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South East Water billing system runs into trouble

Arif Mohamed

South East Water has hit problems with a new billing system, which have led to delays in the setting up of direct debits by customers.

The utility company implemented the "state-of-the-art" annual billing system in February, aiming to bring clearer bills to the company's 1.5 million customers.

However, the Windows-based system, Basis 2, supplied by Prophecy International and implemented by iMass, is still facing teething problems. As a result the company had to warn customers of processing delays, particularly in setting up direct debits.

South East Water said it was continuing to work with iMass "to review and upgrade the system to respond to the ever changing environment of customer service management".

The billing system will give customers a modern-looking bill, which contains more useful information and explanation of their water charges, said the firm.

Customer services team leader, Marek Podsiadly, said, "Our customers will receive a much more user-friendly bill and the staff have a system that is easier to navigate and requires less training. Overall the new system will help the company deliver a better level of service to its customers."

South East Water launched Project Pandora in March last year to find a replacement for its existing system, which was in need of updating and streamlining.

It had planned to replace its customer information system in November 2004 with a product from Saur Group, but this was dropped for a largely off-the-shelf product in a bid to avoid the potential problems of tailoring bespoke systems.

 


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