Mutual Aid guide


Since the increase in the energy price cap hit household bills in 2022, millions of people are finding they cannot afford their energy bills.

In this context there is an urgent need to support each other - whether you can’t pay, won’t pay or are being threatened with action from your energy company.

Continuing the strike as an individual can be exhausting and scary when confronted by texts, emails, letters and phone calls from energy companies. Some energy companies are already switching smart meters to pre-payment meters remotely and unlawfully, without doing vulnerability checks. People who are in arrears might already be facing physical attempts to install a pre-payment meter.

We need to draw strength from each other to continue to strike until we achieve our demands. It is through local mutual aid that we build and maintain the strike.


“Mutual aid means that every participant is both giver and recipient in acts of care that bind them together, as distinct from the one-way street of charity. ”
― Rebecca Solnit.

Mutual aid does not mean creating new charities where a few dedicated people help those in need of support. There are a number of charities already doing that! Charity is stigmatising and disempowering. Mutual aid is not borne out of pity.

Mutual aid is transformative​​​​. By looking after each other, we learn that we can look after ourselves and our communities, without conditions imposed on us by charities and government services, and that this is better for us all because we know what we need and want.


When thinking about developing mutual aid it is useful to think of this strike as a journey, with some people starting much earlier than others, unable to afford the first hike in April 2022, and many others joining them along the way. Be aware that people are striking in different ways, and that some are on smart or prepayment metres. Different forms of mutual aid might be useful at different points of the journey, as those who started earlier will have higher debts and more likely to be threatened with prepayment meters. Those who just started might not even have heard from their electricity company, whilst others might be receiving lots of unpleasant emails/ texts and phone calls.

Meeting face to face

You can start by meeting up with local strikers to talk about why and how you are striking, or would like to strike. Share your concerns, your ideas, your information with each other and think of ways you could be there for each other during the strike. Link up to other local strikers creating a mutual aid network.

Create local mutual aid drop ins: warm spaces where people can come together to learn about how they can give and receive mutual aid.

Meeting online

Create digital spaces such as groups on social media and messaging platforms for local people to come together to share their experiences and to learn about how they can give and receive mutual aid.

An excellent example of this is the national DPUK Strike Group which you can join here

Calling circles

Share phone numbers so that when a member of the group is under threat or becomes concerned about their personal circumstances, they can call someone to talk about it.

Include everyone in the strike

Create opportunities for people to become active with the local groups, especially those that cannot strike or who are homebound due to disability, old age or caring responsibilities. Provide lists of tasks that need doing, including those that can be done from home.


Organise social events to fundraise for a striker solidarity fund, so that people who have been forcibly moved to a prepayment meter following their strike can pay for their energy supply and keep warm. Do make it clear that this is a solidarity fund for Don’t Pay activists, not a charitable fund for those who are not involved in the strike.

Find allies

Many groups have overlapping aims and will face overlapping challenges. Working together in civil resistance will build a more effective challenge to those in authority who wish to weaken the community by building on divisions between us and other groups. Some groups you can contact in your area include:


Once you have created your local groups - whether digital, face to face or a combination of both - you can:

  • Discuss how to respond to intimidation or harassment from energy companies. Find out what others did, what worked and what wasn’t as successful.
  • Get together to listen to or watch Don’t Pay resources and learn what happens when you strike and what you can do to resist your energy companies.
  • Attend court hearings collectively to prevent the courts signing off warrants automatically. If you have evidence of vulnerability in your household, take it with you.
  • Assemble in good numbers outside homes suffering harassment from debt collectors or attempts to install physical pre-payment meters to make it more difficult for them to gain entry and to show support for those under threat.


  • Try to avoid giving advice, i.e telling people what to do, we are not experts, just give information and show support.
  • If people have acute needs such as support with dealing with domestic violence, are at risk of homelessness, mental health crises, signpost them to relevant local or national support services. See this useful list created by DPUK.
  • People will be taking the risk of getting into debt. We need to be upfront and honest about this and make sure they are taking steps to put aside whatever money they can to help deal with debts in future.
  • Building mutual aid can take time but it will be worth it for everyone involved in the campaign.
  • Be attentive to how much energy your local group has, if it is low, start off with low intensity mutual aid. For example if you have low capacity you can set up a social media mutual aid group. If you are thinking about doing an in-person drop in, make it available for a few hours a week, doing it everyday would not be sustainable unless you had a huge capacity.