After a few weeks of testing, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. announced yesterday that its newly installed state-of-the-art billing information system will officially go live starting Monday, Oct. 1.
A CUC statement said that customers will soon expect a more efficient operation from the agency, with the most significant change many will notice is the new billing format.
“Gone are the small postcards with cramped information. The new bills provide much more detail, including usage information for the past 12 months,” the CUC statement said.
Based on the new billing format, each customer will be provided detailed information about the specific charges indicated in the billing statement.
For electric, CUC enumerates the different charges under the component such as customer charge, electric charge, and LEAC (levelized energy adjustment clause).
For the water component of the bill, clearly noted are fees for water service fee, water usage, and electric charge.
For the sewer system, the new format provides information on the service fee and sewer usage.
The new format will also clearly indicate the amount of consumption by customers per service, balance account, and specific periods covered by these services.
CUC chief financial officer Charles Warren told Saipan Tribune yesterday that online payment and payment by phone will follow in two months.
“The online payment is still about 60 days away. For the time being, bills will be sent by mail just like always,” he said.
CUC began test running the new system in early September, running it parallel with the old software to ensure proper data conversion and adequate staff training. During this transition period, CUC customers experienced delays and waited in lines for their transaction.
CUC contracted Harris' inHance, a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc., to install the new software, replacing the over 20-year-old system in place. This new system aims to improve services like online billing and payment and automated online dispatching of field crews, among others.
Funding for this project was sourced from a grant approved by the Office of Insular Affairs.
Harris is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Constellation and is a leading provider of financial management and customer information systems software solutions. It has over 6,500 utility customers.