Utilities add online management

MONMOUTH — Customers of Monmouth’s utilities can now pay and manage accounts online.

“It’s integrated with our billing software, so when a customer signs up and pays their bill online, the next morning we’ll receive that payment, and we will update their account,” said Mark Dunmire, finance manager.

Online payment services had been offered a few years ago for customers of Monmouth, but it did not work well for either customers or city employees, Dunmire said.

The new system is used by other cities, including Dallas and Independence.

Once a customer signs up, he or she can monitor his or her utility usage.

“They can go months back and see their consumption,” Dunmire said. “If they don’t have their bill handy, and want to go back and see why their bill is so high, for example.”

It could come in handy for determining sewer bills, which are based on four months during the winter, he said.

“Most people don’t know how it’s calculated, but they could contact us and we’ll explain it to them,” Dunmire said. “Having their consumption history is a good thing. It helps them understand their charges.”

Property managers with multiple rentals can access utility information for all their buildings on one account, Dunmire said.

“Once you do it, you log your Express Bill Pay and your utilities come up,” he said. “It works really well.”

Customers may pay with debit or credit card, do a funds transfer from a bank account to the utility bill, create an autopay option, and sign up for paperless billing.

The city does not levy processing fees for using credit or debit cards.

“There’s a lot of customization that people will use,” Dunmire said.

With the new system, the city can also accept plastic to pay for other city services, such as dog licenses or park reservations. When paying for anything except utilities, a 3 percent processing fee will be charged.

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