Former Senedd member calls for campaign of civil disobedience if energy price hikes are not reversed
A former Senedd Member has issued a rallying cry for people to protest outside the offices of Ofgem in Cardiff on Friday and called for a campaign of civil disobedience if hikes to energy bills are not reversed by October 1st.
Earlier today Ofgem announced an 80.06% rise in the energy price cap, increasing the average household’s yearly bill from £1,971 to £3,549 from October.
The cap will come into effect for around 24 million households in Wales, England and Scotland on default energy tariffs on 1 October, and will remain in place until December 31, when it will be adjusted again.
The 4.5 million pre-payment meter customers, who are often the most vulnerable and already in fuel poverty, will see an even more punishing increase, with their average annual bill set to go up to £3,608.
The demonstration backed by community groups and trade unions will take place today (Friday 26 August) at 6 pm outside the UK Government Building on Central Square that houses the Cardiff offices of Ofgem.
It is one of several protests taking place outside Ofgem offices including in London and Glasgow.
Bethan Sayed, who represented the South Wales West Region for Plaid Cymru as a Member of the Senedd from 2007-2021 said: “The Tories are plunging the UK into a humanitarian crisis.
“How could it happen that one of the richest society’s on earth cannot secure basic necessities for the most vulnerable?
“How could it be allowed to happen that almost seventy percent of Welsh households will suffer fuel poverty by the New Year?
“A social emergency of this scale is entirely a political choice of the UK government, not a practical necessity.
“Many governments are taking more action than ours to protect citizens, but the Tories would rather allow private companies to rake in record profits while ripping us off.”
Echoing the warnings of consumer champion Martin Lewis that “people will die this winter because of the energy price cap rise,” Ms Sayed added: “According to the National Energy Action 11,400 winter deaths are already caused by cold weather each year.
“If these energy bill rises are not stopped many homes in Wales will become ice-boxes this winter and people will freeze to death.”
The former politician also predicted serious social unrest in the winter if the crisis isn’t addressed by the UK Government: “I want to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people in Wales who want to fight this filthy rotten system that makes the working class pay for crises that we didn’t create, and that makes the poorest pay for the rotten decisions made by those at the top of society.”
“If Ofgem, the energy companies and the government don’t act, if they don’t stop the energy bill hike on 1 October, then we will be escalating our campaign and building for mass civil disobedience. Expect serious unrest. Join in.”
Responding to this morning’s energy cap hike, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said the increase would cause “stress and anxiety” for people, but that the UK Government was working “flat out” to develop more options to support households.
“While Putin is driving up energy prices in revenge for our support of Ukraine’s brave struggle for freedom, I am working flat out to develop options for further support,” he said.
“This will mean the incoming prime minister can hit the ground running and deliver support to those who need it most, as soon as possible.”
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