Changes coming to Poway water, sewer billing
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Poway Water and sewer customers will have new ways to track their usage consumption once the city implements a new software system.
The software purchase, approved unanimously by the City Council Tuesday night, will cost almost $331,000, which includes a one-year maintenance warranty, said Brad Rosen, the city’s Information Technology Manager. In addition, the city will pay N. Harris Computer Corporation $18,000 annually for updates to the NorthStar water and sewer utility billing system.
“This gives the consumer data and information they never had before,” said City Manager Penny Riley.
When launched, about 8,000 of the more than 13,000 water and sewer customers throughout Poway will have their bi-monthly billing cycle altered. Riley said some will have a longer than normal billing cycle while others will have a shorter one, but this will be a one-time thing due to a route redesign being timed to coincide with the new software launch.
As part of the change, meter reading routes are being redesigned since over the years the four billing areas have become very fragmented. By redesigning them into mostly solid areas, money will be saved in time, fuel and personnel costs, she said.
Rosen said the city’s current software has been in use for more than eight years, and if regular updates are made to the new system, it could realistically last at least a decade.
With the software, customers will be able to go online to not only view their bill, but track their water usage and compare that to their usage over the past 10 years.
“I love it,” Councilwoman Merrilee Boyack said. “It will be such a useful tool in terms of billing and conservation.”
Rosen assured the council that customers will still be able to receive a mailed bill even if they sign up to use the other online tools the software offers. They can also go to paperless billing.
No launch date or timeline for the transition was announced, but Riley said when it occurs customers will be noticed in advance through various methods.
In other council business:
• An AT&T request for a faux tree antenna facility to upgrade an existing wireless telecommunications facility at 14264 Tierra Bonita Road was discussed. No council action was required yet.
• Ronald Johnson spoke during the public oral segment about his hope to move to Poway and open a tattoo business that would also offer permanent makeup, piercings and brandings. He said no such business currently exists in the city.
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