“The software was already installed,” said Assistant Director of the Electric Tom Ridgway. “It took three days to collect the customer data and import it into Cogsdale and to test the information to see if the majority of that data came over correctly.”
The majority of the data did come through correctly. Despite the sheer volume of data — there are 26,000 customers and total records numbering in the millions — Griffin Director of the Electric Bill Bosch said less than 1 percent of accounts needed attention.
Ridgway said now that the transition is complete, everything is working fine.
He added that Cogsdale makes customer service more efficient.
“It’s easier for the customer-service people to review an account (and) create a service order if they need to do a service order,” he said.
Customer-service workers can now have multiple accounts open with one database instead of needing to jump back and forth. Furthermore, under the old system, the city’s customer service and financial systems could not interface. All customer-service transactions had to be manually entered into the financial system. Now, data flows seamlessly between the two systems. This reduces the number of man-hours the city must pay for and frees up city employees for other tasks. As a result, financial reports come more quickly and accurately.
He said the customers like the new billing mechanism, in particular the data comparing how much power they used with the power used during the previous month. This data is helpful to customers who want to conserve power and water.
Another helpful feature of the new billing mechanism is how it measures water in individual gallons rather than 100-gallon units. This eliminated some of the confusion associated with the old measurement.
“The overall format is much easier to interpret in the bill,” Ridgway said.
Another benefit of the Cogsdale system is that it is now possible to reprint bills. Under the old system, if a customer wanted a bill, all the data needed to compute the charges had to be manually re-entered.
Bosch said once it is determined the new system is stable, it will be possible to offer new services to customers. He hopes to offer Internet access and billing and energy-efficiency programs, all of which will stem from the comprehensive Cogsdale billing system.