E.ON apologises for sending customers free socks during energy crisis

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Energy company E.ON has apologised for sending socks as presents to customers as a way to help them keep warm ahead of a massive spike in energy prices.

Despite the ongoing fuel crisis, neither of the two largest parties in the UK are currently promoting the idea of re-nationalising the sector.

‘We’re sorry for how we made you feel’

The company shipped a free pair of polyester socks to 30,000 households it supplies with energy, the Daily Mail reported. The customers had reportedly engaged with one of E.ON’s energy saving campaigns last year and the socks were there to encourage them to continue to save energy. E.ON said it should not have gone ahead with the plan in light of major price rises that are about to hit millions of households.

The company said:

If you recently received a pair of socks from us, we would like to say we are incredibly sorry for how we have made some people feel.

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In light of the seriousness of current challenges that many people are facing, this mailing should have been stopped and we are sorry.

The apology comes just days after rival energy firm Ovo said it was sorry for giving customers advice on how to save energy. In an email to customers, Ovo dished out normal advice like putting on a jumper, but also more uncommon remedies such as eating lentils/ginger or cuddling up to pets.

Increases looming

The government has just a few weeks before Ofgem announces its new price cap. Experts expect that the price of energy will soar by more than 50% to around £2,000 for the average household. It could remove around £700 from the pockets of struggling families across the country at a time when prices are also going up in shops.

Ofgem will set the new price cap in early February before it comes into force on 1 April. The government and energy companies have been in talks to decide how to offset the price hike. Many are advocating a cut to VAT but that will save households less than £100 each. Some energy companies want the government to back loans worth £20bn, arguing this will let the sector smooth the price hike so it does not hit customers all at once. Another suggestion is to increase the amount that is available for people under the Warm Home Discount Scheme, and expand eligibility.

The crisis has led to talk of nationalisation, albeit not from the Conservative or Labour parties. In September 2021, Keir Starmer actually made it clear that Labour would not re-nationalise the failing sector despite how popular such a move would likely be.

Writing in the i newspaper, a Bulb employee said of nationalisation:

The fact that the company’s continued operations are being paid for by the UK government shows how straightforward the process could be

They also noted:

Since the privatisation of the energy sector back in 1990, energy companies have funnelled billions of pounds back to private shareholders. Since then, the price people pay for their energy bills has continued to increase despite the argument that a privatised energy sector would be more efficient and therefore cheaper

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