Fuel Poverty Action are a grassroots campaign that uses community organising, protest and direct action to turn up the heat on greedy landlords, corrupt government and profiteering energy companies. We do everything we can to support people in the here and now, while always keeping in mind our long-term vision of an energy system and economy based on the needs of people and the environment.
We’re committed to working in solidarity with those worst affected by fuel poverty, and have strong relationships with pensioners’ groups, disabled activists, anti-cuts campaigns and women’s organisations. We work alongside these groups in everything that we do. We’re also piloting a community organising project in Haringey, London, which has seen us experiment with high street stalls, surveys, practical skill-sharing and public meetings.
Alongside community organising and relationship-building, we believe that we have to directly confront those responsible for fuel poverty with protest and direct action. History shows us that these tactics have a crucial role to play in fighting injustice. Many of our group were involved in environmental direct action campaigns that helped to stop the building of a new third runway at Heathrow and a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth.
We’ve supported pensioners demonstrating in shopping centers and we’ve held fuel bill assemblies on high streets and in public spaces. We’ve targeted the government, speaking out on our experiences of fuel poverty at the Treasury and blocking the Whitehall main road outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change. We’ve also hit the Big Six energy companies, staging a ‘die-in’ protest at EDF Energy HQ and occupying the offices of British Gas for a working day last winter. Our national weekends of action have seen people across the country taking to the streets.
We’re inspired by the many examples, across the world, where people have come together to support each other in the face of injustice. In Greece, electricity workers are refusing to cut off electricity access for those who cannot afford to pay. In South Africa, communities have taught themselves how to re-connect each others’ electricity when the government cuts them off. In Bulgaria, protests against rising energy bills have brought down the government. In the UK, communities stood together and brought down the Poll Tax by refusing to pay.
Yet again, we’re facing un-payable bills. In the long term, Fuel Poverty Action believe that communities can stand together and refuse to pay once again. In the more immediate future, we’re committed to doing all we can to win the victories we need to while at the same time putting a spanner in the works of the Big Six and the government, pushing the public debate on fuel poverty and energy, strengthening local support networks and building a movement.