Southern Company Chooses BlueGill Technologies and CheckFree for its Internet Billing System
Ann Arbor, Mich., April 4, 2000 BlueGill Technologies, the leading provider of Internet billing and statement creation software applications, and Southern Company, the largest generator of electricity in the United States, today announced that Southern Company has chosen BlueGill i-Biller as its Internet billing solution, and CheckFree as its payment processing system for its electronic bills. By year-end, Southern Company customers will be able to pay their bills online.
As part of its comprehensive Internet strategy, Southern Company has aggressively pursued e-billing options. A pilot program conducted last spring prompted the decision to move forward with a plan to offer online bill payment options to business and residential customers. Southern Company subsidiaries include Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power, and Savannah Electric.
Payments for Southern Company electronic bills will be processed by CheckFrees Genesis 2000 electronic billing and payment engine. Southern Company customers who authorize an electronic payment will be backed by the CheckFree Guarantee, which protects them against unauthorized transactions or processing delays.
The power of the Internet is revolutionizing how we communicate in our world, our workplace, and in our home, said Bertram Sears, Southern Company vice president of marketing and new business development. This technology will make it easier for customers to pay their bills, and this convenience factor cuts to the heart of our customer service.
With BlueGill i-Biller and BlueGill Market Direct, Southern Company will use the Internet billing process to offer its customers value-added products and services. BlueGill Market Direct allows billers the ability to segment customer groups in order to deliver targeted marketing messages.
Southern Company has a great opportunity to provide information-rich, interactive bills to its valued customers, said Hal Davis, BlueGill CEO. And, by offering products and services tailored to its customers needs, the company will strengthen those relationships even further.
"Our operations in Atlanta are literally powered by Southern Companys Georgia Power subsidiary, so were delighted their electronic bills will be powered by CheckFree. By interfacing with their customers online, empowering them with electronic bill payment, and purchasing additional services via the Internet, Southern Company stands out as a business committed to retaining customers and attracting new ones," said Matt Lewis, CheckFree executive vice president.
With the addition of Southern Company, 11 of North Americas largest utility service providers rely on systems or services powered by BlueGill, including BC Hydro, Detroit Edison, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Central Hudson Electric, and Montana Power.
About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is an international energy company that operates more than 48,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity worldwide. It is the largest producer of electricity in the United States and one of the world`s largest independent power producers.
About BlueGill Technologies
Founded in 1996, BlueGill Technologies pioneered Internet bill and statement presentment and today is an international software development company. In December 1999, CheckFree Holdings, the leader in electronic billing and payment, announced an agreement to acquire BlueGill for shares of CheckFree`s Common Stock. BlueGill software provides a powerful platform for electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) by transforming legacy systems into interactive Web applications for managing customer relationships. BlueGill software is installed today at financial service institutions, telecommunications companies, utilities and service bureaus in North America, South America and Europe. Their blue chip roster of clients and partners includes companies such as U.S. Bank, Bank One, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, ABN AMRO, MCI WorldCom, Cable and Wireless, Guardian Insurance, Detroit Edison, IBM, EDS, and Xerox. More information on the company is available on the Internet at www.bluegill.com.
CheckFree Corporation (www.checkfree.com), is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services and products. Founded as an electronic payments processor in 1981, CheckFree launched the first fully integrated electronic billing and payment solution, CheckFree E-Bill, in March of 1997. Today, CheckFree services enable three million consumers to receive and pay bills over the Internet or electronically. The Company has multi-year contracts with 89 of the nation`s top billers to provide online billing and payment through its network of partnerships with more than 100 consumer service providers (CSPs), including banks, brokerage firms, Internet portals and content sites, and personal financial management (PFM) software. CheckFree`s Investment Services division provides a range of investment management services to help more than 255 institutions provide portfolio management and reporting services to their clients. CheckFree clients manage over 820,000 portfolios totaling more than $400 billion in
assets. Software and services provided by CheckFree`s Compliance and Financial Service division are used to process more than two-thirds of the nation`s six billion Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments. In addition, nearly 400 banks and businesses use reconciliation products and services the division provides.