All About: Billing Calendars

calendar-27077_640 copyWhen it comes to paydays and money availability, there is no such thing as a “typical” utility customer. Some customers receive their entire month’s income all at one time. Some are paid weekly. Others may rely on regular, but random paydays throughout the month. The best a utility can do is time bills consistently so the customer can anticipate, and budget, for their billings. Customers appreciate their services being reliable, and on a reliable billing schedule.

30-Day Billing Cycle

In one of the Black Mountain Software mini-training sessions, we review our recommended Utility Billing Calendar for folks who bill monthly. The best-case scenario for a utility biller is a system based on an end-of-month billing cycle. When utility rates are determined by usage, meter readings are intended to be evenly-spaced, 30 days apart, a few days prior to the billing calculation. Within those few days, a due date and application of penalties are designed to take effect as well as readings entered and reviewed prior to billing.

Consideration must be given to the time it takes to prepare bills for distribution so the customer can receive a bill on, or near, a reliable bill date each month. This sequence can be applied within the month for those who bill in sections (more than one group to bill each month).

Cycle Billing

The Three-Cycle Billing Calendar suggests getting readings for Cycle 1 on the 10th of the month, so Cycle 2 would read on the 20th of the month, and Cycle 3 would read on the 30th of the month. The workload increases, but the concept is the same: readings should be as close as possible to thirty days apart for each group of accounts billed monthly.

Some utilities bill two cycles of accounts over a two month period. This involves loading readings once a month, perhaps on the 22nd, and each cycle is read once in alternate months.

Quarterly Billing

Some utilities bill only quarterly. These would aim to read every 90 days to stay consistent.

Whether you bill within a circus of cycles or one magnum opus each month, remember your ultimate customer expects to receive a utility bill with timely regularity. Black Mountain Software is proud to offer products and training that help you deliver that.

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