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Ovo Energy faces backlash for ceasing Welsh billing services

Ovo Energy is under fire for its decision to discontinue services in Welsh, a move labeled as “degrading” to the language by critics. The energy provider suggested that customers could resort to online translation tools for reading their bills instead.

Criticism poured in swiftly, with Welsh language advocacy group Cymdeithas yr Iaith condemning the action as “insulting.” Welsh Language Commissioner Efa Gruffudd Jones expressed her intent to engage with the company over the matter, emphasizing the importance of honoring obligations to Welsh-speaking customers.

Ovo defended its stance, citing low usage of its Welsh services among customers. However, it notified the 104 individuals affected by the change, aiming to ensure a smooth transition.

Efa Gruffudd Jones underscored the need for Ovo to explore alternative solutions and uphold its responsibilities to Welsh-speaking clientele. Siân Howys of Cymdeithas yr Iaith echoed this sentiment, stressing the necessity for businesses operating in Wales to embrace bilingualism.

The decision by Ovo mirrors similar actions taken by other corporations, such as HSBC’s discontinuation of Welsh language phonelines last November. This has reignited calls for legislation compelling companies to offer bilingual services in Wales.

Ovo Energy assured affected customers of support during the transition period, offering dedicated Welsh assistance until the end of May. The company expressed regret for any inconvenience caused by the change.

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The Welsh government expressed disappointment over the decision, reiterating its commitment to promoting Welsh language usage. They welcomed the intervention of the Welsh commissioner and emphasized the importance of upholding linguistic rights for Welsh speakers in the country.

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