In a new development aimed at improving billing accuracy and increasing operational efficiency, the City of Johannesburg is to introduce a regionalised billing system on 1 December 2015.
Kgamanyane Maphologela, Group Finance’s Director of Customer Communications & Stakeholder Management, says the new move will give customers the freedom to choose their own due dates – between the 15th and the last day of the month – for the payment of services and create a predictable common date for billing and meter reading.
“This move will improve billing accuracy, reduce the number of estimated bills and create a platform for shorter turnaround times on query resolutions,” says Maphologela.
“It will also assist the City to profile customer queries per region and gather accurate customer intelligence on every region. This will, in turn, result in informed reporting per region to afford improvements in our operations and problem solving. We want to work faster and efficiently by improving customers’ experience.
Maphologela says the change was the result of the current billing schedule being open on all working days of the month, consisting of 21 portions. Each portion caters for each regional township in the City, which strains the physical meter reading and impacts on billing accuracy.
From December 1, there will be dedicated meter readers per region.
“We want to reduce the number of these many portions and focus on each region and improve the quality of meter reading and query resolution,” says Maphologela.
The move to the new system will reduce the number of billing portions from 21 to 8. The transactions of customers who pay their bills via a third party on the due date will only reflect on the City’s systems three days later, resulting in the kick-in of credit control measures.
Customers who currently have debit orders must amend their debit order dates with their financial institution to reflect the new correct deduction date. A list of suburbs per region will be published on the City’s website (www.joburg.org.za) from 1 November 2015 for ease of reference should customers not know which region they reside in.
Furthermore, a list of meter reading dates per region will be published on the website and region and printed onto customer’s statements. For more information, visit any of the City's customer service centres or call 0860 562 874.
At the same time the City has expressed regret at the inconvenience it caused when it incorrectly issued customers with pre-termination notices.
“This was due to the implementation of the new credit control policy. The City realises that this change should have been communicated better beforehand and regrets any inconvenience experienced by customers,” says Maphologela.
All charges relating to these pre-termination notices will be reversed.
From now on customers are encouraged to pay their bills as per their normal due dates.