Can’t afford to heat your house? Cuddle the cat, says Britain’s third-biggest energy supplier


‘Cuddle your cat and do star jumps if you can’t afford to heat your house’: Fury at ‘insensitive’ advice from Britain’s third-biggest energy supplier as families face £2,000 hike to bills and amid calls on Sunak to tackle cost of living crisis

  • Britain’s third-biggest energy supplier urged people to cuddle pets to keep warm
  • Ovo Energy emailed customers listing ‘simple ways to keep warm this winter’
  • They included eating ‘hearty bowls of porridge’ and ‘doing a few star jumps’ 
  • MPs called the advice ‘insulting’ as Britons face a crushing cost-of-living crisis 


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One of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers has sparked fury after recommending that households save on their heating bills by ‘cuddling’ their cat.

Ovo Energy sent an email to customers on Monday listing ten ‘simple and cost effective ways to keep warm this winter’.

They included having a ‘cuddle with your pets and loved ones to help stay cosy’, eating ‘hearty bowls of porridge’, sticking to ‘non-alcoholic drinks’ and eating ginger — but not chilli, ‘as it makes you sweat’.

Also included is advice to ‘get moving’ by ‘doing a few star jumps’, cleaning the house, or ‘challenging the kids to a hula-hoop contest’.

The email, seen by the Financial Times, was sent to customers of SSE Energy Services, which was bought by Ovo in 2020.

MPs called the advice ‘insulting’ and ‘offensive’ as Britons face a crushing cost-of-living crisis. One Government figure told the FT the advice to eat porridge and cut out alcohol was ‘like some Dickensian nightmare’.

Labour’s Darren Jones, chair of the Business Select Committee, demanded Ovo apologise to its customers for the ‘insensitive’ comments. 

Energy bills for millions of households are expected to jump by more than 50 pet cent in April to £2,000 a year, when Britain’s energy price cap is adjusted.

Rishi Sunak is under growing pressure among Tory backbenchers to tackle the crisis after Boris Johnson said he is ‘constantly’ meeting with the Chancellor to discuss rising energy bills. 

One of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers has sparked fury after recommending that households save on their heating bills by ‘cuddling’ their cat

One of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers has sparked fury after recommending that households save on their heating bills by ‘cuddling’ their cat

One of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers has sparked fury after recommending that households save on their heating bills by ‘cuddling’ their cat

Ovo Energy sent an email to customers on Monday listing ten ‘simple and cost effective ways to keep warm this winter’. They included having a ‘cuddle with your pets and loved ones to help stay cosy’, eating ‘hearty bowls of porridge’, sticking to ‘non-alcoholic drinks’ and eating ginger — but not chilli, ‘as it makes you sweat’

Ovo Energy sent an email to customers on Monday listing ten ‘simple and cost effective ways to keep warm this winter’. They included having a ‘cuddle with your pets and loved ones to help stay cosy’, eating ‘hearty bowls of porridge’, sticking to ‘non-alcoholic drinks’ and eating ginger — but not chilli, ‘as it makes you sweat’

Ovo Energy sent an email to customers on Monday listing ten ‘simple and cost effective ways to keep warm this winter’. They included having a ‘cuddle with your pets and loved ones to help stay cosy’, eating ‘hearty bowls of porridge’, sticking to ‘non-alcoholic drinks’ and eating ginger — but not chilli, ‘as it makes you sweat’

Former Tory Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers called the advice ‘pretty insensitive’, adding: ‘Many people are very anxious about rising energy bills and won’t take kindly to being told to do some star jumps’.

And Clive Lewis called the guidance ‘clown-like’ and ‘depressing’. He told the FT: ‘It is laughable and insulting, but then with this Government’s lack of an energy strategy you almost expect it’.

The Labour MP added that the comments ‘will be read by people who have to choose between eating and heating… if that’s the state of the country we are now in I find it quite depressing’.

An Ovo spokesman told the FT: ‘We understand how difficult the situation will be for many of our customers this year.

Ovo Energy sent an email to customers on Monday listing ten ‘simple and cost effective ways to keep warm this winter’

Ovo Energy sent an email to customers on Monday listing ten ‘simple and cost effective ways to keep warm this winter’

Ovo Energy sent an email to customers on Monday listing ten ‘simple and cost effective ways to keep warm this winter’

‘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.’

Charities have warned that the energy price surge could plunge millions more households into ‘fuel poverty’.

It comes as official figures suggested that inflation could soar to its highest level in more than 30 years in 2022 should ministers choose not to place any controls on increasing energy bills in April.

Government projections are understood to be warning that steep rises to consumers’s energy costs could see inflation rise by a further two percentage points come spring.

Financial services company Goldman Sachs provided a similarly damning picture as they warned hiking up fuel bills could see inflation hitting 6.8 per cent in April.

Experts have warned the latest squeeze could be even worse than the credit crunch 14 years ago, thanks to a toxic combination of spiking prices, the looming national insurance hike, and over a million people being dragged into the higher rate of tax. 

Mr Sunak is due to hold talks with Tory MPs in the coming days as he tries to dampen Conservative anger on the issue.

Some Tory backbenchers are adamant the Chancellor and the PM must act now to address soaring energy bills and spiking inflation.

Mr Johnson revealed during a visit to a vaccination centre in Uxbridge that he met with Mr Sunak on Sunday night to discuss the energy issue.

Labour’s Darren Jones, chair of the Business Select Committee, demanded Ovo apologise to its customers for the ‘insensitive’ comments

Labour’s Darren Jones, chair of the Business Select Committee, demanded Ovo apologise to its customers for the ‘insensitive’ comments

Labour’s Darren Jones, chair of the Business Select Committee, demanded Ovo apologise to its customers for the ‘insensitive’ comments

Charities have warned that the energy price surge could plunge millions more households into ‘fuel poverty’ (file image)

Charities have warned that the energy price surge could plunge millions more households into ‘fuel poverty’ (file image)

Charities have warned that the energy price surge could plunge millions more households into ‘fuel poverty’ (file image) 

The PM said he knows that rising fuel costs are ‘making life very tough’ and he understands ‘how difficult it is’ for people.

He said ‘we’re certainly looking at what we can do’ as he hinted action will be taken before April when the energy price cap is due to be reviewed and a National Insurance hike will go ahead.

One of the options being considered by ministers is to offer energy firms billions of pounds in loans so they can spread the current higher-than-normal cost of gas over a longer period. This would enable them to avoid having to hit consumers with a massive bill increase in April.

Mr Johnson’s comments came after Michael Gove said Government support on energy bills should be targeted at ‘those most in need’.

A new poll has revealed one third of Britons fear they will be unable to pay their energy bills this year. A YouGov survey published by The Times found 33 per cent of people expect their fuel bills to become unaffordable in 2022.

Meanwhile, 86 per cent are braced for the cost of living to increase and two thirds (67 per cent) are personally worried about rising prices.

Boris Johnson is under growing pressure after a new poll found one third of Britons fear they will be unable to pay their energy bills this year because of the worsening cost of living crisis

Boris Johnson is under growing pressure after a new poll found one third of Britons fear they will be unable to pay their energy bills this year because of the worsening cost of living crisis

Boris Johnson is under growing pressure after a new poll found one third of Britons fear they will be unable to pay their energy bills this year because of the worsening cost of living crisis

The Prime Minister is expected to hold further talks with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng this week as they try to agree measures to help struggling families with their energy bills

The Prime Minister is expected to hold further talks with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng this week as they try to agree measures to help struggling families with their energy bills

The Prime Minister is expected to hold further talks with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng this week as they try to agree measures to help struggling families with their energy bills

The PM is expected to hold further talks with Mr Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng this week.

Tory MPs are hitting the panic button over the prospect of the eye-watering £12billion National Insurance increase taking effect in April, with the backlash sparking a tense standoff between Jacob Rees-Mogg and Rishi Sunak in Cabinet this week.

Families also face further painful tax rises later this year, designed to pull in more money for spending on the NHS and social care.

National Insurance is rising by 1.25 per cent while a freezing of income tax brackets will mean more people are dragged into higher rates.

The Chancellor had previously spoken of a sustained 1 per cent rise in interest rates adding an extra £25billion to government debt — which already stood at approximately £2.2trillion at the end of the financial year in March 2021.

Mr Kwarteng has been locked in talks with energy bosses since last year, with his aim being to broker new measures that could possibly reduce huge rises in consumers’s bills. 

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