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Huntsville Utilities overhauling billing system, format

Published 5:17pm Monday, March 28, 2011

Starting May 2, all Huntsville Utilities customers will get new account numbers, bill due dates and will no longer receive a final notice before service is disconnected.

And that’s not all. The postcard size bill customers now receive will be switched to a new letter-size bill.

Bill Yell, spokesperson for Huntsville Utilities, said the reasoning for the change is not for budgetary reasons, but simply because they switched to a new computer system.

“It’s a system upgrade,” Yell said. “It’s newer, better technology.”

However, Yell said in switching over, they will save some costs, but the driving force behind the change is to allow the company to interface with customers.

Yell said customers will be receiving “multiple mailings” over the new couple weeks to inform of the changes that are coming.

Some customers will now receive their bills later than normal, while others will receive them earlier. Not everyone will have a due date on the same day.

Yell said the letter-size bill will include more information regarding usage, and the backside of the bill will be used to “better communicate with the customer.”

What some customers need to be weary about is the elimination of the final notice.

Yell said that decision was made based on “a large number of final notices” the company has to send out every month, and the high cost of postage for those reminders.

The new bill will contain a future date for possible disconnection in case the bill isn’t paid.

Customers who are enrolled in the company’s budget billing program will see a change over to the average monthly billing program, where the bill will be comprised of a rolling average amount based on usage during the previous 12 months.

“Each month, it will re-average the previous 12 months and fluctuate,” Yell said. “More than likely it will be by a few dollars up or down.”

All customers that are currently on budget billing will automatically be enrolled in average billing. If customers wish to enroll or be taken off average billing, they must to notify Huntsville Utilities.

“All of these changes reflect our effort to be more efficient and help our customers conduct business with Huntsville Utilities with a minimum amount of effort,” Yell said.

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