BWS Billing Changes for the betterUPDATED 8:15 PM HST Feb 05, 2014Video Transcript
investigated... And now your water bills make a lot more sense. Good evening, I'm Paula Akana. And I'm Yunji De Nies. Tonight the Board of Water supply says changes are in place, and problems with its billing system are definitely being ironed out. KITV-4's Andrew Pereira is live with our TOP STORY at 6... Andrew? Yunji, Paula... The number of customers receiving estimated bills has dropped dramatically after KITV first exposed the problems last year. The Board of Water Supply delivers H2O to 166,000 customers on Oahu. As recently as March of last year, more than HALF of those customers were receiving estimated bills. Problems were traced to an outdated meter reading system, or the improper uploading of data. Ten months later, progress... ERNEST LAU: "WE ARE CURRENTLY GENERATING ON A MONTHLY BASIS LESS THAN TWO PERCENT OF OUR BILLS GOING OUT AS ESTIMATED BILLS." That means in January only about 3,000 BWS customers received estimated bills. STANLEY CHANG: "CONSIDERING THE LOGISTICAL DIFFICULTIES AND THE PROBLEMS THAT YOU HAD TO DEAL WITH WHEN YOU FIRST CAME ONBOARD AND ALL THESE DIFFERENT CHANGES WERE BEING MADE, I THINK THAT'S A PRETTY COMMENDABLE TURN AROUND IN THE SERVICE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT." ANDREW PEREIRA: "THAT PROGRESS HAS ALSO MADE A DIFFERENCE HERE AT THE BOARD OF WATER SUPPLY CALL CENTER. AT THE HEIGHT OF BILLING PROBLEMS IN MARCH OF LAST YEAR, THIS CALL CENTER WAS 1,400 TO 1,600 CALLS PER DAY. THAT NUMBER HAS NOW DROPPED TO 400 TO 600 CALLS PER DAY." ERNEST LAU: "WE ARE ANSWERING 96 PERCENT OF THOSE CALLS, AND THE PHONE IS ANSWERED WITHIN FIVE OR SIX MINUTES AT THE MAXIMUM." However challenges remain. The Board of Water Supply says its automated meter reading system is showing it's age, and it can't say how many customers receive estimated bills in consecutive months. Councilwoman Kymberly Pine's resolution urges BWS to investigate when two bills are estimated back-to-back, but the agency says that's already in place. ERNEST LAU: "IF THE SYSTEM TRIES TO GENERATE A THIRD MONTH, THAT BILL IS HELD AND HAS TO BE REVIEWED BY THE STAFF, AND NOW WE HAVE ADEQUATE STAFF TO DO THAT." BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau thanked customers for their patience. The agency will soon seeks bids to expand its online bill viewing and payment service, as well as an automated phone billing system. Paula?