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Water Billing Software - Water Billing Software Runs the Business

information system service field

Utility companies face the challenge of maintaining aging water systems while collecting payments from customers for water usage and services rendered. As service districts have grown in size and complexity simple computer systems have become outdated and difficult to use. Water agreements between districts have become a common practice and require tracking to ensure accuracy. Employee information must be secured, but accessible for time and attendance as well as payroll, benefits, and work completed. Water billing software has evolved from separate systems that tracked internal activities independently from customer information into the most advanced software systems that will track employee, business, and customer information in one database.

Office employees access the computer system to input customer requests for new accounts, and enter personal and billing information associated with a valid address within the service district. Response to service requests must be scheduled very quickly to prevent unbilled days of service between occupants which reduce income to the utility company. When repairs are needed, the requests are input and scheduled into a calendar that shows available timeslots for certain field employee work teams. The repair information is then assigned by a field supervisor and appears on a hand-held device for a certain service technician. The task is acknowledged when work begins, and the supervisor is alerted electronically. When the work is completed, the specialist marks the task complete, and another task appears on the device. One computer system tracks the entire process, and each person can see the work progress for the day with real-time updates. Time and attendance is logged each day, and when necessary, employee information is updated. Work processes include updates to the water billing software within the work day to maintain accurate information and prevent duplicate effort. There is no need to remember the day’s events for updates or reports. The system already has the necessary information for any manager to access from the office.

Elapsed time will trigger work tasks associated with water meters and those tasks will be assigned to field personnel. The water billing software tracks the maintenance scheme that was developed to update the equipment throughout the water district and test the accuracy of the meters. For commercial accounts where irrigation systems are used, backflow prevention tests are required, and the software will schedule these tasks for the field. Repair and replacement parts are tracked within the system and reports are produced when stores drop below preset levels. Field supervisors remind technicians to count the inventory on their trucks weekly to keep the system updated and prevent parts shortages. To aid in bill collection, the software also has an installment billing capability for accounts that have fallen behind. Collection activities are tracked to ensure accounts are caught up in a timely fashion.

Customers are allowed to view and update their account information over the internet, and can pay their monthly bill. Many customers like the idea of paperless billing and will use automatic bank drafts to pay their bills. For those who worry about varying water bill amounts, the water billing software offers the budget billing option for a consistent amount across a twelve-month period with an adjustment period for the coming year. When an account falls behind, the customer is offered payment plans to ease the financial pressures and keep the water service active. For large commercial water customers with multiple units, like apartment complexes, the water billing software is capable of allocating a single meter reading into multiple bills according to square footage and occupancy.

When your utility company outgrows the capability of your current water billing system, invest in the most advanced system to track every aspect of your utility business. Be prepared to update business processes to include the software inputs that will keep the office and field apprised of work activity and customer requests. Train the employees and monitor the ongoing effort to use the software effectively throughout the day. The initial investment in high-quality water billing software will improve your margins and reduce the monetary loss from unpaid accounts. Your customers and employees will be better informed, and the costs will be recovered within an acceptable period of time.

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