US utilities with new billing programmes have seen improvements in credit and collections, according to Chartwell, an information provider to the utility industry.

Recent research showed that 63 per cent of utility respondents felt that credit and collections practices were functioning better due to a wider variety of billing and payment options.

Chartwell found a renewed interest in walk-in payment centres, either run by the utility or through a partnership with a local retailer.

Mobile billing and phone payment services are giving customers further options to pay their bills as well as keeping in touch with energy suppliers.

Other service options such as prepayment and level or budget billing have also helped to improve levels of nonpayment.

I.S Dunkkin, research analyst at Chartwell, said: “With increasing service expectations from customers, utilities are under more pressure to expand their billing options, but efficiencies like those in credit and collections can make the cost of those programs easier to bear, or may even help increase revenues overall.”

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