What Is The 'Big Power Off'? Here's How You Can Join The At-Home Protest

A huge campaign to get energy bills decreased is underway.
Energy bills have been skyrocketing this month
Kinga Krzeminska via Getty Images
Energy bills have been skyrocketing this month

People are striking back against the cost of living crisis by joining the Big Power Off campaign in a bid to bring rocketing energy bills down.

By targeting the utility companies responsible for our energy supplies, activists are hoping to trigger real change in our bills. Here’s everything we know about it so far.

What – and when – is it?

The Big Power Off aims to send a message just by asking people to switch off all their electrical devices for 10 minutes at the same time. The first one happened on Sunday April 10, at 10pm.

The second one is planned for Saturday April 16, 7pm, shortly before parliament return from recess.

Those behind the campaign have warned they will continue having protests until action is taken.

They have described it as “non-partisan action” which could create an imbalance in the National Grid to get the attention of No.10 and utility companies.

Some have already called for it to be a weekly event, as the cost of living crisis bites.

Why are people taking part?

The rise in energy bills could leave as many as 8.5 million households in fuel poverty, meaning they cannot heat or power their homes, according to endfuelpoverty.org.uk.

This comes down to several factors, including the 54% rise in the energy price cap which has impacted around 22 million customers. This will trigger yearly energy bills to rise by approximately £700 for the average household.

Global wholesale gas prices are soaring too, while Europe’s attempts to wean itself off Russia’s energy supplies has further exacerbated the crisis.

For comparison, average weekly wages are expected to rise by just 3.75%, according to the Trades Union Congress.

The founder of MoneySavingExpert, Martin Lewis, has also warned the government that the skyrocketing bills could trigger “civil unrest” during an interview with the Sunday Telegraph.

A new report from PwC finds that households will be £900 worse off this year in a “historic fall” in living standards, while inflation rises to 8.4% later this year.

Is the Big Power Off effective?

Despite activists’ best efforts, the National Grid has dismissed any claims that the first protest had any impact.

According to ITV, a spokesperson said: “Our highly experienced and skilled control room engineers are accustomed to using various tools to manage any sudden fall or rise in demand to ensure a secure and reliable electricity supply for businesses and consumers every second of the day.”

However, organiser Karen Brady promoted the campaign on Twitter by claiming the 10-minute blackout would “impact on energy and shareholders profit”, and show No.10 “we can organise legal silent collective action protest at short notice”.

She called for people across the political spectrum to join in, adding: “We demand special emergency measures to reduce energy costs NOW!”