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Press release:  Direct Action groups target Centrica AGM

23 poverty, pensioner, climate, housing and renewable energy co-operatives groups join protest

An ‘Energy Bill of Rights’ is launched

100 mini wind turbines made of British Gas energy bills held up by participants

Inside Centrica AGM, protestor performs a version of Hamlet’s monologue entitled “To heat or eat, that is the question” with a skull and a tin of beans.


For images and interviews, contact Fuel Poverty Action





After months of bad press for Britain’s biggest energy supplier British Gas, over 20 anti-poverty, anti-privitisation and climate groups including Fuel Poverty Action, Disabled People Against Cuts, Friends of the Earth, Frack Off London, UK Uncut and the Greater London Pensioners Association are today protesting outside their British Gas parent company Centrica’s Annual General Meeting.

 Acting under the banner of ‘Bin British Gas: Put Power in Public Hands!’ the groups are holding a loud demonstration from 1pm outside the QEII Centre where Centrica shareholders are gathering. The groups are protesting to show deep dissatisfaction with Centrica’s profit led agenda which has left millions of households across the UK in fuel poverty and has lead to the company investing in fracking in Lancashire. Fuel Poverty Action are also calling for an alternative energy system which is affordable, sustainable and publicly and community owned, and will be presenting their ‘Energy Bill of Rights’.

Speaking at the protest, Ellen Lebethe, a pensioner from Lambeth, said

“’We’re fed up with the rip-off energy companies like British Gas, and we’re fed up with their dash for gas. We want community renewable energy which is fairer and cleaner.”

Other speakers at the protest include a representative of PCS Union, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, Lancashire locals affected by Centrica-funded fracking, and representatives from single mothers groups who are affected by high energy bills. Hundreds pledged to take part in the protests.. [1] The protestors tore up British Gas bills and unveiled an Energy Bill of Rights (see full text below).

Inside Centrica AGM, a member of Reclaim Shakespeare Company performed a version of Hamlet’s iconic monologue, entitled “To Heat or Eat, that is the question”, holding a tin of beans and a skull in his hands.

An estimated five million homes, 20% of households, are in debt to their energy supplier in the UK and one in four are choosing between ‘heating and eating’ [2] British Gas profits came in at £600m last year, after announcing a 10.4 per cent hike in gas prices in November and an 8.4 per cent rise in electricity prices. Parent company Centrica profits were £2.5billion last year.[3] Ofgem recently fined British Gas £5.6million for blocking businesses from switching suppliers [4] In April a former British Gas employee claimed that the company gave bonuses to staff who signed up charities and small businesses to the most expensive tariffs possible. [5] Centrica has also angered climate campaigners for entering into a venture with Fracking firm Cuadrilla to drill for shale gas in the North West [6]

 Clare Welton of Fuel Poverty Action said: ‘Public opinion polls consistently show that people are deeply dissatisfied with the current energy system and are in favour of renewable and publicly controlled energy. However the government and the likes of British Gas continue to plough ahead with killer priced for-profit energy and unsustainable fracking. With a poverty and climate crisis already underway, we desperately need to fight for a different energy future with community and publicly owned affordable and renewable energy at its heart.’




Energy Bill of Rights

1.      We all have the right to affordable energy to meet our basic needs.

2.      We all have the right to energy that does not harm us, the environment, or the climate.

3.      We all have the right to energy that does not threaten health, safety, water, air, or the local environment of a community.

4.      We all have the right to a fair energy pricing that does not penalise those who use less.

5.      We all have the right not to be cut off from energy supply.

6.      We all have the right not to be forced to have a prepayment meter.

7.      We all ahve the right to energy that is owned by us and run in our interests.

8.      We all have the right to properly insulated, well repaired housing that does not waste energy.


[1] https://www.facebook.com/events/298008930323898/?fref=ts – supporting groups are: Friends of the Earth, GLPA (Greater London Pensioners Association) DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) UK Uncut, We Own It, HASL (Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth), Boycott Workfare, LAMPAG (Lambeth Pensioners Action Group), Hackney Digs,

[2]350.org, Demand Energy Equality, Lewisham People before Profit, Climate Revolution, BiofuelWatch, Reclaim the Power/No Dash for Gas, Solar Energy Coop SE London, Grow Heathrow, Community Food Growers Network, Campaign Against Climate Change, Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, Frack Off London, World Development Movement, Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCO), UK Youth Climate Coalition

 [2] http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/apr/20/energy-bills-prepay-meters-cost-poorer-households


 [4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26967438 





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