Manchester fuel poverty billboard subvertising

Tagged as: environmentalism manchester social_struggles subvertising winterwarmup
Neighbourhoods: manchester

Billboards in Manchester were transformed today as anger against the ‘Big Six' energy companies rises. DIY modifications were made in protest about the thousands of people who die each year due to fuel poverty, and the hikes in heating bills. [1]



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The Big Six - EDF, Centrica (British Gas), Eon, RWE Npower, Scottish Power and Southern & Scottish Energy have increased energy bills by as much as 22% this January 2012, while profits have soared to a record five-year high [2]. Government statistics show that every year, around 2,700 people, mostly pensioners, die from coldness-related diseases like pneumonia [3].

Jane Simpson, 34, from Manchester Climate Action group, who participated in the DIY modifications said "I just wanted to come out and say it. The energy companies are ripping us off big time and making a fat buck off it. But it's about much more than prices. It's about big corporations dominating our energy supply. We need democratic community control over how we heat our homes."

James Terry, 26, also linked the issue to climate change. He said: "It's not just people in the UK who are dying because of the energy companies obsession with profits - people around the world are dying from climate change resulting from the government and energy companies refusing to make the change to renewable energy."

"We need a chance to discuss where we get our energy from and how much it costs, not just have it dictated to us by big energy companies"

Those least able to pay for energy are forced into installing meters and paying more, and when the money runs out, so does the light, heat and hot water.

While the Big Six energy companies are making a five-year record profit of over 700% per customer, the government is cutting its Winter Fuel Allowance.  [4]

This action has been inspired by the ‘Winter Warm Up' weekend of action called by Fuel Poverty Action [5]. Hundreds of protesters are expected to participate in actions in Leeds, London, Cambridge and other parts of the country. The group are highlighting the injustice of the ‘Big 6' control over energy resources.  Reports are emerging of an occupation of Lewisham Town Hall in London.

See for more information on the national event.





[1] Fuel poverty is defined as expenditure of 10% or more of household income on fuel. There were 25,700 ‘excess Winter deaths' last Winter. At a conservative estimate, 10% of these deaths were directly due to people being unable to afford to heat their homes.

Government's full statistics here:

[2] Energy Companies Profits at 700%. See article:>

[3]An April 2011 YouGov survey found that nearly 1 in 4 households (24% or 6.3million homes) were suffering fuel poverty. See full report here:

According to the government-commissioned Hills Poverty Review, 2,700 people - a conservative estimate - will die this winter as a direct result of being ‘fuel poor'. For the full review see:>

[4] Energy Companies Profits at 700%. See article:>

[5] Fuel Poverty Action is a project of the Climate Justice Collective

(CJC). CJC has emerged out of Climate Camp UK. Fuel Poverty Action aims to expose the economic and environmental causes of fuel poverty and take action to create energy democracy and climate justice.

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