Water Authority-Cayman customers can expect higher-than-normal bills for April as the utility company introduces a new billing system this month.
The higher bills will be the result of early readings of water meters in March, which led to lower-than-normal bills for last month’s water consumption, according to the company.
“March bills were read early and … customers can expect their April bills to be higher, assuming their consumption remained the same as the meter reading period is longer.
On average, the meter reading period for April is about eight days longer than normal,” explained Joanna Welcome-Martinez, the Water Authority’s customer service manager.
Under the revamped billing system, launched on 10 April, Water Authority customers may pay their bills on the Water Authority website, receive e-bills and monitor their usage of water during a 13-month period.
“The management of the Water Authority is always striving to identify ways to improve the standard of service provided to customers and the new Customer Relationship Billing System was one project that allowed improvements in multiple ways,” Ms Welcome-Martinez said.
“Being able to provide Internet-based services such as online payment, e-billing and online account access to our customers were major goals of the project. However, addressing internal processes was also a consideration. For example, the new system also includes a wireless work order module, which allows meter readers to receive service requests electronically in the field, creating a much more efficient and effective process; cashiers will be able to use a barcode scanner on bills created in the new system, allowing automatic retrieval of the customer bill information during the cashiering process; flexible bill formatting allowed in the new system has enabled us to introduce a new bill format that will be much more useful and informative for our customers; bank payment importing capabilities, which allows for the importing of payment files received daily from the banks, allowing the payment amount to be directly applied to the relevant customer rather than the manual input of each transaction,” she said.
Each customer will be given a new account number, so they will need to update their account information if they pay online through their bank. The Water Authority is advising its customers to replace their old account numbers with their new account numbers on 1 May.
Customers can expect to receive their first bills under the new billing system from 30 April.
Ms Welcome-Martinez said the Water Authority had been in touch with local banks to inform them of the new account numbering scheme and to work with them to ensure customers can process their transactions correctly.
“We would expect that the bank’s online system will require the new account number; however, if it does not, we will continue to work to ensure all issues are resolved. We would like to remind customers to remain mindful of the account number change as this will definitely facilitate a smooth transition,” she added.
Under the new system, customers will have a “location number” and a “customer number”, both of which will make up their new account number.
The customer number part of the account number will remain the same, regardless of whether a customer moves to a new location within the Water Authority’s service area.