E.ON 'incredibly sorry' for sending socks to customers after energy campaign backlash

Credit: PA

Energy giant E.ON has apologised for sending pairs of socks to customers to encourage them to reduce their carbon footprint, after the move was branded insensitive as people struggle with soaring energy bills.

The supplier sent the the socks to around 30,000 customers as part of an energy-efficiency saving campaign that started last year.

But with energy bills expected to surge by more than 50 percent to up to £2,000 in April, not everyone saw the funny side of the marketing stunt.

One woman wrote on Twitter: "So with energy bills about to rocket, Eon thinks the best thing to do is to send customers (my mother in this case) a pair of socks."

On Friday, the company said it was "incredibly sorry" for those customers who received the socks, acknowledging the current context of rising energy bills and creeping inflationary pressures.

“This activity was in no way designed to detract from the seriousness of the current energy crisis and the work we are doing to lessen its impact on our customers and we’re incredibly sorry for how we have made some of our customers feel," a statement read.

"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."

Earlier this week, the boss of Ovo Energy admitted that his company made a “mistake” by telling customers they can keep warm by eating lentils.

Stephen Fitzpatrick said the advice from SSE Energy Services, which is owned by Ovo, was “unhelpful” and “upsetting”.

Ovo apologised after it suggested customers cuddle pets and eat porridge to stay warm.

Other advice included wearing a fleece and thick socks, keeping active, and eating whole grains and ginger.

Customers were also told they could open their oven doors after cooking to let the heat into the house, cuddle up to pets or loved ones, open curtains to let in sunlight, and patch up cracks and crevices where heat might be escaping.

The global gas crisis triggered the fastest rise in energy bills on record in October, with further increases to capped bills to cover the cost of bankrupt suppliers due in April.

An alliance of charities, including Age UK and Save the Children, has written to the government calling for urgent action to tackle the energy bill crisis, including boosting insulation funding.

The charities warn fuel poverty could increase from four to six million households, leaving people having to choose between heating and eating, as well as an increase in the number of people dying in cold homes.