Paying bills online a plus for utilities

Most of the bills we receive these days can be paid online. From your home mortgage on down to your electric bill, a few clicks of a mouse and your electronic check isn’t in the mail, it’s in the payee’s bank account. The process is quick, easy and it saves buying stamps.

But many area residents still have to pay their water and sewer bills the old way – or think they do. There are options, such as paying electronically through their banks, of which some customers may not be aware.

In many cases, however, municipal utilities and public service districts still have no provisions for online payment of water and sewer bills.

West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue’s office is promoting an initiative that could help remedy that. The LGov program helps local governments establish online bill-paying services.

Income from such payments is routed through the treasurer’s office and deposited into an investments account. There, instead of merely languishing in an envelope while the Postal Service processes it, a payment can be earning short-term interest for a town or public service district.

Comparatively few towns and cities use the LGov system. Many have adopted other methods of helping customers pay bills online. That helps customers – and the utilities, which can streamline accounting.

Again, however, some water and sewer utilities have not gone to online payment systems. Their customers should encourage them to do so, either through the treasurer’s office or some other method.

And some local utilities that provide online payment capability do little to encourage customers to use it.

Adopting online utility bill paying – then promoting it and encouraging use of it – serves both water and sewer services and their customers well. It can save money for all involved, too, and that ought to be reason enough to embrace it.