Close to 100,000 people have vowed to stop paying their energy bills later this year, after joining a mass civil disobedience campaign.
Don’t Pay UK was launched in June at a trade union demonstration in London, at which 20,000 flyers were handed out.
The group’s founders are anonymous, and claim not to be affiliated with any political party, The Times reported.
By Wednesday night, more than 98,000 people had pledged to join a “payment strike” in October – when average household bills are expected to soar to £3,500 a year as the new energy price cap is introduced.
Don’t Pay UK
The movement is aiming to encourage one million households to cancel their direct debits in a mass “payment strike” if the government takes no further action to address soaring bills.
Don’t Pay UK estimates this move would withhold £1.4 billion from suppliers over the coming winter.
The group said the campaign was launched by a group of friends talking in their local pub about rising energy costs. It has so far raised more than £20,000.
The cap on energy bills could top a breathtaking £5,000 next year, according to the bleakest forecast yet for struggling households.
Experts said that at Wednesday’s energy prices they expect that regulator Ofgem could be forced to set the cap at £5,038 per year for the average household in the three months beginning next April.
It is more than £200 higher than previous forecasts, which were already grim, and heaps extra pressure on households across Britain.
Auxilione, an energy consultancy, also predicted that bills would reach £4,467 in January.
This forecast is likely to worry energy users more than April’s higher number, as households use more gas during the winter months.
As it stands, the nightmare scenario would mean that an average household will spend £571 on energy in the month of January.
The price cap on energy bills is calculated based on average household use. If you use less energy, then your bills will be lower.
The latest prediction is that the cost of gas will be capped at 18.02p per kilowatt hour and 70.34p per kWh of electricity.
The new prediction is based on today’s energy price on wholesale markets. The final price is calculated by tracking the wholesale price over several months.
Ofgem said: “The wholesale market continues to move extremely quickly so no forecast for next year is at all robust at this stage and will therefore have very limited value, especially for consumers who must always be the main priority.
“We cannot stop others from making predictions but we would ask that extreme caution is applied to any predictions for the price cap in January or beyond.”