Insensitive advice from SSE energy (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy plc) one of the UK’s largest energy suppliers as the government struggles to come up with a solution. – Owl
Hug pets or do star-jumps to stay warm if you can’t afford heating, energy supplier suggests
By Nick Duffy inews.co.uk
People should hug their pets for warmth and exercise to stay warm to avoid having to turn up the heating, one of the UK’s largest energy suppliers has suggested.
The email was sent to customers of SSE Energy, the electricity and gas supplier acquired by Ovo in 2020, suggesting “simple and cost-effective ways to keep warm this winter”.
Charities have warned that millions will be left struggling to afford heating in the year to come after adjustments to the energy price cap in April, with the average consumer expected to see their bills go up from £1,277 to £1,865 a year, an increase of 50 per cent.
SSE’s “tips” for consumers trying to “keep an eye on” their bill prices, still available on its website, suggests that “putting on another layer of clothing is the best thing you can do to keep warm without touching the thermostat.”
It adds: “Some brisk activity will help warm you up. You don’t have to nip down to the gym. Try cleaning the house, challenging the kids to a hula-hoop contest, or doing a few star jumps. You only need to do just enough to create a little extra heat until you feel warm again.”
If that fails, SSE suggests consumers should “have a cuddle with your pets and loved ones to help stay cosy”.
People struggling to keep their bills down could also apparently enjoy “hearty bowls of porridge” or eat ginger that “keeps you warm by encouraging blood flow”.
Labour MP Darren Jones, chair of Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, told the Financial Times that Ovo should apologize for the “insensitive” remarks.
“Being told to put on a jumper instead of turning on your heating if you can’t afford it, at a time of such difficulty for so many families, is plainly offensive,” he said.
Former Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers said that while the advice was likely well-intentioned, “many people are very anxious about rising energy bills and won’t take kindly to being told to do some star jumps.”
Ovo said: “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.”