City of Lawrence to launch new online payment system for utility bills

photo by: Journal-World Photo Illustration

City of Lawrence utility bill

The City of Lawrence is preparing to launch a new utility billing system and online platform.

Most customers who pay their bills online or have their accounts set up to pay automatically will need to take certain steps in order to continue payments. Customers who pay their bill by mail and don’t use the online system don’t need to take any action, though they will notice that their account number and the address for payments has changed on city statements.

Due to the changeover to the new system, the city will not be charging late fees or shutting off water for lack of payment in the month of December, according to a city news release. To transfer from the old billing system to the new billing system, the utility billing office will be closed Friday and the new system will launch Monday.

As part of the changeover, all customers will receive a new 13-digit identification number that is made up of a customer number and an account number, according to the release. The new customer number will be linked to the customer’s name, and the account number is linked to the service address or addresses. Starting Monday, customers will need their new ID numbers to make payments online or over the phone.

Customers can call beginning Monday to get their new ID numbers, or they will get those numbers the week of Dec. 16 via mail or email, if they have an email address on file. The notification letter will also include an insert with step-by-step instructions for registering an electronic billing account and opting into paperless billing. Customers who deal with their accounts electronically will potentially need to do three things through the new online platform: register for a new online account; re-opt into paperless billing; and reregister for auto-pay, unless they registered for auto-pay in person.

Utility Billing Manager Kristy Webb said that those who registered for auto-pay in person at City Hall will have that information input into the new system. Webb said the city is asking customers who signed up for automatic payments online through the current system to sign up again under the new system because moving payment information from one online platform to another creates a security risk.

Regarding the new identification number, Webb said going forward it will be a cleaner method because people will keep the same customer numbers when they move. Webb said the city expects there will be longer than normal wait times to speak to the utility billing office due to the changeover, and that the city appreciates customers’ patience as the city makes the transition to the new system.

The release states that the new online platform will allow customers to view water usage, make online payments, view payment history, modify contact information and view or print bills.

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