One of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers apologised after suggesting that people “cuddle with their pets” to keep warm amid spiking European energy prices.
SSE Energy Services is a subsidiary of OVO Energy – the third largest energy supplier in Britain.
According to the Financial Times, the firm sent out an email to customers listing 10 “cost-effective” methods of keeping warm during the winter.
Bristol-based Ovo Energy advised customers to cuddle a pet and leave ovens open after cooking to keep warmhttps://t.co/QuSVXHeu61
— BBC West (@BBCBristol) January 11, 2022
These reportedly include doing jumping jacks, “having a cuddle with your pets and loved ones to help stay cosy,” cleaning up the house or holding a “hula hoop contest” with one’s children.
Gas prices surge again in Europe, leaving some business owners 'terrified' for the future https://t.co/UN0sJC49B2
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 5, 2022
The email came as energy costs skyrocket across Europe over the winter, with Bank of America saying that European energy bills are up 54% from 2020 levels.
Households in Europe are set to pay an average of 54% more for energy than they did two years ago, due to soaring natural gas and power prices across the region, BofA says https://t.co/LjjMArX2QN
— Bloomberg (@business) January 5, 2022
The message received significant backlash from UK lawmakers, with Labour MP Darren Jones tweeting:
“I’m not sure who signed off a marketing campaign telling people to wear a jumper and eat porridge instead of turning on the heating if you can’t afford it.”
Jones added that the suggestion was “plainly offensive” to families struggling with heating costs.
Tory MP Theresa Villiers called the suggestion “pretty insensitive,” though added that it was probably well-intentioned.
According to Breitbart, one UK government source said the advice sounded “like some Dickensian nightmare”.
The energy firm apologised profusely after the backlash, saying in a statement:
“Last week a link to a blog containing energy-saving tips was sent to customers. We understand how difficult the situation will be for many of our customers this year.
“We are working hard to find meaningful solutions as we approach this energy crisis, and we recognise that the content of this blog was poorly judged and unhelpful.
“We are embarrassed and sincerely apologise.”
This week the Polish government announced that it will dramatically cut VAT on petrol from next month to combat inflation and the soaring cost of energy in Europe.
— gript (@griptmedia) January 10, 2022