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New customer billing system could save water and more

Monday, March 16, 2009 by Austin Monitor

The Water & Wastewater Commission got an update last week on the new customer care and billing system, which could promote efficiency by letting customers get more information about how much energy and water they use, and will cost less for the city to use in the long run.


The customer care and billing system will serve all the city’s utilities, but Austin Energy is spearheading the development of the system with IBM. During an update last night, David Orr of Austin Energy said the new $35 million system would use Oracle’s customer care and billing product. The system will “go live” in March 2011.


The cost of the new system, with an operational cost of $23 million over 74 months, will result in a monthly cost to the customer of 69 cents, excluding the paper, envelopes and postage for mailing. That’s still cheaper than the current monthly cost of $1.30.


In other decisions, the commission recommended an additional $1.6 million for Oscar Renda Contractors, Inc to build the Austin Clean Water Project Govalle 4, with the total contract not to exceed $14.6 million. The commission also agreed with a staff recommendation to annex six acres into Travis County Water Control and Improvement District 10 for the provision of water service.


In addition, the group recommended negotiation and execution of professional services agreements with the following firms: CH2M Hill, Inc., Harutunian Engineering Incorporated, Westin Engineering, Inc., Black & Veatch Corporation, and EMA, Inc. The firms will provide engineering services for the Water and Wastewater SCADA Services Rotation List for the next three years for up to $500,000 each, with a total amount for the five agreements not to exceed $2,500,000.


The commission also approved a resolution in support of legislation to allow the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District to annex property, with the resulting city expenditures to be capped at $900,000.

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