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Energy / Carmichael slams advice to ‘cuddle pets and eat porridge’ to stay warm this winter

Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

ENERGY companies should have a “little more care” for the communities they serve after one provider suggested cuddling pets, eating hearty bowls of porridge and doing star jumps to keep warm this winter.

That is the view of Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael, who has slammed controversial energy saving advice recently sent out by supplier OVO to some of its customers.

He said that to say the tips “were tone-deaf would be an insult to the musically inept”.

The playful advice was about cost-effective ways to keep warm this winter without putting up the heating, and it featured in a blog which OVO sent to its SSE Energy Services customers.

Other ways to keep warm included doing a hula-hoop contest with your children and putting on extra layers of clothing.

OVO acquired SSE Energy Services two years ago, and to ease the transition for its customers, OVO continues to trade under the SSE brand whilst it transfers all customers.

A spokesperson for OVO said the company was embarrassed and that it wanted to “sincerely apologise”.

It comes at a time of increasing energy prices, and high levels of fuel poverty in Shetland.

Speaking in response, Carmichael told Shetland News: “People struggling to pay their energy bills are generally not doing so because they are unaware of the benefits of an extra layer or keeping out draughts.

“Saving every scrap of heat is just part of daily life in the isles – we don’t need any lectures on it.

“To their credit the head of Ovo has since apologised unreservedly – at least someone managed to do so this week – but we have to ask where these ideas come from.

“It suggests a degree of disconnect from the reality faced by energy customers who are see the prospect of another massive price hike in the spring.

“The energy market is not like any other – companies that choose to operate in this space need to have a little more care for the families and communities that they serve.”

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