First Utility's tips for saving money on energy bills are funny. Not.
It must be nice to be an energy company. Not only do you have customers over an (oil) barrel, but you can charge yourself what you like for your energy and then joke about how the freezing population can save a few pennies. According to the Standard, First Utility’s latest PR stunt has backfired somewhat.
Jumping on the new year diet bandwagon, the UK’s largest independent (i.e. not Big 6) energy company has reportedly issued advice to consumers on how to stick to a 5:2 energy diet- the idea being that you use all the energy you need to keep warm, eat and wash on 5 days a week, but ‘fast’ for two days a week. Rip-roaring fun all round.
Tips for energy fasting include the hilarious “shower together. It can save you £34 a year — just ask permission from the other person first!” and the side-splitting “opt for an early night… it’s up to you what you do but putting out the lights and turning off the box can save you £18 a year — and it could be lots of fun.” The company, who increased bills by 18% last year- almost six times the rate of inflation- also advocates eating microwaved meals, playing monopoly instead of using a games console and giving up tea and coffee on fast days- the latter saving a massive £8.79 a year.
While most of us enjoy a good laugh, many people think this is just in poor taste, mindful of the rising number of people who die each year just from the cold. Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex said the advice was an “insult” to millions of people struggling to pay their bills :
“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 consumers who are struggling to heat and power their homes this winter. Instead, they should be helping customers make their homes more energy efficient.”
Industry watchdog Consumer Futures told the Standard: “Fuel Poverty levels in the UK are extremely high with 6.5 million households affected. More needs to be done to help consumers, ideally through a robust and well targeted energy efficiency programme.”
Comparison site Energy Helpline were more concerned with the modern-day etiquette of sharing showers if you are living in shared accommodation with undesirable flatmates.
So what do you think? Have energy consumers just lost their sense of humour or should First Utility really have known better?