The city's new water billing system, part of the controversial $91 million Siemens contract, is scheduled to go live at the end of August.
According to a city press release: "Residents will soon experience updates to their water billing as part of comprehensive upgrades the City of Jackson has initiated with Siemens through its water infrastructure improvement project. The Customer Care and Billing System (CC&B) implementation will provide the City with a modern software platform and enhanced management tools that will greatly improve the customer experience."
The new system should increase "efficiency of meter reading and water billing, eventual elimination of the need for estimated bills, and a reduced need for personnel to enter property" and "will also be able to track usage patterns, allowing the city to potentially detect leaks on a property through abnormal usage patterns. Implementation of the new system will occur in two phases."
Three key changes become effective Monday, August 31:
· Water bills will be sent MONTHLY (instead of every other month) for more timely information and more efficient budget management. Payments will be due on a monthly basis and bills paid through an automatic bank draft will be drafted every month.
· Customers will have a NEW ACCOUNT NUMBER that will need to be used for payment to be processed.
· The new bill format will be EASIER TO READ and provide more detailed account information. During the initial installation period for the CC&B, the City may need to estimate bills every other month as it verifies the system upgrade. The estimated bills will be based on an average of actual consumption from prior billing periods, and will be identified on the bill with the abbreviation (EST) immediately after the reading. Once implementation is complete, bills will begin moving to the monthly cycle and eventually will be based on actual meter reads/consumption each month.
The city continued: "Phase Two of the CC&B implementation is expected in late 2015, and will involve rolling out the system’s full capabilities so customers can experience the complete benefits of the system. This includes the ability to view water usage online, online payment options, and the ability to consolidate irrigation and residential water bills. Customers will be notified when these features are activated."
For more information on the CC&B implementation and the water infrastructure improvement project, please visit: www.jacksonms.gov/water. Customers with specific concerns about their bill should contact the City’s Water and Sewer Business Administration Office at 601-960-2000.