In South Africa, the city of Johannesburg introduced a new system for billing its water consumers according to the regions in which they reside.The regionalised water billing system is a measure by the city to simplify and improve its billing processes to enhance billing accuracy.
According to a local publication, the new billing system will enable the city of Johannesburg to improve its customer services by eliminating estimated billing. With the system, consumers can choose their own due dates to pay their water bills.
By billing its water customers per region, the city of Johannesburg will be able to track regional water usage patterns for drafting and implementation of regional water efficiency programmes.
The system came into effect from the 1st of February with the allocation of suburbs into regions A, B, C and E. Regions D, F and G are still under drafting and will be launched in May.
The news follows last month’s announcement made by the city’s water division that it will restrict water supply overnight in Deep South, Soweto, Midrand and Randburg as part of its efforts to reduce heavy water usage at a time the Southern African region is facing a huge water crisis resulting from last year’s drought.
Officials at the city reported a decline in the levels of water in the city’s water reservoirs.
The city’s level 2 water restrictions are in line with calls for water usage reductions announced by the Department of Water and Sanitation.
Water billing system upgrades
Last year, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) kickstarted its pilot project to test a new billing and payment system to improve its revenue collection in nine city communities.
Under the pilot, GWCL is collecting customer's water consumption data using a hand-held android device to simplify meter reading in the local service areas.
The system is said to calculate a metering point’s water usage rate and remotely sends the bill to customers via email or text message. The deployment of the system forced GWCL consumers to provide the utility company with their cell phone numbers and email addresses.
After receiving their usage information, consumers can make their payments by purchasing scratch cards sold at GWCL customer service points and authorised vendors.The utility is reportedly planning to extend the deployment of the system countrywide, based on results of the pilot.
India's Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC) in Maharashtra state also introduced a new water billing system to improve its spot billing and revenue collection.
The system includes the use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) to trail its water meter readers and their operations in a bid to speed up its spot billing process. The decision to adopt the new system follows a decrease in the utility’s billing service.
It is said the city's water division was now providing its consumers with their bills over a four-month billing cycle. However, the new system is aimed to reduce the cycle to two months. [Texas city to enhance billing system with smart water meters].