Britain’s third-largest energy supplier, which has sparked fury after advising households to save on heating bills this winter by “cuddling” their pets, is reportedly cutting a quarter of its workforce amid a backdrop of worsening of the gas crisis.
Ovo Energy would cut about 1,700 of the 6,200 jobs under a voluntary layoff program in an attempt to cut costs.
The energy company reportedly intends to shut down several sites across the country in order to focus on London, Glasgow and Bristol, but will open a new academy in Glasgow, a source said. Sky News.
Ovo’s announcement will also include a pledge to raise the minimum wage across the company to £ 12 an hour as well as to ‘relocate’ all customer-facing jobs to the UK, the source said.
The development comes amid a difficult week for Ovo, after the company was criticized for sending an email to its customers recommending that they save on their heating bills this winter in “Cuddle” their pets, “clean up” or “do some star jumps”.
Ovo Energy sent customers an email on Monday listing ten “easy, low-cost ways to keep warm this winter.” They included having a “hug with your pets and loved ones to help keep you comfortable”, eating “hearty bowls of porridge”, sticking to “soft drinks” and eating ginger – but not chili. , “because it makes you sweat”
Ovo Energy sent customers an email on Monday listing ten “Simple, Cost-Effective Ways to Stay Warm This Winter”
Stephen Fitzpatrick, the energy supplier’s £ 675million boss, later apologized for the email and said: ‘Someone has had a bad day’.
Mr. Fitzpatrick did not disclose whether the person who wrote the email had been fired, but admitted his suggestions were “heartbreaking and embarrassing.”
Energy bills for millions of households are expected to rise by more than 50 percent in April to reach £ 2,000 a year, when Britain’s energy price cap is adjusted.
MailOnline revealed earlier this week that Mr Fitzpatrick enjoys a sprawling five-bedroom weekend home in the heart of the picturesque Cotswolds, near Cirencester, which is worth £ 3.2million and costs £ 850 a month in power.
Mr Fitzpatrick bought the old parsonage, which has a swimming pool, six bedrooms and four bathrooms, for £ 2.9million in 2019.
His business is in the crosshairs after coming up with “simple, cost-effective ways” to help keep customers warm during the winter, other than turning on the heat, including by “hugging” a cat, by eating “hearty bowls of porridge” and sticking to “soft drinks”.
Other suggestions in the email, sent to customers of SSE Energy Services, a retail gas and electricity company that was acquired by Ovo in 2020, suggested eating ginger – but not chili. , “because it makes you sweat”. Or try to ‘clean the house’, have a family ‘hoop contest’ or ‘do some star jumps’.
Mr Fitzpatrick, born in Belfast, told the BBC: “I would like to start by apologizing once again. Unfortunately it is the case that we are a big company and someone has had a bad day, they sent an email and we should have caught it, it’s an email that should never have been written.
“I think it was probably with good intentions, but it’s the kind of email that causes a lot of anger. No one takes the situation of UK customers more seriously than I do, so it’s really upsetting and embarrassing ”.
When asked if he was concerned that the reputation of the company had been seriously damaged, he said: “I hope the British public will understand that not everyone is successful all the time”
“We have spent five or six years investing tens of millions of pounds in technology that can help customers reduce their carbon footprint, save energy and save money. porridge and not to drink wine. It’s just embarrassing and I hope we were adamant about the way we handled this ”.
Stephen Fitzpatrick founded Ovo Energy in 2009 and admits that the email sent to customers was demeaning for the company which made him £ 675million.
Ovo Energy boss Stephen Fitzpatrick owns this sprawling five-bedroom house in the Cotswolds which has its own swimming pool and is now worth around £ 3.2million.
Which energy suppliers have gone bankrupt so far
- Attract energy
- Orbit Energy Limited
- Neon Limited Energy
- Social Energy Supply Ltd
- CNG energy
- Omni Energy Limited
- MA Limited Energy
- Zebra Power Limited
- Ampoweruk Ltd
- Bluegreen Energy Services Limited
- GOTO Energy Limited
- Daligas Limited
- Pure planet
- Colorado Energy
- Energy igloo
- Symbio Energy
- Avro Energy
- Limited green supplier
- Point of service
- The energy of the people
- PFP energy
- MoneyPlus Energy
Mr Fitzpatrick, who was called a disruptor to the UK energy market when he founded Ovo in 2009, which made him one of the richest people in the country.
MPs called his company’s advice “insulting” and “offensive” as Britons face a crushing cost-of-living crisis with a government figure describing the suggestion to eat porridge and cut back on alcohol as “like a Dickensian nightmare”.
The email was sent to customers of SSE Energy Services, which was acquired by Ovo in 2020.
It comes as the energy bills of millions of households are expected to increase by more than 50% in April.
Rishi Sunak is under increasing pressure among Tory MPs to tackle the energy crisis after Boris Johnson said he “constantly” meets with the Chancellor to discuss rising energy bills.
Charities have warned that soaring energy prices could plunge millions more households into “fuel poverty”.
It comes as official figures suggest inflation could reach its highest level in more than 30 years in 2022 if ministers choose not to control rising energy bills in April.
The government’s projections are supposed to warn that a sharp rise in consumer energy costs could push inflation up by a further two percentage points in the spring.
Financial services firm Goldman Sachs provided an equally damning picture, warning that rising fuel bills could see inflation hit 6.8% in April.
Experts have warned that the latest squeeze could be even worse than the credit crunch 14 years ago, thanks to a toxic combination of price spikes, the looming national insurance hike and more than a million dollars. people dragged into the higher tax rate.
Britain privatized British Gas in 1986 and, after a series of deregulation moves since then, the consumer market has seen a plethora of different companies – some mostly simple traders – offering gas and electricity to consumers. households.
Many of these companies have now gone bankrupt, caught between a government-imposed price cap that limits what companies can charge consumers, and the wholesale price of natural gas. The next price cap review will be announced on February 7.
It comes after industry bosses have warned that a taxpayer-funded support program for energy-consuming businesses affected by the outbreak may be just a “flimsy band-aid.”
Boris Johnson is reportedly backing a plan drawn up by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng for state loans to businesses threatened with closure over the winter.
Questions and answers on the energy bill crisis
How much do environmental taxes add to bills?
The latest figures from the energy watchdog Ofgem show that 25.48% of electricity bills in August 2021 were for “costs related to environmental and social obligations”. On gas bills, it was only 2.46 percent. According to Ofgem, the average bill for a dual fuel household was £ 1,184 in 2020, with £ 182 for green taxes.
Who receives the money?
Mainly the government – to pay for “environmental and social programs”. These range from the Hot House Rebate, which gives a rebate of £ 140 each year to poor retirees, to feed-in tariffs, which pay homeowners for the energy they produce using green technologies such as solar panels.
Who brought them?
Some were introduced under Labor, but tariffs have skyrocketed under the coalition government. David Cameron would then have told the ministers to “get rid of all this green shit”. Green tariffs will also start paying for a £ 450million program for heat pumps to replace gas boilers.
Are environmental taxes still necessary?
Probably not, because the cost of supplying renewable energy has fallen so much. It is also argued that phasing out gas boilers should wait until replacements are better and cheaper.
Is there any other way to collect money?
The transfer of the burden to general taxation is an option. The rich would then pay more, rather than everyone paying roughly the same in energy bills.