News release from the City of Fort Wayne:
Technology Makes Bill Paying Easier for City Utilities Customers
Also Helps Reduce Costs
(June 27, 2012) – As part of a commitment to using technology to increase customer convenience while saving money for rate-payers, City Utilities has announced that it is upgrading its customer service website. Beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 1, the website atwill be unavailable for about three-hours while changes are implemented to make it easier for customers to get information about their bills and pay their bills on-line. The updated website should be available beginning at 1:00 a.m. on Monday, July 3.
Using features on the enhanced website, customers will be able to make a one-time only electronic bill payment to City Utilities or to sign up for an online account that will automatically deliver the monthly City Utilities bill to the customer’s e-mail inbox. More than 20,000 customers of City Utilities are currently enjoying the convenience of receiving their utility bills on-line rather than in the mail. As of May 2012, about 20% of all City Utilities customers had selected on-line billing
“City Utilities is happy to be able to offer this billing method and we’re pleased that our customers are taking advantage of it,” said Utility Services Manager Phil GiaQuinta. “Since we began offering e-billing in 2003, the service averages more than 400 new subscriptions each month. Receiving and paying bills on-line gives customers the opportunity to complete a transaction that might have required them to stand in-line at our office in the past. They don’t have to search for a stamp to mail their payment. It’s more convenient and gives customers more choices for managing their account with us.”
When it comes on-line, the new website will also allow customers who are not registered for e-billing or electronic payment processing to view their City Utilities account on-line – a service that has only been available to e-billing users in the past. At first, only the current bill can be accessed. As the new system builds a history, customers will be able to look at past billings to compare their account from month to month. Customers will still be able to begin or transfer their water and sewer utility service through the website, but the site will provide more information about currently utility initiatives, programs and events.
City Utilities hopes that making the website easier to use will encourage more people to sign up for e-billing. In addition to being a time-saver for customers, e-billing is a cost-saver for City Utilities. The cost for City Utilities to print and process a traditional bill sent through the mail to a customer is about 72-cents per month. The cost to electronically bill a customer and process an electronic payment is 27-cents per month. The cost savings achieved through e-billing is approximately $8,500 per month.
“We are committed to implementing programs that will save money for our rate-payers,” said Kumar Menon, Director of City Utilities. “Every penny we save is reinvested in utility systems and helps offset the increased costs of electricity, fuel and chemicals. Managing operating costs through savings lets us invest more in infrastructure projects such as water main replacement and sewer rehabilitation. We encourage more of our customers to use our e- billing system. Together, we can continue to cut costs and improve service levels throughout the utility. If 20,000customers can help cut costs by nearly $100,000 annually, imagine how much more we could save if all of our customers relied on this easy-to-use and convenient process!”
Customers who receive water, sewer, stormwater or garbage and recycling collection from Fort Wayne may sign-up for e-billing by visiting City Utilities customer service website at.