Cambridge Launches Online Portal for Water Customers
Cambridge - The City of Cambridge yesterday introduced a new online service for Cambridge residents. The portal makes it easier for residents to access information and look at their consumption and conservation trends.
It’s called ‘MyWaterAccount’ and it’s a secure online portal that provides customers with details of their water billing history. The new tool gives customers access to their current balance and the status of their account. Customers who sign up for the free service can also download two years of transaction and consumption history.
“It’s another tool to help customers manage their water account,” says Jonathan Lautenbach, Director of Financial Services. “We wanted to make it easier for customers to look up information and confirm elements of their account.” Customers can register for MyWaterAccount on the City’s website: www.cambridge.ca . The sign-up process is simple, and all the information needed can be found on your individual bill.
Consumption information is provided in a graphical format, which can make it easier for customers to see how they have used water over time. “Understanding your consumption patterns is important and often can help when looking at your bill,” says Lautenbach. For example, it is common for water consumption to increase during the summer months when customers are watering their lawns or filling a pool.
The City often receives calls from customers asking for confirmation that their payment has been received. This new online tool puts customers in the driver’s seat, providing an easy way for them to check the status of their account. Customer transaction information is updated daily.
MyWaterAccount is yet another innovation that the City has introduced for water customers. In February 2012, the City launched eBilling for water bills. Approximately 2,000 customers have signed up for the free service so far, and the numbers continue to grow. The City is planning on doing another blitz this year to try and get the word out.
In addition to eBilling, the City also automated the final read request and new water account process. Customers fill out forms online through the City’s website, allowing for final bills and new accounts to be created automatically. This enhancement has saved a significant amount of staff time and ensures that customers receive final bills for their accounts within the same timeframe as a regular billing.
Lautenbach believes that not all customers are aware of the improvements that have been made, despite notices going out with regular bills. “We’ve automated a lot of processes and the automation has allowed the City to keep the costs of the water billing function down”. Since taking over water billing from Hydro, the City has saved approximately $500,000 annually.
The City isn’t done making improvements; additional enhancements planned for later this year include offering similar services for Property Taxes.