Cycle billing – do you have too many cycles…?
The last issue dealt with moving to cycle billing. This week, we’ll take a look at the flip side of that coin.
Do you find yourself wondering if you bill too frequently and should reduce the number of billing cycles?
Improvements in meter reading
For years, one of the most common reasons for moving to cycle billing was the length of time it took to read meters. As a way to minimize days of exposure, many utilities moved to cycle billing.
For example, let’s take the example of a utility that used to take three weeks to read all their meters using handhelds. They’ve successfully made the move to automated meter reading and can now read the same meters in three days. In this case, it may not make sense any more to continue billing three times a month.
Does it seem like every other day is cut-off day?
The most common reason for moving to cycle billing is to balance office and staff workload. However, as improvements in technology and automation have reduced the amount of time it takes to do billing, perhaps it’s time to reexamine the reasoning behind the number of billing cycles you have.
This is especially true for utilities with more than four billing cycles per month. If you have five or six billing cycles, some weeks will have two cut-off days in them. Does this pose a scheduling issue for your field staff? If it does, consolidating some cycles may be the solution to your problem.
More efficient mailing
Another reason to consider reducing the number of billing cycles is mailing efficiency. Do you take advantage of the automation discounts offered by the Postal Service?
If so, it might be in your best interest to mail more bills at one time to be sure you meet the minimum requirements for discounts at each sorting level.