The advice is part of a long list of energy saving tips that SSE has emailed to customers and posted on its website amid a gas price crisis that is expected to send an average household bill of 56% to £ 2,000 or more in April
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The UK’s third largest energy supplier has come under fire after asking customers to ‘make star jumps’ and ‘pet pets’ to limit their heating bills ahead of one of the highest energy price increases ever.
SSE apologized, saying it was “embarrassing” after advising customers to keep their bills low by eating ‘full bowls of porridge’ and ‘making a few star jumps’.
MPs called the guidance issued by a department of Ovo Energy “insulting” and “offensive” as millions of UK households are facing a “cost-of-living disaster” in the spring.
Next month, the regulator Ofgem will set the price cap for the rest of the year – and push the energy bill to as much as £ 2,000 a year for an average household at a direct debit tariff.
The email sent out to customers at SSE Energy Services, which Ovo bought in 2020, listed 10 ‘simple and cost-effective ways to keep warm this winter’, such as ‘stick to non-alcoholic beverages’, do household chores and ‘encourage blood flow’ by eating ginger, but avoid chili ‘as it makes you sweat’.
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Customers were also advised to drink more water along with the warning that the “warming feeling from wine or whiskey is temporary as you will soon lose the heat from your core and end up feeling even colder”.
Conservative MP and former minister Theresa Villiers said the council was likely well-meaning but at the same time ‘insensitive’.
“A lot of people are very worried about rising energy bills and would not kindly accept being told to do some star jumps,” she said.
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Labor MP Darren Jones, who also chairs the House of Commons’ business, energy and industry strategy committee, said the company should apologize to its customers. “Being told to put on a jumper instead of turning on your heat if you can not afford it, at a time of such difficulty for so many families, is clearly offensive,” he said.
Campaigns fear that fuel poverty could hit the highest level since registrations began, unless the government intervenes and warns that 6 million British homes may not be able to pay energy bills after a further rise in prices in the spring.
The Prime Minister is in negotiations to bring down consumer bills without putting unsustainable pressure on energy providers after more than 26 companies went bankrupt last year.
It is unlikely that a VAT cut will continue, but an extension of the hot housing rebate could be pushed forward to help 800,000 more households.
Last night, the company apologized and admitted that the advice was “poorly rated and inappropriate”.
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 recognize that the content of this blog was poorly assessed and inappropriate “We are embarrassed and sincerely apologize.”
James Daley, of Fairer Finance, a campaign group, said: “For some families, it will be a choice between warming up and eating out. The idea that the right thing to do is turn down the heat and go and buy some socks – The reality is “Families in that situation will not be able to afford it. I’m not sure it strikes the right note and I’m sure some people will be offended by it.”