Ovo Energy sorry over ‘offensive’ tips to cuddle pets and do star jumps to stay warm

Ovo Energy has apologised after it advised customers they could "have a cuddle with their pets" and eat porridge to stay warm and save on heating bills.

The firm conceded the advice, which was part of a blog with a wider list of tips, was “poorly judged” and “unhelpful”.

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What happened?

According to the Financial Times, Britain' s third-largest energy supplier emailed customers of SSE Energy Services, which Ovo bought in 2020, a list of 10 "simple and cost-effective ways to keep warm this winter" last week.

Other tips included "challenging the kids to a hula hoop competition", "doing star jumps", and "cleaning the house".

This comes after concerns over the cost of living amid rising energy bills.

According to some predictions, energy bills could rise by more than 50% in April for millions of households on a standard tariff.

What has been said?

Darren Jones, Bristol North West MP and chairman of the Business Select Committee branded Ovo Energy's tips as "offensive" and "insensitive".

Speaking to the Financial Times, who first reported the story, the Labour MP said: "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".

Ovo has apologised for the tips telling the FT "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."

In a tweet following Ovo Energy's apology, Mr Jones said: "Good, I'm glad they apologised. 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."

The energy crisis

In April, the price cap, which limits the amounts of energy suppliers can charge, will rise.

It is already at a record £1,277, but analysis at Investec estimates it could go up to £1,995.

The increases are due to a major spike in global gas prices, which have been pushed up by high demand around the world.

Trade body Energy UK's chief executive Emma Pinchbeck, said last month that the Government could cut each household bill by £90 by slashing taxes or VAT.

Meanwhile, bills could be cut by a further £190 by bringing forward proposals on removing policy costs.