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Don’t Pay UK is urging households to cancel their direct debits from October 1 if the planned hike to the energy price cap takes place. As it stands, energy bills are expected to exceed £3,600 and rise to £4,266 in January 2023. So far, over 100,000 people have signed Don’t Pay UK’s pledge to strike later this year but some critics believe the campaign is “short-sighted” in its efforts.
Rebecca Armstrong, the director of Mersey Eco Grants, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about her concerns with the Don’t Pay UK campaign.
Ms Armstrong explained: “I totally understand the stress and genuine fear of the cost of living crisis and sky high fuel bills.
“This campaign will appeal to many who are seriously concerned about energy companies making excessive profits out of the increase in bill.
“However, I believe this campaign is short-sighted and does not actually address the fundamentals of the crisis the UK is facing.
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“We’re in a very difficult and frightening position currently and the decision we make now will effect the UK’s future independence in terms of supplying our own energy.”
Addressing the criticism levied at energy suppliers and the industry regulator Ofgem, Ms Armtrong outlined what the price cap rise will achieve in the long-term to lower bills.
Specifically, she highlighted the UK’s commitments to reaching Net Zero and moving to an energy-saving model which relies on insulating homes.
She added: “The increased price cap will pay for the largest national project to insulate Britain and prepare our houses to be powered by electricity and hydrogen, with the outcome of this being that every residential property will have an energy performance certificate rating of at least C.
“The other exceedingly important aspect in this ‘Don’t Pay v Pay’ debate on October 1 and going forward is we need to switch from a reliance on gas and oil to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, nuclear and hydrogen.
“This is so that the UK can independently produce its own energy source – with energy companies and the government investigating heavily these renewable energy solutions.”
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“If the Government and energy companies are open and honest about what they are doing with the profits gained this year and I’m sure if they re-assured people that this money is being reinvested for the benefit of the country, many would have different views.”
Brean Horne, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet, also addressed the pitfalls of people refusing to complete energy bill payments in protest.
Notably, she highlighted that people will be hit with “dire long-term consequences” in regards to their credit scores.
Ms Horne said: “Suppliers usually charge and customers are likely to face a non-payment fee.
“Energy customers face additional fees if they avoid paying their monthly direct debit.
“While direct debit tends to be the cheapest and most convenient way to pay for gas and electricity, your supplier is likely to send you bills at a much higher rate if you cancel, which will be added to the arrears.
“If you have arrears and do not arrange to start paying back what is owed, your supplier can begin the process of moving you over to a prepayment meter.
“Missed payments and defaults on an energy bill can also cause harm to your credit score, in a similar way to missing a payment for a loan or credit card.
“Having a poor credit score can make securing finance from a lender much more difficult because it indicates you may struggle to pay back what you borrow based on your payment history.”
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