Big Power Switch Off - what is it and when is the next one?

11 April 2022, 10:43

People across the UK face soaring energy bills
People across the UK face soaring energy bills. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Thousands of people in the UK took part in last night's Big Power Switch Off, with plans for the protest to become a frequent event.

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Households switched off their electricity for 10 minutes at 10pm on Sunday to send a message about spiralling energy prices.

Brits are following in the footsteps of the Spanish, who took part in a similar event in March.

READ MORE: Families face an extra £800 energy bill rise in October, former NPower boss warns

Earlier this month Ofgem raised the price cap of gas and electricity, seeing bills soar by 54 per cent to £1,971 for an average home from £1,277.

Some experts have predicted they could even rise as high as £2,700-per-year from October.

Stark warnings have been issued that people in the UK will starve, freeze and could consider suicide as they desperately struggle to pay bills.

What is the event?

One Facebook post that has been widely shared reads: "The idea is that, if it won't put you at risk, you switch off all of your electrical appliances, lights, or switch off at the breakers for 10 minutes.

"This short power off will cause an imbalance on the national grid, where consumption becomes lower than predicted and therefore the electrical supply is too great.

"To protect the grid, power stations will be temporarily disconnected or issued notices to attenuate their output."

It adds: "Because the grid is publicly owned, but power supply is private, this effectively creates a 10 minute boycott of the privatised portions of our power supply, losing them up to an estimated £9m in revenue.

"That's right, private energy companies take in an estimated £9m every 10 minutes in UK!"

"It is hoped that this slap in the wallet will cause energy companies to revise their prices, as was the case in Spain," it concludes.

When is the next event?

The blackout could now reportedly become a weekly event, with the next set to take place on Saturday, April 16 between 7 and 7.10pm.

A post circulating on social media warns this will only be the beginning "if we don't get results" and demands "special emergency measures to reduce energy costs".