Unitywater CEO Jon Black today unveiled a new, improved meter reading and billing schedule for 2012.
Mr Black said it was developed in response to customer feedback asking for all charges to apply in arrears and an end to lengthy delays between water meters being read and accounts being issued.
“We have listened and taken those concerns on board.
“From January, we will move to year-round meter reading, we will introduce quarterly accounts on the Sunshine Coast and we will charge for fixed water and sewerage access in arrears.
“That means our Sunshine Coast customers will receive smaller, more regular and timely accounts and they will be charged for all Unitywater services after they’ve used them.
“It’s a simpler, fairer schedule and a change for the better.”
Mr Black said the move to year-round meter reading would not impact on Unitywater’s 2011-12 prices but the billing period for the next Unitywater account would be based on a customer’s new quarterly meter reading schedule.
“No longer will bills be sent out as a batch, using a meter reading from up to four months prior,” he said. “Meters will be read on a continuous basis over a cyclical period across the region with customers receiving their accounts as the meters are read – on a rolling basis.”
The first accounts for 2012 would be issued from mid January to late March. Sunshine Coast customers will receive a new Water Meter Reading Notice once their meter is read and their first rolling account will arrive within days. This account date will determine their future quarterly billing cycle.
When the new account arrives, the customers will notice that their consumption is in arrears from the date of their previous account to the latest read date.
Also, as customers have paid their fixed access charges up to 31 December 2011 their new fixed access charges will only be in arrears to 1 January 2012. No longer will they be charged six months in advance.
“Unitywater acknowledges this is a big change, the first account in the New Year will cover an extended catch up water usage period because we’re eliminating the time lag between meter reads and accounts going out,” Mr Black said. “However for the majority of our customers, this transition account will still be smaller than usual because of the switch to charging for fixed access in arrears.
“This faster turnaround time will also make it easier for households to keep an eye on their water use and to identify and rectify problems such as concealed leaks much more quickly.”
Pensioner rebates for eligible customers will remain the same under the new schedule.
Unitywater reminds all customers to ensure their meter is accessible for the meter readers.
Customers will receive further information on the changes to their account cycle over the coming months.