Fort Worth’s Water Department is making a strong push to its nearly 247,000 account holders to go paperless in 2018.
Customers have had the ability to pay their water bill online since 2002. It wasn’t until a 2012 software update that e-notifications were made available to customers who wanted them. The notification tells customers when their bills is available for review.
The department at that time also gave customers the option of still receiving a paper bill. About 36,692 customers out of 246,957 accounts receive monthly e-notifications. Of those, only 19,356 have discontinued their paper bill.
That’s no longer the case. Since August, the department has been encouraging its customers to move to e-notification, particularly when new accounts are set up. The city is no longer offering the option to also get a paper bill if you have e-notification. The first step is to target those 17,336 customers who are receiving both the e-notification and the paper bill and encourage them to drop the paper bill, the department said.
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In 2018, the option to receive both will be removed from the website, said Kara Shuror, the department’s deputy director for business services.
“In our industry, it is a lower adoption rate for paperless than what you may see in other industries,” Shuror said. “People feel more comfortable getting a utility bill. Some people don’t realize they have a choice.”
Receiving and paying water bills online reduces costs. It costs 46 cents to process, print and mail each paper bill each month, compared to 5 cents for an e-bill.
When customers are calling the Water Department for other services they are also being encouraged to switch to e-notification. The department this year will also develop a communication plan to its customers, such as adding text on the monthly water bills to go paperless.
Customers have access to all the inserts that come with the water bill online as well, Shuror said.