DPW to Launch Independent Water Billing Review
Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2019
Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E., announced today that he is taking the necessary steps to commission an independent review of the Department’s Water Bureau customer billing operations. The results of that review, including any recommendations, will be shared with the public. Mayor Catherine E. Pugh has told the director she supports this action.
DPW leadership, including Director Chow, met with community members and customers at multiple community meetings over the last few weeks. “We spoke with a large number of customers during our community engagement meetings, and one message we heard is that we need to provide even more information to build confidence in our billing operations,” said Director Chow. “We need to demonstrate the bills we send to our customers meet or surpass industry standards. We always strive to be timely AND accurate.”
BaltiMeter – the City’s initiative to move away from an outdated customer information and billing system, old and potentially inaccurate meters, and a quarterly billing schedule – was unprecedented. The effort required installing new technologies that allow the Department to:
- Collect data on water consumption through an automated, wireless network
- Provide customers direct access to their own water consumption data
- Send monthly bills instead of quarterly bills, making each bill more affordable and providing quicker indication of any leaks that could increase a customer’s bill
The transition to these innovative technologies, and approaches to enhancing services for customers, required a new organizational structure, additional staff and training, new business processes, as well as new communication networks, meters, and billing systems.
“I want to ensure that we have the benefit of industry expertise in evaluating our progress to date, and to help us identify any opportunities we may have to do a better job serving our customers,” said Director Chow. “We made a commitment to provide continuously improving customer service, including accurate and timely bills, and this independent review is just another example of how we work hard every day to earn each customer’s trust.”