Welcoming the New Year with New Systems

As published in Lakeway Voice, February 2017.

Lakeway Municipal Utility District: Welcoming the New Year with New Systems

The Staff and Board at Lakeway MUD has been investigating the possibility of upgrading our Billing System for several years. We have been on the same system for over 20 years, and there are limitations that are frustrating for us and our Tax Payers and Customers.

After an extensive and difficult search for a billing solution that aligns with our goal of providing exceptional public service, Lakeway Municipal Utility District is pleased to announce the selection of Continental Utility Solutions, Inc. (CUSI).

CUSI is a leading provider of utility billing software tot he public sector, and Lakeway MUD has contracted to purchase and implement UMS.net – the most advanced Utility Billing and Customer Information System (CIS) on the market today.

UMS.net was developed using Microsoft’s .Net toolset and will provide Lakeway MUD with state-of-the-art technology to improve customer service, operational efficiency and better manage data across departments in providing water and sewer service to approximately 4,300 customers in Lakeway. The utility biling software implementation will incorporate several modules available within the entire UMS.net CIS solution including CUSI’s Customer payment Web Portal, AMR Interface Module, Accounting Interface Module, and the Electronic Payment module. All of these new and improved features will provide information much faster and with greater reliability.

We are excited about our selection of UMS.net and are pleased with the progress of the implementation thus far. Leveraging the technology of our new CIS/Billing system will result in efficiency gains that ensure we can continue delivering quality water and sewer service at the lowest cost to our customers. We are equally pleased with our selection of CUSI as our implementation partner. Their experience in delivering professional training, data conversion, and project management services to utility districts like ours will be a key component of a successful implementation.

The conversion has been in process over the last 4 months and our new CUSI system paralleled our old system for the February 1, 2017 billing. Once we are satisfied that all data is 100% accurate, we will make the switch and ‘Go Live’ in February; by the time you read this we will likely already be ‘Live’. Our first bills utilizing the new system will be generated and sent out to our customers on April 1, 2017.

Our new billing statements will be much more user friendly than the forms our customers are sued to. The statements will be much easier to read and display comparative graphs so that customers can review their usage trends each billing cycle. The ease of use of the Payment Web Portal will be a welcome change. Customers who use their Bank’s Bill Pay Service will enjoy faster posting of those payments, since they will be converted electronically by the system and post to the customer account more quickly.

One minor inconvenience for our customers that use Credit Card or Bank Account Automatic Drafting: each customer will have to go into the new website and re-enter their Credit Card or Bank Account information. Due to the confidential nature of these numbers, they are encrypted and cannot be moved from the old system to the new system electronically. This will be an easy task, and we will provide plenty of information ahead of time to accomplish this in time for April 1 Billing.

Michael Guerriero, President of CUSI, says, “UMS.net is the most advanced CIS/Utility Billing application in the market today. We developed this application based upon the latest development standards and disciplines in the software industry.” He adds, “The results are impressive in terms of product quality, scalability and ease of use and we are excited that Lakeway Municipal Utility District has selected us as their software provider and implementation partner.”

CUSI has over 1,000 clients utilizing their Utility Billing application and they implement around 75 new clients per year. CUSI has been developing and implementing total technology solutions for the management of utilities and local governments. We are able to move to this new “State of the Art” system at a lower cost than we have been paying, so it is a definite win/win for our staff, our customers, and our tax payers.