Bill Process Enhancements

Did your autopay transfer date change?

All bills are still due 25 days from the issue date, but your bill is no longer issued the last day of each month. Your new bill will be issued about the same time each month, and your new due date will vary only slightly from month to month. If you’re on the online autopay system, the transfer from your bank account continues to be initiated five days prior to the bill’s due date—to change your autopay settings, simply log in to your profile at www.olivenhain.com/ebills. If you have not yet established an online profile and your account remains on OMWD’s Direct Payment Program, payment is now withdrawn on the due date for each bill. If you pay your bill via your bank’s website, please update your payment date within your bank’s bill pay service to reflect this new date. 

Did you just receive your January 28 bill and have a higher than usual System Access Charge and/or Infrastructure Access Charge?

The System Access Charge and Infrastructure Access Charge did not increase! Why they appear higher on your January statement is because your January statement is for a longer-than-usual period of consumption. A normal billing statement covers approximately 30 days while this transitionary statement includes approximately 42 days of consumption. The System Access Charge and Infrastructure Access Charge are prorated on a per-day rate, and as your transitionary statement covers roughly 40% more days than a typical billing period, the System Access Charge and Infrastructure Access Charge reflect this increase. This is a one-time transitionary statement and your bills will return to a typical duration of about 30 days in February. Learn more below.

 

Background

OMWD currently has about 23,000 customer accounts. We typically read the meters for all of these accounts at the beginning of the month. Our Field Services Technicians spend the next several days verifying reads, contacting customers that may be unaware of higher than usual consumption, and manually checking any reads that aren’t obtained through our automated processes. The data collected is then turned over to Customer Service Representatives who generate bill statements and spend several days verifying the accuracy thereof. Near the end of each month, Customer Service Representatives will send bill statements to all OMWD customers.

Beginning in January 2022, the updated process will break up our 23,000 customer accounts into different billing cycles. By breaking our meter reading and billing processes into smaller and more manageable segments, we can run our processes several times over the course of a month rather than just once per month. We anticipate that this will reduce the time it takes between reading your meter and issuing your bill by more than half, and will provide you with more up-to-date consumption data to more quickly alert you to unexpected increases in your water use.

Benefits

You will receive your bill closer to when you actually used the water, making it easier to see the impacts of your conservation efforts.

With a reduction in processing time, we anticipate a significant reduction in the time it takes between when we read your meter and send your bill. This gives you a more up-to-date reflection of your water use on your billing statement.

For example, under OMWD’s current process, you won’t see the impact of turning on your irrigation system in early April until your May 31 billing statement. We anticipate reducing this time by more than 50%.

You will experience improved response times.

Currently, all customers receive their bills at the same time, meaning that call volumes increase significantly at times immediately after bills are issued and just prior to the due date. By sending bills throughout the month, customer inquiries will be more evenly distributed throughout the month, allowing Customer Service Representatives more time to provide you with responsive service with decreased wait times.

What to expect?

With your January 2022 billing statement, you will see a new due date and a period of consumption that’s a little longer than usual. Please make note of the updated due date on your billing statement, as this is approximately when future OMWD bills will be due. The billing statement issued in January may be for a longer-than-usual consumption period as we shorten the gap between when we read your meter and when we issue your bill. Though this may lead to a slightly higher-than-expected bill, this is a one-time timing adjustment. After this initial transitionary billing statement, your February bill will return to featuring a typical month-long consumption period that will begin and end at different parts of the month depending on your account.

Bills will continue to be due 25 days after the statement is issued.

Online AutoPay Program : For customers enrolled in online autopay, the transfer from your bank account will continue to be initiated five business days prior to the bill’s due date. You may see a temporary balance forward amount on your January statement until the December payment has been received. If you wish to change your autopay settings, simply log in to your profile at www.olivenhain.com/ebills.

Direct Payment Program: For customers enrolled in the Direct Payment Program, the new transfer date from your bank account will be the due date of the bill (previously, the transfer date would be either the 15th or 25th of each month). If this is acceptable to you, no change is necessary. If you wish to unenroll in the Direct Payment Program, please contact Customer Service.

 If you pay your OMWD bill using your bank’s online payment system, please be sure to update the transfer date in your payment profile to reflect the updated due date.  

To view all rules governing customer accounts, visit Articles 8 and 9 of OMWD’s Administrative and Ethics Code.

In summary, this new process will be able to help you identify excess water use sooner and allow us to be more effective in serving you. OMWD encourages you to let us know if any questions arise about the new process.

 

FAQ

Why are we making this change?

OMWD currently has about 23,000 customer accounts. Our current process is to read the meters for all of these accounts near the very beginning of the month. Our Field Service Technicians and Customer Service Representatives spend the next several days verifying the accuracy of your meter read and preparing your bill statement.

This process involves a several-week gap between your actual water consumption and the time you receive the corresponding billing statement. By sending bills throughout the month, we anticipate reducing this time by more than 50%.

Why does my January billing statement not reflect a typical month-long consumption period?

This is required to stagger the billing date for different customer accounts. Rest assured, your statement is based solely on your confirmed water consumption and all service charges are prorated to ensure there are no duplicative charges.  After this initial transitionary billing statement, your February bill will return to featuring a typical consumption period of about 30 days.

Will my bills be higher going forward because of this change?

No. All water rates and service charges will remain consistent and reflect the most up-to-date rates in Article 8 of OMWD’s Administrative and Ethics Code.

Is my bill due at the same time as before?

No. All bills will still be due 25 days from the issue date, but your bill will no longer be issued the last day of each month. Your new bill will be issued about the same time each month, and your new due date will vary only slightly from month to month. Please make note of your updated due date when receiving your January statement.

My water bill is higher than average due to the extra days added to the billing window. What if I need more time to pay the higher bill?

OMWD recognizes the potential challenges customers might face with this transition. Please call us at 760-753-6466 if you need more time to pay.

What if I pay my bill after the due date?

OMWD has a nine business day grace period following the due date. Payments not received before the tenth business day following the payment due date shall be subject to a 5% delinquent charge.

I am on OMWD’s Direct Payment Program and my payment is currently drawn on the 15th or 25th of each month. When will payment be transferred now?

Starting with your January statement, you can expect the payment to be withdrawn on the payment due date. If this is acceptable to you, no change is necessary. If you wish to unenroll in the Direct Payment Program, please contact Customer Service.

I am on the online autopay system through the OMWD website. When will payment be transferred now?

The transfer from your bank account will continue to be initiated five business days prior to the bill’s due date. If you wish to change your autopay settings, simply log in to your profile at www.olivenhain.com/ebills. 

What exactly do I need to change on my bank’s bill pay service?

With your January statement, you will receive new due dates. If you pay your bill via your bank’s website, please update your payment date within your bank’s bill pay service to reflect this new date.