The government has responded sharply to the calls for an energy bill payers’ strike, saying such a “highly irresponsible” action would affect the personal credit ratings of defaulting consumers.
A group, known as Don’t Pay, has launched a campaign asking people in the UK to cancel their direct debits for gas and electricity if the government fails to reduce domestic energy bills to an “affordable level”.
It said more than 70,000 people had responded to the strike to enforce a fair price. It aims to gather a million consumers to pledge not to pay if the government does not heed its warning.
The government’s current energy price cap is £1,971 a year for a typical household but it is expected to rise to well over £3,000 from October 1.
Don’t Pay, started by a group of people concerned by rising energy prices, warned that even if a fraction of those who were paying by direct debit stopped their payments, it would put energy companies in serious trouble.
The group said it was reaching out to energy consumers on email and social media platforms.
“Our politicians and the oil and gas corporations have designed an energy system that only channels money and profits upwards, no matter the human cost,” a Don’t Pay spokesperson told the Independent.
“Many of us are already struggling to pay our bills while we see energy companies recording record profits”, the spokesperson said, adding “we won’t accept it”.
“If the government and energy companies refuse to act, then ordinary working people will. Together we will collectively enforce a fair price and the government and oil and gas giants will have to sort it out amongst themselves.”
However, a spokesperson for the government said, “this is highly irresponsible messaging, which ultimately will only push up prices for everyone else and affect personal credit ratings.”
“We are providing £37 billion of help for households including the £400 discount on energy bills, and £1,200 of direct support for the most vulnerable households to help with the cost of living,” the spokesperson told the Independent.