Why local companies process bill payments out of state

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - When most people get a bill they just pay it and move on until the next one comes. Several companies, even ones that are local, sometimes send those bills out of state to be processed.

Idaho Power has more than 500,000 customers and used to process its own bills up until 2006. With needed equipment upgrades, employees found it wouldn't be cost-effective to keep it in house.

Those in the billing department were moved to other positions, according to the company. Idaho Power spokesperson Anne Alenskis said they tried to find a local company to take over the service, but no one could handle the volume.

"We did look outside to possibly hire a company that could just process our bill payments, but we found that that was too expensive and we couldn't find a local company who was large enough," Alenskis said.

With the expansion of online banking and bill pay, processing is becoming less labor intensive.

Companies such as Intermountain Gas keeps its bill processing in Boise and employs six people. As we found out, bill outsourcing goes both ways. They also process payments for Cascade Gas customers in Washington and Oregon.

Boise resident Jared Montgomery said he recently noticed his bills were being sent out of state. While he would prefer to see those jobs in the Treasure Valley, he said he understands it's a part of business.

"I do see why it happens as a part of business. I think businesses are all about staying alive among other businesses, and if it's most efficient for them to outsource it to another state then they might as well."

Alenskis said Idaho Power tries to keep costs down as much as possible so they can try to keep rates lower.