When is the Big Power Off? Britons urged to ‘go dark’ in protest against soaring energy bills

Homes plunged into darkness as protesters attempt to force utility companies to reduce prices

Chiara Giordano
Wednesday 13 April 2022 12:02
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Related: Grant Shapps rules out energy rationing

Homes were plunged into darkness across the UK as people collectively switched off their power in protest against soaring energy costs.

The Big Power Off took place at 10pm on Sunday 10 April and saw people switch off all electrical devices for 10 minutes.

The aim of the “non-partisan” action was to create enough of an imbalance in the National Grid to get the attention of government and utility companies and ultimately force them to reduce costs.

Video footage shared online appears to show lights across Glasgow flickering twice in quick succession at around 10pm.

The organisers have warned similar protests will continue to take place until action is taken to reduce energy costs.

Another Big Power Off protest has already been planned for 7pm on Saturday 16 April to coincide with parliament returning from recess the following week.

Organiser Karen Brady wrote on Twitter: “Next #BigPowerOff2 will be earlier at 7pm Saturday 16th April, just before Parliament arrives back from their holidays.

“RT & share on all social media platforms. Thanks to EVERYONE involved. Solidarity in numbers. Enough is enough!”

It comes after MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis warned of “civil unrest” amid the country’s worsening cost-of-living crisis.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Lewis stressed the desperation of people and worried over the consequences as households struggle to pay for the most basic necessities.

Research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has suggested energy bills are due to increase 14 times faster than average weekly wages.

The price cap for gas and electricity set by Ofgem rose by 54 per cent from 1 April, however the TUC said average weekly wages were only due to rise by just 3.75 per cent in comparison.

The union has said record high energy prices could nullify the effect of pay rises this year and called for a windfall tax on oil and gas.

A group of more than 550 food banks across Britain have warned prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak they are close to “breaking point” from an unsustainable surge in demand due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Soaring energy bills, rising food costs and the national insurance hike are pushing a growing number of families to the brink, with demand for help at some food banks doubling since the final months of 2021.

The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) has written to the chancellor urging him to take immediate action to reduce “rapidly rising” poverty and hunger, in a letter seen by The Independent.

According to the latest UK economic outlook report from PwC, British households are set to be £900 worse off this year in a “historic fall” in living standards.

The lowest earners face a £1,300 blow to finances and the hit could be higher if the Ukraine crisis keeps escalating.

The report found that inflation will hit 8.4 per cent later this year, which will mean a 2 per cent drop in household incomes, marking the biggest fall in real wages since the 1970s and the largest decline in living standards since records began.

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