DIY subvertisers attack ‘Big Six’ Energy companies on fuel poverty

Subvertised billboards in Manchester in protest at the Big Six domination of energy supply


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]

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 selfish 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. The group accused the government and energy companies of a “deadly obsession with making money”. [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.

See for more information on the national



Notes to editors


[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.


5 responses

  1. Great stuff!

    January 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm

  2. Pingback: MCFly Climate Bulletin #12, January 30 2012 | manchester climate monthly

  3. I saw one or two of these billboards this weekend! what a great idea and for a real cause! If we can help or get involved in anyway, please let us know. MLab

    January 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm

  4. Pingback: Subvertising – uus sõna sinu sõnavaras | Halloo!Mis toimub?!

  5. C. Jones

    I think this is a fantastic way to communicate issues that clearly need addressing. I’m really interested in how you have been allowed access to billboards in the uk and the copy right issues of using these big corporate companies logo’s.
    Any information you could give me would be great as I would like to be involved in spreading this protest.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

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