A petition calling for an overhaul of our energy pricing structure was delivered to Downing Street.
The ‘Energy For All’ petition, signed by over 650,000 people, calls for a universal, free amount of energy that would cover everyone’s basic necessities of heating, lighting and cooking.
This would be paid for by ending the millions of pounds spent daily on fossil fuel subsidies, windfall taxes on excess profits of energy companies and higher prices for profligate energy use.
The event, organised by Fuel Poverty Action with assistance from Nancy Platts at Campaign Collective, included a rally and march attended by around 100 people.
Stuart Bretherton, Energy For All Campaign Coordinator, said:
“Millions of people will face fuel poverty this winter, with prices sitting at double what they were last year, and now renewed uncertainty over how high they will climb next year. Energy For All would deliver justice and security to all consumers now and in the future, by ensuring everyone’s basic needs are met and that steps are taken to address the climate crisis. Ordinary people cannot keep footing the bill for crises created by the wealthy, it’s time for the big polluters and profiteers to pay their share.”
In Old Palace Yard, Westminster, the crowd were addressed by speakers including Lord Prem Sikka, Caroline Lucas MP, Clive Lewis MP and Matt Lay, National Officer for Energy at Unison. Also in attendance were representatives of a number of different social movements, NGOs and direct action groups. Speakers from groups that have endorsed the campaign ranged from Disabled People Against Cuts, Tax Justice UK, the National Pensioners Convention and Just Stop Oil.
The march was led by a large ‘Energy For All’ banner while others carried light-bulb shaped placards displaying the same message. Attendees chanted, ‘Energy Pricing’s: Upside Down!’ with a cardboard cut-out of Prime Minister Liz Truss standing on her head visualising this call and response.
Ruth London of Fuel Poverty Action said:
“In our present system, the less energy you use, the more you pay per unit and the more you use, the less you pay per unit. This is upside down. Energy For All is a plan to turn it rightside up.”
Over 20 MPs from multiple parties also attended to show their support for the demand. A day prior to the petition hand-in, Early Day Motion 470: Proposed Energy Equity Commission Bill was launched in parliament. The bill would realise some of the key components of the ‘Energy For All’ demand, implementing a Universal basic energy allowance, supplemented by a social tariff and a national street-by-street insulation and retrofitting program.
Clive Lewis MP said:
“I know from listening to my constituents, from knocking on their doors, that they are in dire straits. That’s why I’ve introduced the universal basic energy bill. That bill will ensure that everyone, including the poorest, have up to 90% of their energy needs met.”
Caroline Lucas MP said:
“We are here to say cold homes are a political choice and we are here to demand different political choices. It’s not a choice between heating and eating, people can’t do either. We are here to demand that this government puts people and the planet ahead of the profits of the big energy companies.”
Fuel Poverty Action vows to continue pushing for Energy For All which could deliver energy security to consumers and end fuel poverty, while also accelerating action on climate change. The group will do so online, in parliament and on the streets and invites people of all experiences and backgrounds to join in demanding Energy For All.