City provides information on 28-day utility billing
February 6, 2017/ For Immediate Release
AIRDRIE, ALBERTA – Information on the City of Airdrie’s 28-day billing cycle was presented during the February 6, 2017 regular meeting of council.
Prior to 2014, the City of Airdrie billed for utilities on a bi-monthly basis. Based on a customer survey that was completed in 2013, more frequent billing was preferred. The current 28-day billing cycle was implemented near the end of 2014.
“There has been some confusion, with customers concerned that the additional bill each year is used to collect additional fees,” said Shannon Schindeler, Manager, Tax and Utility Administration “However, customers pay the exact same amount per year regardless of the number of bills they receive. Our administration fees are fixed and based on the number of days in the billing cycle, not the number of bills in a year.”
If an average water bill is $100 every 28 days, the total annual cost would be $1,300. If billed monthly, the average water bill would be $108.33, for the same total annual cost of $1,300.
“Monthly billing will always result in varying bill amounts because the number of days in each billing cycle changes from month to month,” says Schindeler. “The more consistent bill amounts generated through a 28-day cycle help easily identify leaks or other changes in usage and creates significant efficiencies on the administrative end. Lower staffing levels can be maintained as the work is consistent and distributed evenly throughout the month. The exact same tasks are completed each day of the week for a different quadrant of the City.”
While a 28-day billing cycle may not be ideal for everyone, the City offers two different payment plans to assist with customer budgeting. A pre-authorized payment plan where the amount owing is withdrawn on the due date of each bill and a pre-authorized budget plan where the estimated annual consumption is divided equally into 12 monthly payments and withdrawn on the last day of every month.
In addition, MyAirdrie was introduced as an online alternative to paper billing. Utility bills can be viewed and paid through the system and it allows account holders to receive free notifications if a payment is missed. To date, over 10,000 customers have signed up for a MyAirdrie account, which is about half of the utility accounts in Airdrie.
In 2016, over 265,000 utility bills were issued with 3.9 per cent receiving past due card reminders. Utilities staff anticipate this number will decrease with a new email reminder option for MyAirdrie customers to pay the invoice prior to receiving a card. The 28-day billing cycle has also resulted in an overall reduction of overdue accounts from 10.53 per cent in 2013 to 7.26 per cent in 2016.
City of Airdrie
403.948.8800 ext. 8838