The Gas Consumers Council said the payment plans create three million losers, including "those who find it most difficult to afford the warmth and comfort that gas provides".
A scheme announced yesterday gives pounds 2 off per quarter for people paying within 10 days. But it excludes those using pre-payment meters or magnetic swipe cards at Post Offices .
Ian Powe, council director, said: "We welcome discounts. But we are increasingly worried about low-income people excluded from the scheme, who will now pay quite a lot more for their gas than those who can pay on time." Customers paying by direct debit already receive a 5 per cent discount and will now gain pounds 1 extra a quarter through a reduction in the standing charge.
Clare Spottiswoode, Director General of Ofgas, said: "While I welcome discounts in principle I will need to be convinced that other customers will not end up footing the bill."
But a British Gas spokesman said: "Anyone can switch to other forms of payment to get a discount. It is a matter of choice."Reuse content