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Energy firms facing more criticism

Energy companies, which are currently fending off accusations of colluding to fix prices, have come in for fresh criticism for their pricing polices. Recently, British Gas, npower, EDF and Scottish Power all confirmed double-digit price increases, which has prompted outcry from consumers. Now Help the Aged and Age Concern have joined the chorus of disapproval for the firms as a result of their practice of offering customers discounts if they pay by direct debit or online. The charities, which are lobbying for a change in policy, claim that this unfairly discriminates against pensioners, because they are less likely than younger people to have an internet connection. This has resulted in up to ten million households who are not online missing out on average savings of £210 per year, the Times reports. All of the energy companies who have recently announced price increases have sought to justify the move by drawing attention to increasing wholesale prices and increased investment in infrastructure.

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