A second big energy supplier has been forced to apologise to thousands of British households after offering unwelcome advice on how to keep warm during the national energy crisis – with a pair of socks.
E.ON Next said it was “incredibly sorry” after sending pairs of polyester socks branded with advice to turn down heating to help reduce carbon emissions to about 30,000 households that had taken part in an energy saving campaign last year.
Many of the new E.ON Next sock owners took to social media to criticise the “pitiful package”, which was delivered to homes in the same week that Ovo Energy was forced to apologise for a customer letter urging households to cuddle a pet or perform star jumps to keep warm.
I had the SSE email recommending cuddling the cat and star jumps … my relative has today received from EON, an actual pair of socks 😳🙄 pic.twitter.com/EN3Ka0qvnH
— Chrissy Fincham (@chrissyfincham) January 13, 2022
British households face some of the highest energy bills on record this winter because of record high market prices that could drive fuel poverty levels to the highest since records began.
E.ON Next said on Twitter: “If you recently received a pair of socks from us, we would like to say we are incredibly sorry for how we have made some people feel. In light of the seriousness of current challenges that many people are facing, this mailing should have been stopped and we are sorry.”
The apology comes days after Stephen Fitzpatrick, the boss of Ovo Energy, which bought SSE’s supply business two years ago, was forced to apologise for a “ridiculous” email that urged customers to enjoy “hearty bowls of porridge” or a “hula hoop contest” to help stay warm this winter.
— Lord Hornchurch (@LordHornchurch) January 14, 2022
“It’s really upsetting and embarrassing for me to come on air and apologise for something that we really should never have written,” Fitzpatrick told the BBC.
A spokesman for E.ON Next, part of the German energy group E.ON, said the socks were “in no way designed to detract from the seriousness of the current energy crisis” and the work the company has been doing “to lessen its impact on our customers”.
He added: “This campaign originally went ahead last year and was intended as a fun way to encourage people to think about ‘lightening your carbon footprint’ and isn’t meant to be anything to do with the current challenges many people are facing.”