Tag Archives: Utility

Reasons to Consider Outsourcing Your Utility Billing Printing

print-mail-statements-invoices-mailing

BMS and BDS: they kind of sound the same, and they work really well in conjunction. Black Mountain Software (BMS) has searched long and hard for a billing partner that could meet the specific needs of the utilities we service, and we found that trusted, reliable partner in Billing Document Services (or BDS).

After years of working with US cities and entities on their utility billing, we know one thing for sure: many are short on time, money, and manpower. Outsourcing with quality companies like BDS will reduce this hardship. And because they are a BMS partner, their processes interface seamlessly and efficiently with our software. Read more >

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Annual Service and Maintenance Fees—What Are You Getting and What Does Unlimited Really Mean?

In the early days of software programing, people purchased static products for a one-time flat fee. They ended up with tools that had little to no support, and quickly became outdated, requiring users to re-purchase new versions with annoying frequency. How many of us remember the days of purchasing a pricey software program, then feeling frustrated when the newer, better version hit the shelves only months later? The second you invested in a product, you were counting down the days until it became an outdated dinosaur. Thankfully, this scenario is quickly becoming a relic of the past. As technology has evolved, the best software utilities are products that constantly evolve to correct errors, stay up-to-date, and adapt to the fast-paced growth of industry standards. Read more >

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Utility Billing Software Enhancements: Autopay, Email, and Paperless Billing

English: email envelopeAny more, few of us remember the days of typewriters, carbon paper, and hand-written bills. As we continue to embrace technology, even those who grew up in the days of massive paper files can find ways to execute their very own Paper Reduction Act.

Monthly billings don’t come without mixed feelings at the offices of most Black Mountain Software Utility Billing clients. It’s what they do, and it makes their world turn, but it can be so much work with most municipal utility billing systems: print the bills, sort the bills, and stuff them in envelopes. Then there’s the postage and the post office, and their job doesn’t stop there! Read more >

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Every Data Storage Device WILL Fail! What You Need to Know

Replacing File:Handbuch Webdesign-InternetDate...Believe it or not, “Every data storage device will fail at some point in time. Every server will fail at some point in time. Every electrical grid will experience an outage at some point in time. And, every Internet Service Provider will experience an outage at some point in time.” — Thomas Toblin, 5 FAQs Municipalities Ask About Hosted Billing & Web Billing Software Providers for Utility Billing Services.

These are the realities of data security, and why more people are looking at Cloud-hosted software in an effort to reduce data security risks.

These vulnerabilities – and the potential to reduce them for our clients – are the very reason Black Mountain Software recently selected Amazon as our infrastructure-as-a-service partner for our hosted accounting and billing software. Read more >

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Summertime, and the (utility) billing’s easy…

English: Impact Sprinkler Mechanism Français :...Don’t you wish calculating and billing sewer usage charges was as easy as…turning a faucet?  With Black Mountain Software’s usage averaging features, it can be!

Many of our water and sewer customers bill more than a flat rate for sewer charges.  Since water usage is a metered and measurable number, many utilities calculate sewer usage by calculating the amount of sewer expected to flow based on the amount of water used.

In warmer months, customers water their lawns and gardens. During this time, water goes into the ground instead of the sewer system, so it’s unfair to charge for sewer based fully on water usage. Read more >

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Benefits of Smart Meters for Small Districts

Smart Meter, Boring topic

Smart meters may seem like a big move for small districts.  The average smart meter costs a customer $2 – $4 per per month during implementation and deployment, which can seem (initially) like a costly venture, requiring a lot of public persuasion. But more and more small and mid-size utilities are finding that upgrading their infrastructure to smart meters is ultimately cost-effective and beneficial to their district, because smart meters enhance efficiency, reliability, and security of electrical, gas, and water operations.

Though many customers may initially believe that smart meters only benefit the district or utility, they often come to realize that smart meters are advantageous to the customer as well.   Read more >

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2013 BMS Conference Schedule and Tips

BMS ConferencesWith the arrival of March ahead, the 2013 BMS Conference Season is now well underway. From now through October, rarely will there be a week that team members at Black Mountain Software aren’t assembling conference boxes, carefully packing their BMS logo shirts in suitcases, practicing presentations, and double checking on cookie shipments.  “Wait – cookie shipments?” you may ask…yes, we said cookies!  Our BMS staff will come armed to most of the conferences with the tastiest, most decadent macadamia nut cookies this side of the conference circuit!  Lucky conference goers will leave with these delicious treats to add to their bag of conference swag.   Read more >

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How-To Time: Utility Billing Live Access Archiving

by: Jen Carlson, Installation Team Lead/Senior Support Specialist

If you are experiencing slowness or have used BMS Utility Billing software for many years, it might be in your best interest to optimize speed and space by Live Access Archiving. If you are interested, just contact Utility Billing Support and we will turn the proper parameter on for you, and then you can take it from there.

Live Access Archiving is designed to speed up the following processes:
1. Accessing interfacing applications from within Cash Receipting – Ex: clicking on the UB button to enter receipts.
2. Backups
3. Reindexing
4. Running Reports, especially large ones

The process is very simple! Read more >

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Cut the Time It Takes to Reconcile UB Payments

by: Jen Carlson, BMS Installation Team Lead/Senior Support Specialist

Are you tired of taking hours to reconcile your utility billing deposits to your bank statements? Take a load off, and let the utility billing software by Black Mountain Software help you with your cash handling procedures!

You can lessen the time spent reconciling utility billing payments to your bank statement by simply sending your receipt journal voucher to Accounting EVERY time you take a deposit to the bank.*

For example, let’s say it’s the fifth of the month and you are ready to take money to the bank. Once you are done entering into the system all payments to be included in the deposit, immediately do this:

In BMS Utility Billing, go to:

  • Reports >
  • Detail Reports >
  • Collections Journal >
  • Collections Journal Condensed >
  • [OK] to preview >
  • [Yes] to include Payment Types on Summary >
  • [Yes] or [No] to section (depending on if you have sections) >
  • [Enter in a date span of the first of the month to the fifth of the current month]
  • OK >
  • OK >
  • OK >
  • OK >
  • This report should total what you have in cash and checks to take to the bank. Read more >

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    Cold as Ice: How to winterize your home

    ice-kaleidoscope

    Oh, the weather outside is frightful alright! And now is a great time to remember all the steps it takes to get the inside of your house delightful. We thought we’d post some good winterization tips to share with not only our fellow clerks, but also for our cities and districts so they could pass these tips along to their citizens.  After all, winterizing keeps you safe, efficient, green, and warm and prevents your home from being COLD AS ICE.

    C – Clean Gutters. Clean and remove debris from gutters to prevent ice dams from forming. Make sure downspouts take water away from the home’s foundation to prevent flooding. Read more >

    Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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