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Ovo slammed for telling customers to do star jumps to keep warm

Written by: Emma Lunn
The energy provider has been criticised for emailing customers patronising advice about how to reduce energy bills as energy prices soar.

Ovo’s advice included hugging a pet, doing star jumps, avoiding alcohol, wearing extra layers, drinking water and eating “hearty bowls of porridge”.

The email included a link to a blog post listing 10 ways to “keep warm this winter”. Other ideas included hula hoop competitions and cleaning the house. It also suggested customers avoid eating chilli because it might make you sweat.

The email was sent out to customers of SSE, which Ovo acquired in 2020, making it the UK’s third biggest energy supplier. The blog post has now been removed. 

As criticism of the advice gathered pace on social media and in the press, Ovo apologised for the email and admitted it was “poorly judged and unhelpful”.

Labour MP Darren Jones, chair of the Commons business select committee, called the advice “insensitive”.

He later Tweeted: “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-saving advice from Ovo came the day after the Labour party laid down plans to cut household energy bills

Industry experts have warned that energy bills could go up by hundreds of pounds each year.Trade body Energy UK has predicted that gas and electricity bills could rise by a further 50% by spring this year, while fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEAh) has warned that gas bills could double

The warnings pile pressure on the government to introduce new measures to help households with the cost of energy. Wholesale gas prices have continued to climb throughout the past year, leading to soaring energy bills.

The new energy price cap, which will take effect from 1 April, is due to be announced in early February.

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