaffordability and debt since 1999. The use of ‘limiting devices’ i.e. trickle valves as a sanction and coercive means of debt recovery was also prohibited under the same legislation.

During the 1994 2nd reading of the Water Domestic Disconnections bill, the point was made that water is unique as an essential to life commodity as it has no substitute. By contrast, it was suggested customers disconnected from their energy supply could manage for a few days using a calor gas heater or a primus stove. 

 It’s hard now, nearly three decades later, to imagine this being considered usable advice for off-supply energy customers. Calor gas heaters and primus stoves are no longer common back-of cupboard items stashed for an emergency or a camping trip, and customers who can’t afford small cash top-ups are not in a position to peruse the Argos catalogue as an interim solution to staying adequately warm. There never has been a safe or adequate substitute for electricity; it’s always been unsafe for those who need to keep medicine in the fridge or rely on power for medical or mobility equipment to lose supply. More generally and aside from providing safe and reliable light, electricity is now essential for the phone and online connectivity required for children’s homework, study, working from home, job search, accessing medical services, advice and support services, financial inclusion, and maintaining a universal credit account. As fewer households have a landline phone, ironically, it is now usually a requirement to use a mobile phone or other chargeable device and to maintain a Wi-Fi or data allowance to access emergency support from energy suppliers.

Comparisons, in recent decades, between the essentialness of domestic water and energy supplies have eroded beyond the point of useful and meaningful distinction. 

Water prepayment meters were banned in 1998.

Water prepayment meters, known as ‘Budget Payment Units’ (BPUs) were outlawed in 1998 after a consortium of six local authorities brought a successful legal challenge to the installation and use of BPUs to The High Court. The local authorities argued that customers with BPUs were likely to suffer more frequent disconnections from their water supply than customers without, and this could lead to the spread of infectious diseases. 

The High Court ruled that multiple statutory safeguards in place to protect customers from disconnection were bypassed by the use of BPUs. The same principle and outcomes apply to energy customers who self-disconnect. It’s clear that energy customers now need parity of protection with water utilities customers from all kinds of disconnection, including self-disconnection. 

Too often not safe, not practical, & sometimes lethal

We have noted that energy suppliers are routinely non-compliant with safety and practicability rules regarding prepayment; this means that householders who take life-sustaining medication that requires refrigeration and those who use mobility aids and medical devices that rely on power face life-threatening situations. Self-disconnection is also dangerous for those who are elderly or very young, or have health conditions worsened by cold. We have noted that forced installations of prepayment meters are executed without regard to safety and practicability regulations.

Widespread destitution: from consumer debt problem to a public health crisis

More broadly, frequent self-disconnection leads to destitution and perpetuates inter-generational disadvantage. It means that families are unable to cook food supplied to them from food banks; a month’s supply of frozen food is spoiled and lost; parents can’t log into Universal Credit accounts, miss messages, and then get sanctioned; adults go to work and job interviews without being able to have a shower; children can’t do their homework after school (and boil kettles to bathe in the mornings before school).  

It is true that energy customers are now only very rarely disconnected from their supply due to debt, but this ‘good news’ message is misleading. Energy suppliers don’t disconnect indebted energy customers because this no longer a necessary sanction; suppliers use warrants and rights of entry legislation, originally established in order to disconnect customers, to install prepayment meters and let householders self-disconnect from their supply. (Alan Murdie, the long-time editor of The Fuel Rights Handbook has questioned the lawfulness of re-purposing this legislation to forcibly install a different payment method device.)

 If actioned widely in response to large numbers of customers defaulting on unaffordable bills, this practice threatens to turn a consumer debt problem into a into a public health crisis. 

The prohibition that came into force in 1999 on disconnecting households from their domestic water supply was made as a paradigm-shifting public health measure. Indebted domestic water utilities customers can face legal and other debt enforcement action, but measures that threaten life, health, and cause severe detriment to all members, including children and infants, of an indebted household are rightly prohibited.

The energy regulator considered a prohibition on all disconnections as an option in the future should this be required…….

The energy regulator consulted from 2018-2020 on improving outcomes for consumers who experience self-disconnection and self-rationing, and regulations designed to protect prepayment consumers from the kind of detriments outlined above came into force in December 2020. We have noted that energy supplier compliance with these regulations is poor and none have faced enforcement action as a result. 

  In August 2019, during the pre-statutory phase of its consultation to improve outcomes for consumers who experience self-disconnection, Ofgem noted the following: 

We note that there is currently no obligation on regulated companies which prohibits gas and electricity disconnections on all meter types, except in certain circumstances and for particular customer groups. Disconnection due to debt should only be considered as a very last resort by suppliers and disconnections due to debt are now very infrequent. At this stage, we are not proposing to introduce a prohibition on all disconnections, similar to one in the water sector, but we will consider this as one option in the future should this be required

The above was given serious consideration before the pandemic; energy customers have since been hit concurrently and consecutively with the effects of the pandemic, disruption and additional costs associated with multiple supplier failures, and, now, unprecedented price rises. The ‘future’ referred to above should be considered now and the option is indeed required.

Measures required now and an end to forced installations of prepayment meters

  • As an immediate-term measure, energy supplier licence conditions intended to protect householders from disproportionately aggressive debt collection tactics should be robustly enforced, if breached.
  •  Energy suppliers are quick to recommend prepayment meters to indebted customers as a means of helping the household to budget. Where chronic unaffordability is the underlying issue, the prepayment meter is used to self-ration rather than budget and self-disconnection is inevitable. Licence conditions that compel energy suppliers to consider the customer’s individual circumstances and ability to pay should be robustly enforced, if breached.
  • Energy suppliers should also be compelled to proactively review their prepayment customer base to check if prepayment is safe and practicable for new and existing customers and follow through with the required actions.
  • Energy customers are currently protected by a prohibition on installation of prepayment meters under warrant where the installation would traumatise the householder due to their mental incapacity and/or psychological state. We hold the view that any practice brutal to a degree to traumatise any customer groups, in any circumstances, should be prohibited and call for the practice to be prohibited altogether. 

What would a prohibition on self-disconnection look like? 

Some lateral thinking and ingenuity would be required. The water sector avoided the scale of this regulatory and technical would-be dilemma as only a relatively small number (around 21,000) water prepayment meters had been installed before the prohibition came into force.  It’s timely to consider the technical issues in relation to the spectacular take-off of FPA’s #EnergyForAll petition which accrued 240,000 signatures within days of being launched and is still gathering pace at just over 400,000 (at time of writing). 

If implemented, #EnergyForAll would ameliorate the worst problems currently faced by prepayment customers and would prevent this payment method being enforced upon indebted credit-billing customers.  As things are, prepayment customers could still be at risk of self-disconnection if they exceeded their allowance. This would mean that energy customers most likely to be low-income and have other vulnerabilities would not benefit from the protection of energy as a right in the way that credit-billing customers (far less likely to be low-income and vulnerable) would benefit. 

But technical problems have technical solutions which can be found if the right to energy as an essential-to-life and basic right is understood and implemented as a matter of urgency.

Since 1999, water companies have remained in profitable private ownership, despite predictions at the time that the removal of disconnection as a sanction would lead to ruinous levels of bad debt. Water Utilities companies have learned to engage with indebted customers and recover debt using a variety of methods including legal action, but excluding brutality. 

Energy customers need parity of protection, now more than ever. Consumer debt should never lead to destitution. 

We can’t be disconnected from water – why is it still ok for heat and light?

Fran Lobel has worked with Repowering London as an energy advisor and advocate and continues to work on energy and utilities affordability and energy rights issues. She has a particular interest in rights and protections for prepayment customers. 

Press Release: FPA tells Ofgem: standing charge discrimination must stop now. 

Fuel Poverty Action has sent a letter to Ofgem challenging new discriminatory policies in advance of this Friday’s price cap rise. Fuel Poverty Action reports that the administrative costs of taking on customers from failed energy suppliers has been loaded onto the fixed, standing charge element of energy bills, which nobody can escape. It puts lives at further risk as people who are already rationing heat and power are forced to pick up the tab for industry failures, which Ofgem sanctioned. 

Fuel Poverty Action’s co-director Ruth London said, “Why have Ofgem decided to make the poorest customers pay for their bad decisions and for bad practice in the industry? This huge injustice must be urgently reversed. Then standing charges should be ended, and we should move instead to Energy For All, a pricing structure where everyone will get enough energy free to cover their basic needs for heating, cooking, and power.” 

She adds, “Prepayment meters are another way that people with the least resources — and often with the leakiest, most poorly insulated homes — are forced to pay the highest price for fuel. These meters are often imposed without consent, cost more than direct debit, and have the effect of cutting people off supply. As prices increase, it is absolutely urgent to end such upside-down policies.

“The support offered by the government – essentially a loan that customers will have to pay back, and some help for council tax payers – barely scratch the surface of what is needed. Much more drastic changes are urgent, to ensure the basic right to warmth.”

The move away from standing charges is a step towards the new pricing structure: Energy or All, a basic supply of energy free to all, to cover needs like heating, lighting, and cooking. 

Energy for All has gained momentum rapidly with over 300,000 signatories on a petition launched by Fuel Poverty Action. Signatories have joined Fuel Poverty Action in writing to Ofgem and have so far sent 1,200 letters to CEO Jonathan Brearley. 

ENDS

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Show your organisation’s support for #Energy4All

To show your organisation’s support for Energy All, please fill out the form underneath the statement below.

Energy for All Statement of Support

The increases in energy prices are already causing a huge crisis for millions of UK residents. People’s health and even lives are at risk, and increased debts and disconnections are inevitable.  Now prices are to go up even further, to unprecedented heights.  

The measures proposed by the government to soften the blow barely scratch the surface of what is needed.  Even proposals by charities and others to increase means-tested benefits and support for people in fuel poverty fall very far short, and, as the crisis widens, they do not reach enough people. In many cases proposals are also regressive – benefiting well off customers at the expense of the poorest.

We believe that the UK is a country with huge financial resources, and that no one should be forced to go cold, or go hungry in order to pay their energy bills.  

We therefore ask the government to implement the proposal from Fuel Poverty Action, which is calling for “Energy for All”. “Energy for All” would provide a basic level of energy for every household, enough for them to maintain enough heating, lighting, cooking, and other essential services. FPA say it should be funded from three sources: 

  • A windfall tax on the obscene profits being made by energy companies on the back of the prices they are charging now
  • An end to fossil fuel subsidies, which cost the UK government millions of pounds every day, only to perpetuate our dependence on polluting fuels with volatile prices which are also destroying the climate
  • Higher tariffs on energy used over the amount required for their different circumstances, to be paid by the many people who are profligate with their usage, contributing substantially to climate change, because they do not need to count the cost.  

Energy for All must be accompanied by a massive insulation programme, using an army of well-trained, well-paid retrofit workers, to further improve health, bring down bills, and cut emissions of CO2.  At the same time, a switch to renewable energy is urgent. Further investment and subsidies for gas and oil only perpetuate dependence on fuels which are volatile in price and lethal in their effect on the climate.

At present, due to fixed “standing charges”, the people who pay most per kWh are those who have cut their energy use down to practically zero, while those who pay least are the ones who can afford to heat a mansion. Energy for All would reverse this perverse effect of market pricing, and would instead give people the security we need and deserve in these unpredictable times. 

We recognise that there are many details, implications, to be worked out and objections to be dealt with, but we are sure that Energy for All would be better than the failing market we have now. We urge the government not to delay. Companies unwilling to implement Energy for All could be taken into public hands. If the market cannot supply households’ heat needs, it is not doing its job.

To share your organisation’s support for Energy for All, fill out the form below. If you have any problems with the form below, you can also fill out out directly on google forms by clicking here.

#EnergyForAll Petition

https://www.change.org/p/energyforall-everyone-has-a-right-to-the-energy-needed-for-heating-cooking-and-light

Diane Skidmore 

UPDATE (June 2022): Latest information backing our Energy For All petition

The petition for Energy For All and its hundreds of thousands of signatures have made waves in the UK, shaking assumptions about what is needed and what is possible. Since we issued the call in February, the background information has changed. 

The 54% increase in energy prices came in on 1 April – and an even bigger rise is expected in October. 

The £200 “loan not loan” has been replaced by more substantial – but still far from adequate – help, even as prices of food, transport, housing and everything else have soared along with energy leaving millions still in debt and in fear of the next winter.  

The government has indeed brought in a Windfall Tax on oil and gas profiteers – but what they have taken with one hand they are giving back with the other. UK taxpayers will now make a 91p in the £ donation to these already hugely profitable corporations as a reward for investing in their own polluting, climate-wrecking industry.  

The need to reverse the huge injustice of energy pricing remains as strong as ever. 

The petition remains a crucial tool.  Sadly, the demand itself, for Energy For All, as defined below, is as up-to-date and relevant as ever – a stepping stone away from inequality, and towards a more caring way of life.     

#EnergyForAll Petition- Everyone has a right to the energy needed for heating, cooking, and light (original post, February 2022)

Energy bills have risen dramatically in the last year – and the price cap is now to increase by 54% in April. This rise will leave millions of people like me struggling with cold homes. Many of us are facing damp, ill health, darkness, hunger and misery. Before the pandemic and the price increase around 10,000 people died each winter in the UK’s cold homes. Now even more will die.  

I’m a pensioner living on a council estate in south London, and even before the recent price increases it was a struggle for me and my neighbours to keep warm. I am asthmatic, and many of us have health problems, as well as problems with our housing conditions. My grandchildren don’t even visit me because my house is too cold. I’ve been working with Fuel Poverty Action for more than ten years now. There are too many people who cannot afford or struggle to keep warm.

To end this outrage, Fuel Poverty Action is calling for #EnergyForAll.

#EnergyForAll means giving everyone a free amount of energy – that is enough energy, free, to cover the basics like heating, cooking, and lighting – to give us all the security we need, taking account of people’s actual needs related to their age, health, and housing. To pay for this new pricing system, Energy for All, we’re urging the Government to introduce a Windfall Tax on the profits of oil and gas producers, traders and suppliers, and to STOP  subsidising fossil fuels with millions of pounds every day. 

The UK is a wealthy nation, with many billionaires – now more than ever due to fortunes made in the pandemic. Many companies, including energy companies, are clocking up exceptional profits – while we struggle to pay the prices they are charging.  

No one should get ill or die because of cold homes. No one should spend days in libraries or shopping centres to keep warm. Every home should be well repaired and insulated so we don’t need so much energy in the first place. We need your help to stop the outrage of fuel poverty – please sign and share this petition!

The government says we will get £200 back – but that will be a loan which we’ll have to repay in future bills. I have no idea where that money will come from in the future. They also say most people will get an extra £150 – very welcome, but far from enough.  From April, many will see an increase of around £700 per year – more if your home is poorly insulated, or if you are on a prepayment meter, like many people on low incomes. 

Instead of filling the pockets of fossil fuel companies, taxpayers money should be used to make sure everyone can keep warm. And the pricing system should be fair. 

At present, we pay more per unit of gas or electricity if we use less of it. At present, we pay a high standing charge even when we use very little energy, or none at all.   Our new pricing system, Energy for All,  would eliminate that injustice and turn pricing right side up. 

Please join my campaign to ensure we get #EnergyForAll. 

Note: “e4a: Energy for All” is a proposal for a new pricing structure for energy, and is entirely distinct from energy4all.co.uk which supports community renewable energy projects. Fuel Poverty Action also strongly supports the aims and cooperative initiatives of Energy4All.