Va. sanitation district picks SPL customer billing system

Hampton Roads Sanitation District has chosen SPL Customer Care & Billing to help meet the billing challenges inherent in a system that relies on 19 public and private water purveyors to supply customer billing information. The system is scheduled to go into production in the first half of 2006...

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, APRIL 11, 2005 -- Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) has chosen SPL® Customer Care & Billing (CC&B) to help meet the billing challenges inherent in a system that relies on 19 public and private water purveyors to supply customer billing information. The system is scheduled to go into production in the first half of 2006.

"Our business is a little different from that of most utilities," says Mary Durkin, chief of HRSD's Customer Information Services Division, "in that customers do not sign up for service directly with HRSD. By signing up for water and sewer service provided by the city, town or county in which they live, residents and businesses by default become HRSD wastewater treatment customers. HRSD relies on the cities, towns, and counties within its 3,100 square mile service area to provide sewer connection and customer information as well as the periodic water meter readings that provide the basis for calculating its wastewater treatment charges."

To increase customer convenience and reduce overall costs to shared ratepayers, HRSD offers the cities, towns and counties within its service area several billing options, including two that provide customers with a combined water and wastewater bill. "We get flat files from 19 different jurisdictions with varying regulations and business practices," says Durkin. "We selected SPL CC&B because the system is flexible enough to accommodate our bill-production complexities. It permits significant customer-by-customer variations without requiring custom code that would be expensive to maintain and upgrade."

Once implemented, customers will notice new services, including electronic bill presentment and payment options. The region's jurisdictions will have even greater choice in how they work with HRSD to meet constituents' needs.

HRSD is also scheduled to be the first customer for SPL's new Business Intelligence product. "We see individually tailored executive dashboards as helping us monitor operations, detect trends and changes, and make the best possible decisions about the future," says Durkin.

Durkin praises SPL staff's approach to working with clients. "They're passionate about their system," she says, "but they didn't try to force us into some preconceived business model. They showed us how SPL CC&B could stretch to accommodate our unique needs."

Best of all, she says, "SPL CC&B is first and foremost an accounting system, not simply an automated information management system. The system must facilitate business processes, not constrain them."

"We're proud to be working with an organization that plays such a pivotal role in its region," says SPL's Dave Mulit, Americas general manager. "Numerous national and international awards testify to HRSD's success in preserving water quality in the environmentally sensitive Chesapeake Bay. We're confident that SPL CC&B will help HRSD maintain low costs of doing business while offering increased services to jurisdictions and customers. "In that way," he concludes, "we help support HRSD's efforts to direct maximum funding to the infrastructure and operations that protect the environment."

HRSD, a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA, was established in 1940 for the purpose of water pollution abatement in the Hampton Roads area. HRSD's mission is to prevent pollution, protect public health and support community development by providing wastewater collection, treatment and related services. HRSD owns and operates nine regional and four smaller wastewater treatment plants with a combined capacity of 231 million gallons per day (mgd), as well as an interceptor system comprised of about 500 miles of interceptor mains and 101 pump stations. HRSD currently has 678 employees and provides wastewater treatment services in Southeast Virginia for a population of 1.6 million people.

SPL (www.splwg.com) delivers the proven software applications that help utilities around the world achieve competitive advantage and excellence in business performance, while ensuring a lower total cost of technology ownership. SPL solutions in customer care and billing, enterprise asset and work management, mobile workforce management, and outage and distribution management are specifically designed for energy, water, and service companies. SPL works with systems-integration and technology partners around the world.

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