With big price rises planned for domestic fuel, campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are planning a novel protest, called the Big Power Off, on 1st April 2022. The Sheffield-based group are asking people to stop using some or all of their gas and electrical appliances for the day.
Jennifer Jones from DPAC Sheffield told Critical Mass: ”We can march, we can protest on the streets and it’s very important that we continue to stand up in as many ways and as often as we can, but sadly new laws mean that potentially we can be shut down; the beauty of #BigPowerOff is that there’s absolutely nothing the government or the corporations they work for can do to stop it. What are they going to do? Waltz in and demand that we put the heating on?”
The day will involve people turning the heating down, a measure we should all be considering anyway. Research from USwitch shows that the average household has their heating set to 20C whilst reducing that by just 1C could save as much as £80 a year.
Other ideas being promoted as part of the BigPowerOff include heating cold food and cold drinks, turning off the TV, leaving lights off and turning off non-essential electrical items.
David Hayes of DPAC Shefﬁeld says: “We are the many. We are the real big society. We have the power to tell gas and electricity suppliers to get off their greedy backsides and to stop fleecing us all for our essential gas and electricity supplies. You don’t even have to go outside. You can protest from home. We want to show power suppliers that we the people have the potential power to turn off the profits that make them and their shareholders obscenely wealthy whilst millions of people across the UK can’t even afford to cook their teas.”
DPAC are asking people to publish their stories as well as retweeting and reposting using the campaign hashtag #BigPowerOff. They acknowledge that some people will be unable to take part. As Jennifer Jones says: “We know that many people absolutely must keep their heating and various equipment on in their homes due to disabilities, and in no way should anyone be made to feel shamed into doing this or that they’re not doing their part if they can’t make a commitment to using no gas or electricity or to using less.“
The action follows recent announcements from OfGem that due to rises in global fuel costs household bills will rise by between £693 and £708 a year. This as energy providers continue to post massive profits and rewards for their shareholders.
#BigPowerOff will be the first of a rolling series of actions as ordinary people push back against the profiteering of the major energy providers.