Electronic billing options expand for utility customers, Chartwell says

Atlanta, GA, Jan. 8, 2009 — While adoption rates for electronic bill presentment remain low for utilities as compared to other industries, more customers are exploring methods alternative to mail to pay their bills, the latest edition of Chartwell’s Guide to Bill Presentment and Payment reveals.

Based on data from a survey of more than 90 North American utilities, Chartwell estimates that utilities will have on average less than 5 percent of their customers viewing their bill only in an electronic format. On the other hand, the average percentage of payments received via postal service continues to decline, suggesting customers are becoming more comfortable with making transactions in an electronic or online format.

Chartwell’s Guide to Bill Presentment and Payment also shows that utilities are expanding their payment options, especially phone payments, to satisfy customer demand. About 61 percent of utilities allow customers to make direct phone payments in 2008, compared to 49 percent of utilities offering this service in 2006.

In its latest research, Chartwell found the menu for electronic billing and payment options continues to expand at many utilities. Some now have both “push” and “pull” methods, card payments through various channels and various combinations of presentment and payment options to offer customers choice and encourage adoption.

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