New utilities billing system to be completed by April
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"On the 4th of January of this year, Enemalta and the Water Services Corporation, together with their partners IBM, switched processes from the old systems to Platform one. "SAP," is the software used by the majority of the Utilities Corporations’ outside Malta, and is built to lead both to high levels of efficiency as well as a better service to the public. The migration from the old system to the new system was successful and went at planned. "
This was announced by Austin Gatt, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communication, at a conference this morning where information about the new system of accounting was explained.
For this first stage of this project, the corporations have been working for the past ten months, to reach the target in early 2010 to be able to operate a single integrated system.
Since early January, the corporations have begun issuing accounts, as well as provide services on the new system. Obviously the management of finance, purchasing and their stores are now being done by efficiently through the integration.
The workers of both corporations were trained in the system and processes. This means radical changes at the front end of the two corporations with the help of the investment being made.
Opening of new company
For this purpose a new company has been established between the two corporations, Automated Revenue Management Services Limited (ARMS). The objective of the ARMS Ltd. is to integrate and take responsibility of the whole process from reading the meter to collecting the money for the two corporations.
ARMS Ltd. will also be running the Customer Care Departments for both corporations, which means both walk-in centers of service to which people are welcome, as well as telephone customer service and the internet. Currently there are discussions taking place with the unions on this matter. The main objective is to give a better service to consumers, and inject the concept of a ‘one stop shop’ for the customer.
An important part of the new system of Customer Care will be the introduction of a new portal, which will offer the customer a number of services that can be used from the comfort of home and also will have access to other information, such as detailed consumption of water and electricity, which may be checked over periods of hours.
It is planned that the Portal of ARMS Limited will start to operate and be of service to the consumer by April of this year. More information on this website is given below.
This investment continues to actuate the vision of this Government in the field of informatics.
It is investment which will benefit both: —
1. Corporations with regard to a substantial increase in efficiency and cost reduction – Implementation of processes and require fewer people in this area. With the roll out of smart meters also expected which will recuce costs to the Corporations, which should then be reflected reductions in fees;
2. The consumer:-
i. This will have much more information. Which is for the right of the consumer. The bill will be much more detailed, with information regarding consumption. This information helps the consumer to be able to plan their consumption more wisely and be more aware of what they are consuming.
ii. Will have a number of online services that will be accessible once the portal begins to be operational. We are working towards a goal that all services (where possible) that the consumer may need from the corporations will be able to be applied for online, this will therefore cut out the bureaucracy of paperwork by the customer;
iii. With the implementation of smart meters it will be going another step towards the automation of the entire process. Here the customer will also benefit from the fact that all his accounts will be issued on the basis of current consumption which will mean no more estimates.
Salient points regarding the new account
1. The account will be split on to two pages, first page includes a summary, and the second page the account will be shown in more detail;
2. On the second page of each account the customer will have an estimate of the carbon footprint, equivalent to consumption that is consumed in the period of the account;
3. A discount will be given of €3 on each account for those customers who use direct debit;
4. Interest will start being charged at a rate of 6% per year automatically on the bill for those customers who do not pay the bill within 45 days from the date of the account. In this case, the interest being charged from 15 days of the account data. The maximum that the law gives is 9% per year;
5. In the coming months another service of budget billing will be introduced, where customers can make an agreement to pay the same amount every month. With the total amount paid over the year being roughly equivalent to the customer’s account over a year.
Consumers will begin receiving booklets which will give a detailed explanation of the new billing systems, as will as this there will be television advertising givin full details.