Angry peers have called on the Government to stop companies charging extra for providing paper copies of bills.
Business Minister Viscount Younger of Leckie said there were already "provisions in place" to protect vulnerable people, but a string of peers on all sides of the House of Lords demanded further action.
Independent crossbencher Baroness Deech said there were 16 million people, including four million disabled people, who were not on the internet and companies were putting the cost of printing and ink "back on to the consumer".
At question time in the Lords, she said: "There are extra charges and discounts which add up to really quite a lot a year.
"Every consumer should be able to choose without being penalised a paper copy of communications and bills from media companies, energy companies and so on."
She demanded: "Will you press the relevant regulators - Ofcom and Ofgem to ensure consumers are not so penalised."
Broadcaster Baroness Bakewell, the previous Government's champion for older people, told Lord Younger it was not a matter of "lifestyle choice".
The Labour peer added: "For many people this is a question of poverty and 44% of the older people who are not online, when asked why, said they couldn't afford it. So this is added to the disadvantage they already experience for being old and poor and making it worse."
Tory former consumer affairs minister Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes said there were people who wanted to receive bills through the post even if they could access the internet.
"This is an urgent matter and I hope the Government will take it seriously," she said.
Retired high court judge Baroness Butler-Sloss, 80, pointed to the country's ageing population. "I do use a computer myself, but I do not always want to use it," she said.
She told Lord Younger: "You are underestimating the importance of an ageing population not necessarily wanting to use a computer. And far too many, perhaps, who actually can't and it's really no use offering a course because they are not up to it."
Lord Younger insisted he was listening to the concerns raised by peers.
He said utility regulators assessed "the quality and affordability of services for customers including the vulnerable" but did not receive "many complaints" about the issue.
"Should companies wish to charge more for a paper Bill then they must make such charges transparent in advance and ensure that they reflect only additional processing costs incurred," he said.
"The Government is accelerating broadband roll out, promoting simple bank accounts and increasing digital skills to use electronic payments."
He said BT charged £1.50 for paper bills, but that related "largely" to their broadband customers who therefore had internet access.
"We believe the charge is a reasonable one covering charges such as printing and postage, but customers using a BT basic telephone service are not charged for paper bills," he said.
And he said that only providing information online could in some circumstances amount to "indirect discrimination unless it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".