Electronic Billing, Payment Program for Callifornia, Arizona Utility Customers

Dec. 19, 2001
More Than One Million Consumers in California and Arizona Can Pay Water Bills at Financial Services Sites
CheckFree i-Solutions, a provider of interactive e-billing and e-statement software and services and part of CheckFree Corp., and Southern California Water Co., a subsidiary of American States Water Co. announced that electronic billing and payment is now available to more than one million water customers throughout California and parts of Arizona. Through this service, Southern California Water customers will be able to pay utility bills at their choice of CheckFree-powered sites including banks, brokerages, credit unions and Internet portals.

Using the online service, utility customers can access, review and pay their bills online. As a result, consumers can spend less of their valuable free time paying bills each month by eliminating the need to open bills, write checks, manually record the payments, stuff envelopes and locate stamps to pay the same companies month after month.

With the program, Southern California Water customers can securely view their bills in minutes, review current and outstanding account balances and access complete bill information from any computer with Internet access. With a few clicks of the mouse, consumers can schedule their bill payment from the checking, savings or money market account of their choice. The CheckFree Guarantee protects consumers who pay their bills electronically through this service against late fees and interest charges due to processing delays, and liability for unauthorized transactions.

"Southern California Water is constantly seeking ways to make the billing process easier for our customers," said Rusty Hodges, manager, Customer Service Center. "By enabling Southern California Water customers to receive and pay their water bills online, we offer a convenient and compelling way for customers to manage this part of their financial lives more efficiently. The online bill payment initiative affirms our commitment to providing exceptional customer service."

"Leading utilities, such as Southern California Water, are embracing electronic billing and payment because it offers consumers an easy way to manage their finances and increase their valuable free time," said Tom Stampiglia, president of CheckFree i-Solutions. "Southern California Water customers who enroll can enjoy the convenience of receiving not only their water bill, but also a growing number of other local and national bills online."

Today, Southern California Water customers can enroll for the service directly at the company's website at www.aswater.com. Alternatively, they can sign-up at their choice of financial services sites that include banks, brokerages, credit unions, Internet portals and personal financial management software. At these sites, Southern California Water customers can also receive and pay other bills from a growing number of telephone, cable, mortgage, insurance and credit card companies. At these sites, consumers can also take advantage of "pay everyone" services that enable them to make payments from their computers to anyone to whom they would write a check. This includes all bills, even day care centers, charitable deductions and money sent to individuals, such as children in college.

A sample of current financial service providers making the Southern California Water bills available electronically include:

* Bank of America at www.bankofamerica.com

* Charles Schwab www.charlesschwab.com

* Merrill Lynch www.newmlol.ml.com

* Morgan Stanley Dean Witter www.dwdean.com/

* NetBank www.netbank.com

* Quicken software and Quicken.com http://bills.quicken.com/welcome

* US Postal Service www.usps.com/paymentservices/

* Yahoo! http://bills.yahoo.com

Electronic bills currently available in California include national billers such as AT&T Consumer Long Distance, Sears, Countrywide Home Loans, Lowe's Consumer Credit and more. For a complete list of sites that offer CheckFree electronic billing and payment, visit www.checkfree.com/ebillservices.

Source: CheckFree i-Solutions