Resistance is growing to spiralling domestic energy costs in Britain as more than 75,000 irritated people in the UK have pledged not to pay their electricity bill this fall when prices jump again.
"75,000 people have pledged to strike on October 1st! If the government & energy companies refuse to act then ordinary people will! Together we can enforce a fair price and affordable energy for all," tweeted "Don't Pay UK," an anonymous group spearheading the effort to have more than one million Brits boycott paying their power bill by Oct. 1.
The strike comes as an inflation storm of high energy prices has obliterated household incomes, and increasing public awareness that the increaes imposed by the energy companies are far in excess of what can be justified by rising costs of oil and gas on world markets. Opinion polling suggests we Brits are at our most miserable and passimistic about our future prospects in three decades as inflation is expected to hit 13%. And while Bank of England (BoE) Governor Andrew Bailey hiked interest rates the most in 27 years to tame inflation, a recession now looks inevitable.
From Oct. 1, the average household will pay almost £300 a month for heating, lighting and cooking fuel, the BoE warned. Couple this outrageous increae in power costs with negative real wage growth, and it becomes apparent working class and middle class households are being made to bear the costs of government's mismanagement of the economy over three decades. As well as being hit by increaces in the cost of domestic fuel, prices of food and petrol at the pump are also rocketing -- this trend is unsustainable and could result in civil unrest.
UK financial journalist and broadcaster Martin Lewis said this about the strike:
"I think I can categorise it more accurately now, the big movement that I am seeing is an increase of growth in people calling for a non-payment of energy bills, mass non-payment. Effectively a consumer strike on energy bills and getting rid of the legitimacy of paying that.
"We are getting close to a Poll Tax moment on energy bills coming into October and we need the Government to get a handle on that, because once it starts becoming socially acceptable not to pay energy bills people will stop paying energy bills and you're not going to cut everyone off."
Meanwhile, Ofgem (UK energy regulator) Chief Executive Jonathan Brearley told BBC Radio 4's Today on news magazine program that people shouldn't join the strike for two reasons.
"First of all, it will drive up costs for everyone across the board. And secondly, if you are facing difficulty in paying your bill, the best thing you can do is get in touch with your energy company."
He added: 'I would not encourage anyone to withhold their paying their bill because that just damages things further and it will impact them personally.'
Last week, the UK government condemned the bill boycott , calling it "highly irresponsible."
"This is highly irresponsible messaging, which ultimately will only push up prices for everyone else and affect personal credit ratings," a government spokesperson was quoted by The Independent.
Don't Pay UK estimates 6.3 million UK households will be driven into poverty this winter, unable to afford food and fuel, with millions more feeling the stress of out-of-control inflation.
Perhaps the movement's involvement will be an excellent proxy for the growing discontent festering among Brits that could result in civil unrest this winter as millions will struggle with keeping the lights on, the furnace hot, and putting food on the table.