St Johns Hoxton have been working on fighting injustice in the energy market. They developed a Switch Day scheme which is an event, that empowers communities to switch onto cheaper, fairer, and greener energy suppliers. In an interview Natasha Jesson, the Church Engagement and Theology Director of the Fair Energy Campaign shared Good News about how campaign is going so far.

Who is behind this campaign and how did it start?

The FE campaign started a number of years ago with a collection of community leaders in East London. These leaders wanted to take a stand against unfair pricing strategies in the energy market which were causing widespread fuel poverty within their local areas. As the FE campaign grew, in 2019 we developed the Switch Day initiative. A small team at St. John’s Hoxton pioneered the Switch Day as a community event in which community members are empowered to switch onto cheaper, fairer, and greener energy suppliers

What is the purpose of the fair energy campaign? 

The purpose of the Fair Energy Campaign is to fight injustice in the energy market. Injustice around unfair pricing systems which trap people into debt cycles, and climate injustice from the use of fossil fuels and other non-renewable forms of energy. In the long term, we want to create a shift in the energy market, so that cheap, green, and fair energy is the norm for all! In the short term, we want to see people and churches switching to better energy providers who can save them money and save CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

How is it going?

The FE Campaign is going great! We’ve recently had the Switch Day scheme endorsed by Bishop Joanne of Stepney. In October we ran a Stepney wide training seminar on zoom for all CofE churches in the Stepney Episcopal Area. In that training we showed churches in Stepney how they could use our Switch Day pack. The pack is a resource we’ve created which has all of the info, materials, posters, etc. which a church would need to run their own Switch Day. We also encouraged all the churches to switch their church building’s energy suppliers to one of our recommended providers. By doing this the church has the ability to use a referral code system. This means that each time someone uses the church’s code the church receives energy credit and the member receives credit too! This collaborative referral code scheme is called our Switch Hub model. We’ve also got our national training seminar coming up on 27th January. This will be for churches in the wider London Diocese, and the rest of the UK, to get involved in the FE Campaign and learn how to save money and save CO2!

 How can the Stepney area support you in prayer? 

The Switch Day is a community event so we’ve had to get creative with ways we can still help people during this pandemic. But as a team, we’re so aware that the pandemic has placed an even bigger pressure on people. Higher energy bills at home due to lockdown, loss or reduction in income, and as people are forced to turn their thermostats down to lower bills this winter, they’re at an increased risk of the longterm effect of colds, flu, and other raspatory viruses. So, we’d really appreciate your prayers for the Stepney churches running Switch Days this winter; that they’d be able to find creative and innovative ways to run Switch Days and help people during these difficult times.

How can other Churches get involved?

You could run a Switch Day! Find out how by signing up to our national training seminar at 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm on 27th January (on zoom). If you’d like the sign-up information, or if you have any questions, email the team.