RWR pleased with new online, telephone bill pay service

CONYERS -- Rockdale Water Resources debuted online-pay and pay-by-phone last month and officials said the transition has been smooth.

"We have been very pleased with the results. It's been painless," said Al Ford, general manager of customer service and business affairs for RWR. "We've had no issues on our end at all. We had a slight technical issue in the beginning, but that was resolved very quickly."

Payments may be made online at RWR's Web page at www.rockdalecounty.org or by calling 1-877-290-1152. Payments are posted the next business day if a payment is received by 11:45 p.m.

"Our customers have been asking for this for some time," Ford said. "That's two more payment options than we've had. Of course, we're always making improvements."

The new services have been used by about 30 to 40 customers a day since their launch on Sept. 12, and according to Ford the number of customers using the services is increasing every day.

Ford said the process for the new services took a year to complete. The final company, Hewlett-Packard, was selected based on references, implementation plan, fees, stability and training support, as well as interviews with representatives from various departments.

The service is monitored by HP 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is no charge to RWR, Ford said. The convenience fee customers pay is charged by HP.

Right now, the fees are $2.50 for credit card or debit card use, $12.50 for commercial use and $1.95 for electronic check. The fees are based on the average payment by RWR customers.

"Our fees are reasonable based on what I've seen," Ford said.

Some utility services do not charge a specific "convenience fee" but charge for services in another way.

"Typically, utilities start out charging a convenience fee and will roll it into the current rates," Ford said. "If the public desires we include (the convenience fee) in the rates, then we'll do that."

All customers may use online or phone bill pay, except customers who have received a disconnect notice, have a special payment arrangement or have paid with a return check. These customers must stop by customer service at 958 Milstead Ave.

Those customers who do not wish to use the online or phone services still have access to other payment services, including auto draft.

RWR is also continuing to improve its services to customers. Ford said the department is looking at beginning an e-bill service, which would allow customers to receive RWR bills electronically.

"We are researching (e-bills) right now. I'm in the process of researching it right now. I had a conversation with our billing service," Ford said. "We are starting dialogue on that right now."

Customers may submit suggestions and comments about RWR's services to watercustomerservice@rockdalecounty.org.