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Protests Against Soaring Energy Bills Spread Through UK, and CEOs Are Taking Notice

Striking BT Group workers protest the cost of living on a picket line in London, on Aug. 1.

Striking BT Group workers protest the cost of living on a picket line in London, on Aug. 1.

Photographer: Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg

In cities across Britain, people are stepping up protests against the rising cost of living and surging household energy bills forecast to hit £5,000 next year. And some big corporations are taking notice.

“These numbers are off the charts and out of reach for most people across the country. So when protestors call for a freeze in the price cap, I can see completely where they’re coming from,” Scottish Power CEO Keith Anderson said in a statement published to company’s website on Sunday. He urged the government to offer support “on the size and scale” of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A campaign called “Power To The People Glasgow” staged a protest on Friday at the headquarters of Scottish Power, which is owned by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola SA. The initiative, launched by local Labour Councillor Matt Kerr and trade unionist Frances Curran, is calling for a freeze in energy prices, the end of prepayment meters —a more expensive payment method that’s often used by poorer households— and an end to debt payment fees.