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Electronic billing was supposed to be the big cost saver for utilities companies - and now it's starting to happen.

Gas and electricity supplier Centrica is already billing 150,000 customers by email, according to the FT. Customers signing up for emails instead of bills also get a discount.

Centrica hopes to get a million customers signed up to the service by 2005. Centrica sends out 70 million gas bills and 30 million electricity bills so savings could be significant. The project has been running for a year but following a recent advertising campaign up to 15,000 customers a week are signing up to ebilling.

Powergen has 100,000 customers who run their accounts through the energyonline website. ®

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