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"Irresponsible" advice given to elderly

13th December 2005

A Scottish energy firm has been branded "irresponsible" by a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the advice it has issued to elderly people.

Scottish Hydro Electric has come in for criticism over its Warmth Without Worry campaign, which advises older people to stay warm by wearing several layers of clothes during the winter months.

Shona Robison, the shadow health minister and MSP for Dundee East, has attacked the advice, claiming that the company should instead be issuing elderly people with information on how to lower their bills and providing details of the firm's cheaper fuel deals.

Describing Scottish Hydro Electric's cheap deals as "the best-kept secret in Scotland", she told the Pres and Journal: "It is difficult to get information about the winter deals that power companies have for vulnerable people, because they don't promote them."

Consumer body EnergyWatch agreed with Ms Robison's comments, with a spokesman stating: "Fuel companies should be doing a bit more for their older or vulnerable customers."

However, Scottish Hydro Electric rejected the criticisms and a spokesman for the firm insisted: "With our Careline for priority services customers, our energyplus care tariff and our flexible approach to payment of bills, we will seek to help our most vulnerable customers as much as possible over the coming months."