What’s ‘Don’t Pay UK’ all about?
It’s been all over the news and top of the political agenda that energy prices are likely to rise significantly in both October and January, when the energy cap is set to increase. The energy cap is the maximum cost energy companies can charge customers on default tariffs per unit. A group of activists have launched a campaign called ‘Don’t Pay UK’ to take action against this.
Although there’s no disputing that something needs to be done centrally to protect people against the expected energy cost rises in October and then January, it’s important you know that taking such action on a personal level comes with a number of risks. We asked our Moneywise team for more information about this campaign and, although admirable, the risks of getting involved.
What is ‘Don’t Pay UK’?
It’s a group of people collectively campaigning with the aim of getting over a million people to agree to go on a mass payment strike if energy bills are not reduced. They are encouraging people to cancel their energy direct debits from 1 October 2022 in the hope that it will send a message to both energy companies and the government alike.
Are there any risks involved in joining this campaign?
There are a number of risks involved:
- At its most extreme, if you are using energy that you don’t intend to pay for you could risk being prosecuted for theft.
- Many people paying for their energy by direct debit will have a contract between themselves and their energy provider that states they must pay by direct debit. If you breach the agreed terms of the contract it could mean that the energy company decides they no longer wish to supply you and they could therefore terminate your supply.
- If your supply is cut, particularly if you have an energy debt, you might struggle to find a new supplier.
- Owing a debt to an energy company or not paying your bill could result in the energy company applying to a magistrate’s court and asking for a warrant to force entry to your home to install a pre-payment meter. The energy company will usually charge you for doing this.
- Energy delivered by pre-payment meter is usually more expensive than energy provided through a usual meter. So, you could end up paying even more for your gas and electricity.
- Most energy companies have a vulnerable customer scheme whereby they agree not to disconnect vulnerable customers (e.g. pensioner, disabled or has a child in the home) during the Winter months, but they could proceed with a disconnection if they don’t know a customer is vulnerable.
- Pre-payment meters would take money back against the accrued debt and payments towards ongoing supply.
- Pre-payment meters have to be topped up and if you either forget or don’t have enough money at the time you could end up in a position where your supply is stopped because there is not enough credit on the meter.
If you’re worried about the rising cost of energy and how you’re going to manage with even higher bills to pay, please get in touch with our Moneywise team. The best way to register for this service is through your MyRaven account.
We’ve also put together these useful tips on how to save energy and in turn reduce your consumption and bills.