Energy company First Utility has been publicly slated for the advice it gave to customers on how to save money on their fuel bills., with one MP labelling the advice as “ridiculous” and “insulting”.
The advice, which the company published as part of its energy-saving ‘tips and tools’, included suggestions like showering with other people; skipping hot drinks and going to bed earlier than usual to use less electricity.
It also suggested to customers that they watch less TV and read instead, or play board games with the family, such as Monopoly. While aspects of the advice carried practical and logical sense, it was overall met with strong backlash from customers and the government.
Shadow Energy minister Tom Greatrex said that the advice was “insulting” to millions of people who struggle to pay their bills every year due to rising energy prices. He said:
“Rising energy bills really aren’t a laughing matter and cause genuine hardship for millions of people. Issuing ridiculous advice, however tongue-in-cheek, will insult and annoy many customers who are struggling to heat and power their homes this winter.”
First Utility is the largest independent energy provider outside of the Big Six, founded in 2008 and serving around 120,000 customers. It likened its energy saving methods to the popular 5:2 weight loss diet, saying customers just needed to stick to its “low-usage energy plan” on the two ‘fast’ days, and using what they liked on the other five days of the week.
It claims that showering with other people could save a household £34 a year, adding jokingly, “Just ask permission from the other person first!”
It also said that “putting out the lights and turning off the box” could save £18 a year…and could be “lots of fun” too.
Another suggestion was to give up hot drinks, as not boiling the kettle for two days a week could save around £10 a year. Other, not-so-ridiculous ideas included cooking in bulk; using the microwave to heat or cook food, and watching less TV, choosing to read or play a board game instead.
While some of the company’s suggestions are similar to what is read in most energy-saving government guides, many will no doubt be incredulous as to some of the undeniably brain-dead ideas First Utility is advocating.
First Utility customers are charged an average of £1,120 per year for dual fuel and received considerable criticism last year for raising its energy prices 18 percent.