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UK energy giant apologises for telling customers to cuddle pets to stay warm

A British energy supplier has apologised for the “poorly judged and unhelpful” advice sent to customers which suggested they could snuggle up to their pets and exercise to cut back on their heating bills.

SSE, which is owned by OVO Energy, suggested 10 “simple and cost-effective ways to keep warm this winter,” according to the Financial Times, which first reported the story.

Eating bowls of porridge, doing star jumps and cuddling pets were among the recommendations on the now-deleted web page.

Britons have been told to cuddle their pets to stay warm this winter.
Britons have been told to cuddle their pets to stay warm this winter. (AP)

In a statement sent to CNN a spokesperson for OVO Energy said: “Recently 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,” the spokesperson added.

Some British businesses and households have seen their energy bills rise in recent months, as suppliers grapple with a sharp rise in wholesale gas prices.

British consumers will pay roughly $1500 more to heat and light their homes this year, according to Bank of America. Wholesale European gas prices have jumped by 400 per cent over the previous year and electricity prices have increased by 300 per cent, the bank’s analysts said last week. The increases have been driven by cold weather, nuclear plant outages in France and reduced gas flow from Russia.

Heating costs have skyrocketed in the UK during a brisk winter.
Heating costs have skyrocketed in the UK during a brisk winter. (AP)

According to National Energy Action, more than 4 million UK households are in the grip of fuel poverty – a figure which the charity believes could rise by 2 million in April when a cap on energy prices is expected to increase.

OVO Energy removed its advice after a wave of angry responses from lawmakers and campaigners.

Following the apology, British politician Darren Jones, who chairs Parliament’s business select committee, tweeted: “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.”

Halima Begum, head of race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust, criticised the “offensive” and “inconsiderate” advice, particularly in regards to the exercise suggestion and the implications for those who are disabled.

Some Lithgow roads were forced to close due to the flooding.

Lithgow hit by flash flooding after sudden downpour

Begum said half of the seven million people living in poverty in the UK are disabled or live in a family with a person in a wheelchair. “And they should starjump to maintain their basic right to warmth?” she wrote on Twitter.

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