Thursday, April 30, 2009

e-Payments Deliver Cost Savings for Utilities

Posted by Mark Brousseau

Meter reading, billing and payments were the top opportunities for customer service cost savings identified by the 300 utilities surveyed by UtiliPoint International.

The interchange fees for utilities accepting credit card payments easily exceed $200 million annually, UtiliPoint International found. But the majority of utilities with more than 100,000 customers do not pay a dime of this $200 million in annual interchange fees because their customers are charged a small fee to offset interchange.

In addition to saving money on interchange fees, many utilities can also save money by sending their customers a bill that is easier to read, the survey found. More than 15 percent of calls into the call center are from customers who do not understand their bill. Clearly laying out the most important details of the bill (amount due, date due, account number) can reduce utilities call center expenses or allow current call center employees to work on other projects, notes UtiliPoint International.

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