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NIAGARA MOHAWK EXPANDS USE OF WESTERN UNION EASY PAY IN-PERSON BILL PAYMENT SERVICE

 UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Western Union Easy Pay today announced a new three-year contract with Syracuse-based Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation which expands the Easy Pay in-person consumer payment service to 1.8 million residential electricity and gas customers of the utility throughout Niagara Mohawk's entire service area.
 Previously the Easy Pay Service was available only to Niagara Mohawk's residential electricity customers in the Buffalo area.
 Western Union Easy Pay enables utility companies to arrange for customers to pay their bills in person at convenient retail outlets that are Western Union agents and have the money transferred electronically to the utility's account.
 "This expansion of our service to all Niagara Mohawk customers potentially increases the number of payment transactions we will handle for this utility to more than 3 million annually," said Mark Perlberg, vice president of Payment Services, a unit of Western Union Financial Services, Inc.
 Perlberg added that "Easy Pay revolutionized the in-person payment process by introducing the first third-party electronic bill payment system, and today Easy Pay is the largest provider of in-person utility payment service in the United States."
 In 1992 Easy Pay processed over 25 million payments for customers of 29 utility and cable companies in 11 states.
 Easy Pay recently signed contracts extending its service to customers of several other utilities:
 -- Commonwealth Energy, for customers of Commonwealth Gas, Commonwealth Electric and Cambridge Electric. Easy Pay handles one million payment transactions annually for this Massachusetts utility, which it has served since 1988.
 -- Greater Media Cable, for its subscribers in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
 -- Rochester (N.Y.) Telephone, which signed a two-year contract extension.
 Major utilities using Easy Pay to provide their customers with a convenient in-person payment service include New York Telephone, Boston Edison and Comcast Cable. Western Union transfers $7 billion in funds annually through 20,000 agent locations offering unmatched convenience to consumers.
 Western Union Financial Services, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of New Valley Corporation (NYSE: NVL). It provides Western Union Money Transfer services throughout the world and also provides bill-payment and other services to consumers and businesses in the United States.
 -0- 2/9/93
 /CONTACT: Warren Bechtel of Western Union Financial Services, 201-818-5000, or Idan Sims of Sims & Associates, 212-725-3838, for Western Union Financial Services/
 (NVL)


CO: Western Union Financial Services, Inc. ST: New Jersey, New York IN: FIN SU: CON

KD-WB -- NY091 -- 4877 02/09/93 17:29 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 9, 1993
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