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Energy costs - is there any action we can take?
29

PollyPeePants · 06/08/2022 10:21

I know there have been some threads and apologies if I have missed it. But I have just been thinking a lot about the huge price hikes - and those for October and January alongside the record profits being reported by oil and gas companies. It makes me so angry at the injustice of it. And we have to take it.

It doesn't look like the government of going to do much - and in fact perhaps caused a lot of the current price rise impacts with the price cap changes.

But what if we all just decided we will not just take it? Is there anything we can do to show we cannot accept this? At first I was thinking should we all take to the streets like they might in other countries (eg France)?

Then I wondered - what if we all just decided to not pay our energy bills for a month. All of us. Just once. What would happen? Or these 'switch off' initiatives, is there any mileage in them? It just feels like a time for more direct action.

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gamerchick · 06/08/2022 10:24

You would have to catch up obviously or get a prepayment meter put in.

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bangersandsmashhh · 06/08/2022 10:27

The best thing to do Is find a good fixed rate deal and if your struggling with your bills speak to your energy company there is support and grants available

Energy company’s make less profit on energy than a supermarket are you going to walk out without paying next time you shop?

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PollyPeePants · 06/08/2022 10:35

Sorry, to be clear, I am not struggling, thankfully.

I just mean can we not all act together to show that as a country we will not accept these massive rises in costs while companies report record profits? Is there not something we could ALL do that would hot these companies in the pocket?

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bangersandsmashhh · 06/08/2022 10:38

No

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Tootlingalong · 06/08/2022 10:44

Just no, it's not the supplier's causing this, it's caused by worldwide factors and a slump in the pound to the dollar exchange rate.

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Lysianthus · 06/08/2022 10:44

Not to be too simplistic, but if you have any form of pension, the fund will hold shares in publicly quoted companies. These pay dividends, which fund your pension. They also get traded so you benefit from increases in value. It's highly likely that in a diversified portfolio, BP et al will figure strongly. My pension value increased as soon as BP announced their interims. I have no control over the spread of shares in my pension fund but it's something to consider overall.

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BaronessEllarawrosaurus · 06/08/2022 10:48

I just mean can we not all act together to show that as a country we will not accept these massive rises in costs while companies report record profits? Is there not something we could ALL do that would hot these companies in the pocket?

The problem is you are looking at different companies. We can only affect the retailers, it's the wholesalers making the massive profits.

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Afterfire · 06/08/2022 10:49

bangersandsmashhh · 06/08/2022 10:27

The best thing to do Is find a good fixed rate deal and if your struggling with your bills speak to your energy company there is support and grants available

Energy company’s make less profit on energy than a supermarket are you going to walk out without paying next time you shop?

Most of the grants and support has stopped now. Since the government announced its piddly little “help” for those on various benefits (which won’t even touch the sides come October!) most of the other support has stopped. People are being signposted to various charities who are supposed to provide help but in reality what they’re now doing is looking at peoples budgets and telling them to reduce - which is absolutely pointless because most people on a low budget have already reduced everything to the point of not even using hot water already!

This group is very eye opening and full of ideas for anyone struggling-

www.facebook.com/groups/966754150512356/?ref=sharewww.facebook.com/groups/966754150512356/?ref=share&exp=9594

Anyone thinking of fixing should be very careful as many of the current fix offers are higher than the predicted October / January increase and it may be better to stay on variable. The group above has more information about this.

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PollyPeePants · 06/08/2022 10:52

True - no idea what companies my pension fund invests in nor any of my own (very small) investment funds. Perhaps there is a very small upside.

And I know there's a war on and the Russian oil supply issue and all that but it just feels so passive that people who are really struggling have to just take this.

Do we have to be so passive? Corrupt, lying prime ministers and politicians and nothing better on the horizon. We take it. Massive price hikes. We take it.

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PollyPeePants · 06/08/2022 10:56

BaronessEllarawrosaurus · 06/08/2022 10:48

I just mean can we not all act together to show that as a country we will not accept these massive rises in costs while companies report record profits? Is there not something we could ALL do that would hot these companies in the pocket?

The problem is you are looking at different companies. We can only affect the retailers, it's the wholesalers making the massive profits.

True. That's maybe not the action we need to take then. It's just trying to think about ways we can do something, anything rather than accepted £400 from the government or whatever it is.
Yes, I am being very naive no doubt!

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MarshaBradyo · 06/08/2022 10:57

No thanks

It’ll only harm the people who don’t pay

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rumplestiltskinp · 06/08/2022 11:55

I wonder how it will pan out. I've not seen the huge price hike personally, not to the degree being hinted at in media. "Fears are growing that millions more families could be pushed into poverty by the end of the year in the worst cost of living crisis since the 1950s." and up to 7K costs per year, adding £600 to monthly household bills, many of which simply do not have it.

So I think many households will have to simply not pay. That won't be a choice, it will be a case of not having the money to pay.

I know this is MN but I've lived in poverty all my life, only now am I comfortable because I'm married and more responsible with my own money and we have a good family income. So I know what it's like to prioritise debts; who chases you the fastest, hardest, who you can put off etc.

You have to pay rent and council tax first, and I would imagine mortgage is also a priority? I wondered about repossessions but asked here and apparently they won't repossess for utility debt. So people may choose to pay utility debt first, rather than get behind on their mortgage? Can you imagine which you would choose if it came down to it?

The energy companies will have so many to chase because of this, they won't have the manpower to chase them all.

As long as you are calling them every month, paying something, even if you say 'okay you want £100 a month, I don't have it, I will pay you £20 a month every month towards my bills and the mounting debt' and they WILL keep off your back if you do it this way. Then you may be able to stay head above water with other bills that you were comfortably paying or at least managing to pay before.

The reality for many of us, myself included (not at present but it took me four decades to get here) is that you have about a week at the end of each month with no money at all, anything you need to pay gets deferred to the next month's pay packet. In that week you finish your beans on toast (if you have the nous to shop effectively which is a whole other issue in itself) and you sit tight until wages come through (or giro)

These people will have to choose who to become in massive debt to. I would think if they are unfortunate enough to have 20-odd years left of their liability to pay a bank for the house they live in, they would likely prioritise that debt I should expect, but that's as someone who has never entered into such a contract, by choice.

The renters may well choose to fall behind on rent if they are socially housed, because you can do this for quite a while before anything meaningful happens, i.e. eviction. In cases of massive cost of living increases you become more secure as someone on a lower income if you are socially housed than if you have a mortgage.

This will of course turn into massive arrears for social housing companies who may well go bust?

PRivate renters won't have that option, they are MORE vulnerable than mortgage holders because their landlord will become aggressive very quickly to get them out.

There will be a few different situations but I do think that if you wanted to offer that payment to them and just stay head above water and see who and how they begin tackling what is going to be a huge default situation, then decide from there.

One might reason 'well, I will keep paying what I have been paying and ignore the increase' - I do believe these people will be lower on the list of chase-ups we will see for the reasons I mentioned above.

But there will 100% be people who cannot and therefore will not pay these bills; some will get prepayment metres (some of them will refuse entry and get backup via the many groups set up around this like boots on the ground), some will default on their rent or mortgage for fear of sitting in the cold tomorrow (as opposed in a few weeks' time when the family are on the streets), some will spread costs and end up with bigger debts to all creditors.

It will be a mishmash of approaches and consequences and I envisage a relatively comfortable position sitting behind the furore making your regular payments and seeing what happens.

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rumplestiltskinp · 06/08/2022 12:01

PollyPeePants · 06/08/2022 10:35

Sorry, to be clear, I am not struggling, thankfully.

I just mean can we not all act together to show that as a country we will not accept these massive rises in costs while companies report record profits? Is there not something we could ALL do that would hot these companies in the pocket?

Just reading this comment and I think relating to my main comment, that it won't be anything unified, but disjointed different decisions based on the factors I mentioned. IT won't be right for a mortgage holder to do the same as a private renter etc. etc. Different circumstances.

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Rosehugger · 06/08/2022 12:09

I think you are right, so many people can't pay/won't pay/can only pay some of it/will be in arrears and AFAIK, power companies can only put you on a pre-payment meter and so on and it's quite hard to cut people off. So the power companies will be the ones in trouble (Scottish Power, Eon etc not Shell) and I think it may lead to re--nationalising energy provision. The market has completely failed.

Businesses though can be cut off AFAIK and we could end up with thousands of SMEs going under, particularly mamufacturing and any heavy users. The government won't be able to sit on their hands on this.

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leafyclover · 06/08/2022 12:30

@rumplestiltskinp Can you link me to the boots on the ground group please? I've searched but can't find it. I would be interested in this, wish I had back up like that when I forcibly had prepayment meters installed because I found it triggered my PTSD and I was quite isolated at the time so had no help. Even just the moral support would've helped. In a little bit of a better situation now due to getting social housing but I'd like to help anyone in this situation. Thanks.

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rumplestiltskinp · 06/08/2022 12:43

leafyclover · 06/08/2022 12:30

@rumplestiltskinp Can you link me to the boots on the ground group please? I've searched but can't find it. I would be interested in this, wish I had back up like that when I forcibly had prepayment meters installed because I found it triggered my PTSD and I was quite isolated at the time so had no help. Even just the moral support would've helped. In a little bit of a better situation now due to getting social housing but I'd like to help anyone in this situation. Thanks.

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Cheesecakeandwineinasuitcase · 06/08/2022 13:13

Neither of the 2 Tory leadership candidates seem particularly bothered about these ridiculous energy costs. I don’t understand the lack of urgency. Can they not see that if people can’t afford their bills and end up living in freezing conditions it will hit both the economy and NHS? If loads of people end up homeless because they can’t afford their mortgage or rent then that will place even further strain on the public purse and crime rates will probably rocket too. There was great urgency in the measures taken to try and control the Covid pandemic. But the government seem so blasé about this. It’s an emergency situation. And yet the MPs are all off on their holidays for another 4 weeks. I feel like we are sitting ducks. It’s such a worry to so many. I am quite an anxious person and I’ve been losing sleep over this. I know there will be a lot of people out there who feel the same. The only bit of hope I hold onto is that this will cause the Tories to be voted out of power at the next election.

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Cheesecakeandwineinasuitcase · 06/08/2022 13:15

There is a petition to renationalise the utility companies. It’s almost reached the 100,000 votes to be debated in parliament. It’s here:

petition.parliament.uk/petitions/608056?fbclid=IwAR2b1z3HuEo_ygj6P1u9ZZoNCkAXDb0zD-vpr69VPOZDO-yk7iJ6oTOzXh0

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PastMyBestBeforeDate · 06/08/2022 13:25

You sound like the campaign to not pay that's going on.
Firstly the people who are on pre-pay metres will have no choice.
People who can't pay or won't pay may find they get prosecuted or moved onto a pre-pay.

The government are interested in sorting this out. Their core vote can largely afford it.

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PastMyBestBeforeDate · 06/08/2022 13:26

Aren't not are. ^^

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etulosba · 06/08/2022 13:30

There is a petition to renationalise the utility companies

How will renationalising the utility companies help.

The wholesale price of gas and oil will be the same. The pound (and Euro) will still be weak against the US dollar.

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rumplestiltskinp · 06/08/2022 13:50

PastMyBestBeforeDate · 06/08/2022 13:25

You sound like the campaign to not pay that's going on.
Firstly the people who are on pre-pay metres will have no choice.
People who can't pay or won't pay may find they get prosecuted or moved onto a pre-pay.

The government are interested in sorting this out. Their core vote can largely afford it.

What do you mean by prosecuted? For what?

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PastMyBestBeforeDate · 06/08/2022 13:58

For not paying bills.

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rumplestiltskinp · 06/08/2022 14:07

PastMyBestBeforeDate · 06/08/2022 13:58

For not paying bills.

That's not a criminal offense though so what do you mean? Or did you just think you could be prosecuted for not paying bills?

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PastMyBestBeforeDate · 06/08/2022 14:41

Alright, end up with a CCJ against you. Prosecuted was a poor choice of word. M'lud.

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