FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: January 30, 2013
CONTACT: Jennifer Reichelt, 455-8417 - Deputy City Manager
CHANGES TO THE CITY’S UTILITY BILLING SYSTEM
GREAT FALLS, Montana – The City of Great Falls is in the process of updating and upgrading its Utility Billing System. As a part of the transition, specific areas were identified as needing improvement in order to better serve our customers. These changes, while inconvenient to the end user now, will ensure better customer service for our customers in the future. The first billing with the new system will take place Wednesday, February 6, 2013. Users can expect to see the following changes: a new account number, a new payment due date, and some customers may receive their utility bill at a different time. The changes to the billing system do not impact utility rates.
Under the old system, the entire City’s utility billing was done within an eleven-day period each month. This meant that customer service received a high volume of calls with questions regarding meter reads and billing, as well as received payments over a two week period each month. Meter reads were always approximately 30 days old, so the reads on the bills were always 30 days behind.
With the new utility billing system, meter reads will be approximately fourteen days old, so the read the customer receives on their monthly water bill will be current. Billing will be done every week (on Wednesday), so call volume and payments will be spread out evenly throughout the course of the month. This change does impact when customers receive their bills and due dates each month. Bills will be sent out weekly based on zip code locations.
It is important for customers to note and update their new account numbers, especially if they use an online bill pay service (such as their bank). Currently a number of the online and electronic options are temporarily discontinued during the transition – such as the City’s online bill pay feature (through the City’s website) and E-notifications. As soon as the transition is complete, the services will be reinstated and operational once again – and customers will be notified.
City staff appreciates our customers’ cooperation and patience during this transition and looks forward to better serving your customer service needs in the future. For questions or more information about the utility billing changes contact customer service at 727-7660.