Published on 4 Jan 2014 Sections ,

Energy firm apologises for telling customers to share shower

An energy firm that hiked prices by an average of £200 in 2013, apologises after telling customers to share showers to save £34 a year.

An energy firm that hiked prices by an average of £200 in 2013, apologises after telling customers to share showers to save £34 a year. (G)

An energy firm that raised prices by 18 per cent in 2013 has sent out a jokey message to its customers advising them to share showers in order to save money.

“Shower together,” read the advice from First Utility to its customers. “It can save you £34 a year – just ask permission from the other person first!”

It continued: “With the average time in the shower being 10 minutes, there would be a cost of 33p per shower. By showering together for 104 days you will save 104 showers, or £34.32.”

The advice was not welcomed by customers and commentators.

Labour’s shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex described it as “insulting and annoying” for customers. “Issuing ridiculous advice, however tongue in cheek, will insult and annoy many consumers who are struggling to heat and power their homes this winter.”

Other tidbits of advice – styled in the form of a diet called the “5:2 diet” – included advising people not to drink tea or coffee, as not using a kettle for two days a week could save £10 a year, and telling them to go to bed early early to save £18 a year.

“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,” said the company.

Microwaving rather than using the oven could save £20 a year, First Utility suggested.

Savings dwarfed by price rise

The savings were dwarfed by the extra cost added on by a First Utility price hike in 2013. The price rise of 18 per cent meant paying an extra £200 a year for the average dual fuel bill customer.

Heating is a real problem for many in Britain with costs rising sharply each year, and charities warning about the cost of fuel is dragging people into poverty.

Just before Christmas, Action for Children spokesman Jacob Tas warned that Britain was in danger of returning to a Dickensian era:

“Some families now have to make a choice between either paying the rent, paying for heating or paying for food. We are talking about children that are cold at home and are hungry and that is in 2013, which is really painful for everybody involved.

“We can’t go back to the times of Charles Dickens where at Christmastime we are handing out food and clothes. We should be more advanced in our opinion of society where we take care of those who need help the most.”

First Utility apologised from its Twitter account this morning:

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