As you know, the last issue of the Utility Information Pipeline was an invitation to participate in the 2018 Utility Staffing Survey. In addition to asking questions about the number of staff in various positions and how your office handles labor intensive practices such as payment processing and bill printing, the survey also includes questions about what percentage of payments are received by various methods.
Early survey results
Of the responses to the survey received so far, 25% of the respondents who supplied answers to the percentage of payments received by payment method responded with 0% for bank drafts!
When I advocate for bank drafts, I’m talking about sending an ACH file from your billing system to the bank. I’m not referring to going to your bank’s website and changing the amount to be drafted for each customer each month and I’m definitely not talking about filling out paper drafts by hand!
When I started in this business in the early 1980’s, it wasn’t unusual for a utility clerk to have a drawer full of rubber banded stacks of preprinted bank drafts that looked much like blank checks. The clerk would have to date the form and fill in the amount to be deducted from the customer’s account. Believe it or not, I recently encountered a utility still doing bank drafts this way!
Why aren’t you accepting bank drafts?
Knowing how easy it is and what a time saver bank drafts are, I’m frankly surprised when I encounter a utility that doesn’t accept bank drafts.
If your billing software won’t allow you to process bank drafts, it’s past time to replace you software!
If your bank won’t accept an ACH file, it’s time to find a new bank!
If it’s your own reluctance holding you back because “that’s the way we’ve always done it“, trust me when I say once you’ve implemented bank drafts you’ll be glad you did it!
Complete the Utility Staffing Survey
If you haven’t yet completed the 2018 Utility Staffing Survey, please click here to complete the survey. This should take less than five minutes to complete. The results will be published in a future Utility Information Pipeline.
Please feel free to share this survey with your peers at other utilities.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the survey and for sharing it with other utilities.
2018 rates dashboard for North Carolina
I’ve written in the past about resources, including the Environmental Finance Center at UNC. The EFC has just released the North Carolina Water And Wastewater Rates Dashboard for 2018. This dashboard contains rates for 495 utilities in North Carolina.
Is your office offering 21st century payment options?
If you’re not currently offering bank drafts, or think your office is otherwise behind the times with the payment options you offer, please give me a call at 919-232-2320 or e-mail me at email@example.com to learn how a business review could help your utility.
© 2018 Gary Sanders