Special to The Times
In an effort to better serve their five-county service area, the Birmingham Water Works has redesigned its bill to provide customers with a better understanding of their water and sewage charges. The Water Works feels the redesign is a step in the right direction after receiving criticism that the old bills left many residents confused and unsure if charges were correct. Many customers do not realize that their water bill contains charges for water consumption but also their Jefferson County sewage, and with the new design, it was important to help eliminate that confusion.
The first change customers will recognize in the new bill design is its fresh look. Along with the utility’s refreshed logo and darker color palette, the bill has a cleaner, easier-to-read layout.
Aside from aesthetic changes, the new bill design also includes new features. The billing summary section now shows total payments received and total adjustments.
Information about disconnection policies, how to calculate your bill, and convenient and easy payment options are found on the second page.
On the added third page, the bill lists more billing details, including itemized water charges and a clearer delineation between water and sewer service. (While Birmingham Water Works does not provide sewer service, it does collect billing for several sewer providers in its service area, such as Jefferson County.)
Last, but not least, these improvements enable the new bill to accommodate more than one billing period, which will eliminate the confusion of receiving multiple bills at once.
“We have already begun to get positive feedback from customers,” said Rick Jackson, Public Relations Manager for Birmingham Water Works.
“The old bill was really confusing, whereas this bill here, it’s separated where you can actually read it and understand what you’re reading. It’s written accurately and large, so I can read it,” said Theresa Glass, a Birmingham Water Works customer.
Another Birmingham Water Works customer, Durand Evans, says the new bill design is a welcome change.
“It’s better. It’s more informative. It’s more informed, with the graphs and the openness of the layout, and I like how you calculate your bill. And it looks good,” said Evans.
Meanwhile, Birmingham Water Works customer Carolyn Reed appreciated the itemized and separate charges for water and sewer.
“I think it looks nice. It’s clear. The front is larger, and it breaks down all of the charges. I didn’t have problems with the other bill, but this is even more clear,” said Reed.
Jackson went on to say that it was also important for the new design to help clear up any confusion customers have regarding the rate they are paying for water. He said “because there are water and sewage charges on the same bill, many customers believe the total amount is just their water bill which leads them to the perception that their rates are high, when in fact according to Jackson, Birmingham Water Works rate increases have been below the national average for the last several years.
Jackson said, “customers of Birmingham Water Works have come to expect the utility to deliver quality drinking water that is available when they need it, and he hopes the new strides with the bill redesign help clear up any lingering confusion with customers understanding their bills.”
Along with the redesigned bill Birmingham Waterworks has implemented other improvements aimed to improve other aspects of its service such as increase in staff in the meter reading department.
For information regarding the newly designed bill or for other services, contact Birmingham Water Works online at www.bwwb.org or (205) 244-4221.