As the world progresses on in this never ending chase for a time and wealth, it is undeniable that science has made astounding developments. Technology and computers are everywhere. Today, they are becoming the foundation of any development of society.
The computer system is not a simple machine. It is like a very modern and highly complex calculator. It can do all the functions at a speedy rate and also helps us to search and progress in our homes and businesses. This is apparently complicated, but the vibrant outcome will make our work effective and efficient.
Computer technology is very important especially in the business field. It can help to make work easier. Computer is a powerful tool, allowing you easily extract data in order to prepare reports and analyze the information. Computers can help a business stay in contact with its customers as well.
Computers can help managers keep track of the financial status of the company on a yearly, monthly or even day-to-day basis. Companies can use their computers to print checks for payroll and expenditures, and can form a direct link to the company’s bank account. Computers through internet connection made business transactions easier and more convenient. As compared to hard copied data which is more prone to damage data saved in the computer is more secured. Thus, computer plays a big role and importance in the business field.
Already computers have become such an important part of our lives—in airports, banks, railway stations and every well-equipped modern office. As computer continues to proliferate in ever increasing numbers across large segments of Government, business and industry, the common man is beginning to believe hesitantly that computers can actually deliver a good part of the promise that they had offered. Society is gradually accepting the fact that computers will indeed change the manner in which the things are done.
For a water billing, which is complex, repetitive and has voluminous data computerization is recommended. Computerization overcomes many of the defects in the manual system, is fast and gives a control on the system. In our study entitled “Computerized Billing System for Pansol Rural Waterworks”, the researchers will give an extent or the effectiveness on keeping the consumers’ consumption information, and the establishment’s collection in more advance and effective ways.
The proponent think that with strong desire and hope that advance development of this study would be more significantly help on the way to a good and efficient billing system which should lead to at least minimizing if not eradicating the negative and undesirable aspects of this proposed system.
1.1.2 Background of the Study
On May 23,1981, the residents of Barangay Pansol voluntarily associated themselves to form an association whose primary purpose is to provide its members with adequate supply of potable water for domestic use at reasonable cost.
A year later, Pansol BWP- RWSA Inc. was constructed jointly by the USAID/BWP – MILG and the provincial government of Batangas under the administration of Governor Jose C. Laurel. A contract was made and entered into by and between the provincial government of Batangas and the Association. It was represented by then President Mr. Juan E. Manalo, the duly authorized representative. The province lent to the Association 44.67% of the total project cost amounting to P 141,602. 30 to finance the construction of the Level II water system or communal faucet in Barangay Pansol. The loan is payable within 20 years with interest rate 4% per annum.
As the population grew, the necessity for household connections increased and it gave rise to the Level III project or the individual household connection.
The Association consists of 948 active members as of January 25, 2015. Thru the dedication of its Board of Directors, they put up a separate fund to provide scholarship grants to poor but deserving students, of which the fund came from 100% of their per diem. But many have applied for the grants and the Directors asked for the Waterworks Association’s counterpart for the continuance of its project. Now on its 12th year, the scholarship is still on- going. The other project was the summer Art Workshop which had 33 graduates and concluded in May 22, 2009.
The Association also did its part in the constructionof the multi- purpose building which house the Barangay Waterworks Office, the Barangay Health Center and the Barangay Hall. Pansol Rural Waterworks has newly opened its Refilling Station to ensure the availability of clean and safe water at lower costs.
As of today, there are 11 employees at Pansol Rural Waterworks who are truly dedicated in serving Pansolians, headed by a Board of Directors whom are all residents of Pansol, Padre Garcia, Batangas.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1. 2. 1 General Problem
This study seeks to find out the solutions to the problems encountered by Pansol Rural Waterworks and their consumers. It deals with the problem with their manual billing system which results to slow processing of transactions.
1. 2. 2 Specific Problems
Slow processing of transactions on billing
Inefficiency of calculations and recorded transactions
Time wasting is the result of slow billing process
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1. 2. 1 General Objectives
This study aims to develop an organized and an effective billing system in terms of working capabilities. It will help to build an efficient system to minimize the processing period of transactions between the administration and the consumers.
1. 2. 2 Specific Objectives
To avoid the slow processing of transactions due to manual transaction system. To provide an efficient and effective calculations and transactions between consumers and administration. To lessen the time and effort in processing billing transactions.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The researchers are proposing the “Computerized Billing System for Pansol Rural Waterworks”. This will assure the institution’s development initiatives and faster billing transaction processing among administration and their consumers.
If the proposed system will be implemented, this will be the conversion of the current manual system to a computerized one. The study would be beneficial to both administration and consumer. In view of the fact that this institution is currently encountering problems in their manual billing system, the proposed computerized system would be needed to eliminate or at least lessen such problem. The transaction can be done faster, easier and accurate which will result to less time and most burden of work load will be reduced.
In addition to this, the proponents will also benefit from the study, because they will be able to meet the requirements and will also learn from their research.
For future researchers, this study will serve as a reference material related to their own studies.
1.5 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The focus of the study deals mainly on the billing system of the institution.
These include all necessary statement specifying the payment transactions including the receipt which will serve as the generated report of the billing transaction.
This study clearly implies that the other aspects of the institution’s operation such as payroll and other unrelated system are not included in our study. The research is absolutely focused on the billing transactions of the company and it has nothing to do with any other unrelated transactions.
A series of interview was administered to obtain the needed and accurate information for this study. The researchers have had a board interview regarding the system’s requirement and the information to be encoded in the system.
Internet is a great help in the fulfilment and completion of the documents for this study. Through internet browsing, the researchers found out several related literatures and studies including foreign and local researches which was compared to the proposed system which is the “Computerized Billing System for Pansol Rural Waterworks.”
Another means of research is library research in which the proponents found additional literatures and related studies. 1
.7 Conceptual Framework
The design will seek and provide solution for the problems that are being encountered by the institution and it’s consumer. Through the use of this design, the billing system with all the necessary data would be successfully done and recorded during the billing process.
This shows the fundamental basis of the proposed system. The inputs which are Meter Number, Last Name, First Name, Middle Name, Address, Contact Number, Month, Due Date, Present Reading, Previous Reading, Consumption, Bill Amount and Penalty were presented here.
Fig. 1: Conceptual Framework
The figure shows the fundamental basis of the proposed system. The inputs which are Meter Number, Last Name, First Name, Middle Name, Address, Contact Number, Month, Due Date, Present Reading, Previous Reading, Consumption, Bill Amount and Penalty were presented here. This also shows that the process is the Computerized Billing System for Pansol Rural Waterworks, and the generated output of the process is the receipt.
1.8 Definition of Terms
System- is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integratedwhole
Billing system- is a combination of software and hardware that receives call detail and service usage information, groups this information for specific accounts or customers, produces invoices, creates reports for management, and records (posts) payments made to customer accounts.
Computerization- involves the process of taking activities or tasks not previously done on the computer and shifting them to being done on the computer.
Hardware – is the collection of physical elements that constitutes a computer system. Computer hardware is the physical parts or components of a computer, such as the monitor, mouse, keyboard, and so on, all of which are physical objects that can be touched (that is, they are tangible)
Software- is any set of machine-readable instructions that directs a computer’s processor to perform specific operations. Computer software contrasts with computer hardware, which is the physical component of computers.
Technical feasibility- is one of the first studies that must be conducted after the project has been identified.
Economic feasibility- is the cost and logistical outlook for a business project or endeavor.
Operational feasibility- is a measure of how well a proposed system solves the problems, and takes advantage of the opportunities identified during scope definition and how it satisfies the requirements identified in requirements analysis phase of system development.
Visual Basic 6.0- is a high level programming language which evolved from the earlier DOS version called BASIC.
Windows- is a metafamily of graphical operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. It consists of several families of operating systems, each of which cater to a certain sector of the computing industry
Microsoft Access- is a database management system from Microsoft that combines therelational Microsoft Jet Database Engine with a graphical user interface and software-development tools. It is a member of the Microsoft Office suite of applications, included in the Professional and higher editions or sold separately.
Database- is a collection of information that is organized so that it can easily be accessed, managed, and updated.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES
This chapter tends to discuss the related literature and study. This will show the distinction between the related studies of the other research to the proposed system. These write- ups were of great help to the proponent’ s task of accomplishing their objective.
2.1 Related Literature
As the researchers conducted their research, they gathered all this related literature.
According to James A. Seen, author of the book entitled “Analysis Design of Information System” states that system development can generally thought of using as having two major components, system analysis and generally system design is the process of planning a new business system to replace or component the old. But before this can be done, we must thoroughly understand the old or present system and determine how computer can be used to make the operation effective. Just as the same with how the proponents started the system analysis for this study. The analysis started from analysing the existing or the old system of the company.
From the author of the book entitled “Modern System’s Analysis and Design” that was written by Jeffrey A. Hatfer, Joey F. George and Joseph A. Valacich, the goal of 6000 design is to provide a system that is easy to read, easy to code, and easy to maintain. They define information system analysis and design of information system is based on the understanding of the organization , objective, structure and process. Information system can be developed through various methodologies and comprehensive multiple step approaches to develop a system. Techniques are particular processes that follow to ensure the study is well – through- out complete and comprehensive. The goal of information system for the organization is to respond and anticipate problems and opportunities through innovates uses of information. Like this proposed study, the proponents goal is to design a system that will help the company improve and innovate.
According from an internet article by Pradeep Gokhale entitlted “Computerised Water Billing System”, Amaravati water supply scheme is the only urban water supply scheme in Maharashtra which has been getting the facility of computerized water billing system continuously since 1991. The operating of the system has been outsourced. The software development has not been in a year or two, but it has been in process years together and proudly contributed by generously from meter readers, counter clerks, fitters, plumbers, clerical staff in the office, and auditors and accountants, to the higher officers, engineers at all levels, and most of consumers of the scheme. It has become most intelligent software in the country and now it is not only utility software but it is management software.
It is in use in number of cities in Vidarbha and has to share the experience of managing more than 800, 000 consumers in the Delhi, the Capital city of the Country, since 1995. Following script has been included in the Maintenance Manual for urban areas. Water Billing and Revenue Management System is the most important aspect of any Water Supply Scheme as it governs the financial aspect, which is the most important factor. Irrespective of the basis of the Billing Metered/Unmetered, the Computerized Billing System needs three major databases: First is the master data, this is the data, which needs to be entered only one time when the Consumer/Connection is added into the database.
This data is relatively static in nature and does not change time to time. Various data required to be store dare: Consumer Number, Name of Consumer, Address, Type of Use, Type of Consumer, Tap Size, Date of Connection, Details of Feeder Line, Locality, House No., Ward No., No. of taps, No. of Families, Meter Make, Meter Number, First Reading, Ownership of Meter, Deposit Amount etc. Second is the data for each billing period, this data will be entered for every consumer for every round and will be used for calculating the demand of that billing round. Various data items required to be stored are ; Consumer Number, Date of Meter Reading/Period for which Billed, Status of the Connection and any changes in Master Data etc.
And the third is the receipt data, this data will be the data related to the payments made by the consumers against the bill issued. This data will be entered on daily basis irrespective of the billing frequency. Various data required to be stored are; Consumer Number, Date of Receipt, Receipt Number, Details of the collection Centre, Cash/Cheque (If Cheque- Cheque No., Bank, Branch) Part Payment/Adhoc Payment/Deposit, Account Head for posting etc. The article points out a step- by- step procedure of the system implementation. Like the proposed study, upon impklementation, there will be procedures to ensure the systems data efficiency.
According to an anonymous author of an internet article entitled “Principle of Water Rates, Fees and Charges”, if the utility billing system is computerized, the time required for the preparation of the bill tabulation may be relatively short, perhaps only one or two weeks. The computer staff may however be required to develop specific programs to extract and summarize data in the form required, and delays are often encountered because computer time is not readily available when needed. By the beginning the bill tabulation early in the cost of service study, the results should be available to avoid delay both in the design of rates and in the evaluation of the adequacy of proposed rates to recover allocated costs of service from customer classes.
A bill tabulation shows the number of customer bills rendered at various levels of water usage during a specific period of time for each customer class served by the utility. The tabulation of bills for a historical period provides the basis for identifying typical customer- class usage patterns and aides in the development of rates recognizing such usage patterns. Rate schedules that are intended to be applicable throughout an entire year generally require a bill tabulation for a historical record. Slow processing is one of the problems that occur in the existing manual system, and like what was mentioned in the article, it is the researcher’s target to increase the speed of process and to lessen the delays of transactions.
As said in an internet article entitled “Developing Effective Waterworks and Collection Practices”, written by an anonymous author, improving billing and collection activities has an immediate impact on the revenue streams of a service provider that can, in turn, encourage commercial and operational efficiencies for aiding the expansion and delivery of improved, reliable, and sustainable services. This note draws on national and international cases to explore what it takes to implement an effective billing and collection system. Effective billing and collection systems are a critical component for ensuring the viability of a service provider. Improving these has an immediate impact on the revenue streams of a service provider that can, in turn, help in improving services. Effective billing and collection systems are a critical component for ensuring the viability of a service provider.
Improving billing and collection activities has an immediate impact on the revenue streams of a service provider that can, in turn, help the service provider in improving services. However, while effective billing and collection practices depend on many internal factors (including customer databases, the extent of metered and unmetered service provision, tariff and billing structures, delivery of bills, and facilities for customer payments), the institutional arrangements under which service providers operate and provide services determine whether such practices will remain sustainable in the long term.
Efficient billing and collection practices can set incentives for the provider to effectively charge, and collect water bills while also fulfilling a commercial orientation to services the revenue streams of a service provider that can, in turn, help in improving services. This note draws on national and international cases to explore what it takes to implement an effective billing and collection system that encourages commercial and operational efficiencies for aiding the expansion and delivery of improved, reliable, and sustainable services. The note starts with an explanation of how poor billing and collection hurt the service provider, followed by the key principles of an effective billing and collection strategy, illustrated through national and international billing practices.
The basic aim of the performance improvement series is to help water utilities and service providers understand and adopt mechanisms that promote cost recovery and sustainable revenue strategies, as well as help achieve financially viable and sustainable improved services. The objective is to be able to focus not only on specific performance improvement areas by advancing technical, commercial, and operational efficiency—such as leak reduction, billing and collection, customer service, and tariff setting, among others—but also ensure that such improvements remain sustainable and viable in the long term through arrangements such as performance agreements, monitoring, and evaluation. The article focuses on the importance of effective billing and collection, the common pitfalls that their poor implementation have, and what some service providers have done to improve upon current billing and collection practices—through measures including robust recordkeeping and billing procedures, updating customer databases, outsourcing billing activities and using improved technology, and encouraging and incentivizing staff to undertake billing and collection functions more diligently. Like the study, the goal of desingning a computerized system is to generate an effective billing process in the company.
According to http://www.cusi.com/water-billing-system.html, Just like with any business, having the right tools is critical to a company’s failure or success. One of the most critical tools for a successful utility company is having an efficient, yet effective water billing system. Having the right billing in system is place is important for a number of reasons. New water billing software helps utility companies to be more efficient in their overall billing processes, while helping them to boost productivity.
New water billing technologies help utilities automate internal billing processes into a simple, effective, and easy to use system. If you’re looking to boost efficiency and productivity, while decreasing customer response times and increasing customer satisfaction, there is no one more trusted in the utility billing services industry than CUSI Utility Billing Solutions. CUSI provides complete personalized billing solutions for companies with customer bases from 500 to over 500,000. Currently, CUSI has over 1000 companies using their billing solutions to manage their water, sewer, gas, electric, and waste management operations. Also, CUSI currently offers CIS/Utility Billing solutions to help address challenges of utility companies both large and small. CUSI’s water billing system will offer a number of benefits to your utility company almost immediately. Just the same with the proposed study, the researchers aim to develop a system that will be beneficial to both management and consumer.
According to an article entitled “Water Billing Software Runs the Business” from http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/ , for large commercial water customers with multiple units, like apartment complexes, the water billing software is capable of allocating a single meter reading into multiple bills according to square footage and occupancy. When your utility company outgrows the capability of your current water billing system, invest in the most advanced system to track every aspect of your utility business. Be prepared to update business processes to include the software inputs that will keep the office and field apprised of work activity and customer requests. Train the employees and monitor the ongoing effort to use the software effectively throughout the day. The initial investment in high-quality water billing software will improve your margins and reduce the monetary loss from unpaid accounts. Your customers and employees will be better informed, and the costs will be recovered within an acceptable period of time. The same with the proponents target in designing the system, the program will be effective and improve the company’s billing and collection.
An article from http://www.waterefficiency.net/ entitled “The Benefits of Automated Billing”, says that, by employing water billing software, utilities can reduce the size of their labor force, providing immediate savings. They won’t need as many utility employees to tackle billing issues if software is doing this job for them. And reducing the number of employees in the billing department doesn’t necessarily mean laying off talented workers. Utilities can train billing department staffers to take on other jobs, whether with the municipal utility or elsewhere in the utility. Water billing software also allows utility employees to focus their efforts on other tasks.
They can spend more time in the utility’s customer service department answering resident questions. They can analyze the reports created by billing software to hunt for potentially costly leaks. And they can study these same reports to determine new ways to conserve water use and reduce the water utility’s overall costs of providing this water to its customers. Today’s water billing programs provide a host of reports and functions that stretch far beyond simply sending payment notices to consumers. Savvy water utility officials recognize this and use these reports to operate their utilities in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. The proponents study targets to lessen the work load of employees and the fast processing of billing transactions in the company.
According to an article with a title “ Impact of Municipal Billing Systems on Revenue Collection”. The Manila Water Utility undertook a series of reforms between 2000 and 2003. The utility now employs 100 per cent metering on all service connections, which are read monthly. There has been an increase in new service connections, identification of illegal users, billing of unbilled services, and replacement of faulty meters. As a result, revenue has increased by 83 per cent while the average collection period has fallen from 86 days to 50 days . Like the research study, once implemented, the proponents look forward to effective billing and collection of payments in the company.
Another article entitled “Baltimore Approved New Water Billing System” mentioned that, Baltimore officials approved on Wednesday a new water billing system that will bring the current 35-year-old system up to date. In the next couple of years, the city is updating more than 500,000 meters and launching a new billing system. The new system will be the brains behind the city’s new water meters and will allow customers to read bills online and get more information about water usage. When UMAX launches, it will bill customers on actual usage, meaning no more minimum bills. “The new system known as UMAX will enable the city to move away from the existing minimum billing model toward a system that charges based on actual consumption,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. Just like the research, it is needed to improve the company’s performance in terms of billing transactions.
2.2 Related Studies
2.2.1 Local Studies
In the study conducted by Benipayo (1994), entitled “Study on the RM/GS Billing System of the Manila Electronic Hotline Telephone Company”, stated that billing system is an essential component of the revenue generating function of the company. Thus, failure to generate bill on the proper time would effect the retaliation in the collection of revenues. The billing update is actually the revision of the entry of the new accounts in the customer file. Failure to update customer state in the billing records shall in a “no billing” of the consumption and will ultimately cause a non-generation bill. Like the study, the researcher aims to be a good innovation in the company’s billing process. Effective billing system means good revenue.
According to the Casimiro Development Corporation Water Billing System, in March 2001, Bartolome, Alonde, Yanuaria and Atendido made a study about the development of Casimiro’s Water Billing System. Based on their study, the problem was that Casimiro Development Corporation water billing system operates 13 projects and approximately 450 units per project that run in a manual-based environment. To develop more accurate files, they created a well-structured database that lessened and speed up the works in computations in voluminous files with accurate and error-free files. According to the Trece Martires Water District Billing and Collection System.
In March 2002, Cruto, Legaspi and Rosero made a study on Trece Martires Water District Billing and Collection System. Based on their study, the problem is that the Trece Martires Water District Billing and Collection System apply the manual processing of its billing and collection clerks and other office personnel. The records of the customers were record in paper works that are less reliable to keep those files. When a customer asks for his/her records, it will add up the workloads of the employees. To accurately keep those records, they developed an automated Transaction Processing System that speed up the customer’s daily transaction, utilized efficient and safe storage of customer’s records and a more reliable and accurate computation of customer’s water bills. Accurate files is to be provided when this proposed study is implemented.
In the study of Bartolome (2000), entitled “A Computer Water Billing System for Teresa Water Supply”, stated that in making a water billing computerized, numerous benefits can be acquired. One of the benefits is that it speeds up the current computation of the bills wherein the operators will not waste their time in computing the bills of every concessionaire because the system computers it automatically. Like the study, there are also several benefits that can be acquired like the fast processing of billing transactions.
A study entitled “LAN-Based Assessment and Billing System for Camiling” by Angelica Pagaduan said that, the manual method of assessing and issuance of receipt during enrollment period at Camiling Colleges is prone to errors, tedious and most often misplaces records or documents. The people concerned could not accommodate more students because of the slow assessment and computation of fees to be paid, thus, causing inconvenience to both teachers who are assisting in the enrollment and the students during enrollment. The proposed system will be designed to improve the current Assessment and Billing System of Camiling Colleges.
In the study of Purification (1995), entitled “Billing System of Plaza Hotel”, states that due to probably of manual computation error, computerizing the system will be able to step this probability even it is very rarely experienced in the manual billing system. Like the study of Purification, the study also aims to eliminate or at least lessen the computation error in the billing system.
A study with a title “The Case study of Manila Water Company” states that to maintain a sustainable structure for a world-class standard for water and wastewater services for Metro Manila, there is a need to ensure a balance between the interests of the consumers and the operators. Experience in the Philippines, however, indicated otherwise. The balance of interests was not easy to come by with regulatory regimes suffering from weak regulatory capacity. In order to avoid the same tendencies to repeat in the new contracts, the concession agreement adopted a “regulation by contract”26 framework. This framework laid down in a clear and detailed manner within the contracts the activities that would be regulated by an independent agency. The same with the study, the proponents aims to design a system that will be beneficial to both management and consumer.
The study entitled ”Remote Automatic Water Meter Reading System using Global System for Mobile Communications” by Rainer N. Dita, Paolo Pedro C. Martinez, Chrish Adrian S. Miranda focuses on implementing a GSM based system for the automatic water meter reading in the Philippines. This will determine if there is a significant difference between analog water meter and the proposed system in data collection. Weather conditions and security issues regarding the GSM module will not be taken into account. Also, the network problem due to its provider is not included on the study. This study aims to develop an automatic water meter reading system that will enhance the Analog water meter data collection by utilizing wireless technology using GSM module system for data transmission to increase the range of data transmission.
2.2.2 Foreign Studies
A Foreign study entitled “Irish Water Charges Plan” says that, this document represents Irish Water’s scheme of charges which are reflective of a number of Government and CER directions (some of which are being finalised currently) which in totality comprise the water charges plan. The scheme of charges in this document are designed to ensure that Irish Water only recovers the allowed revenue approved by the CER over the period 1st October 2014 until 31st December 2016. Irish Water has been guided by principles12 associated with equity and non-discrimination; efficiency in use of Water Services; cost reflectivity; cost recovery; stability and simplicity in developing our scheme of changes. Simplicity of the system, this is what the researchers aim. Our study needs to be simple in order to let the user understand the system easy.
The aim of this paper with a title “Water Label to Improve Water Billing in Spanish Households” is to propose a new way to improve the contents in water bills by adding a new water label that allows for checking the efficiency of water use. The water tag provides information to tenants about their efficiency of water consumption. In case of houses with a special meter to obtain the domestic hot water consumption, an extra water label can be shown with the evaluation of this kind of consumption. Furthermore, this information is compared to the average consumption value of citizens from the same province. To go further in citizens’ awareness about this subject, some recommendations should also be included, which will help to reduce water consumption.
This research takes a new step forward in terms of billing, since it evaluates, compares and gives recommendations with the purpose of improving the actual water billing system, thus increasing the awareness of citizens and decreasing water consumption in Spanish housing. Although bills are only a means of transmission, considering that it is a receipt of a service, they are subject to certain legal restrictions that, in the case of Spain, are established by Royal Decree 87/2005 . This document indicates the minimum data that bills should contain, such as the invoice number, name and surname, and so on. In addition, there is a part that is considered appropriated to give better customer service. Like the study, it also aims to provide a system that will bring improvement and innovation in the sompany.
A study entitled “Smart Water Systems” present a new approach to promote water security with uncertain but significant future risks from population growth, hydrological variability and extreme events, and intensifying water allocation demands across water supply, agriculture, industry and ecosystems. Strategic and transparent water resource decision making is central for water security to be achieved. This is in turn contingent upon the accurate, timely and reliable collection and communication of information relating to water abstractions and use, and the primary resource base.
With mobile networks expanding globally across national territories, SWS offer a mechanism to capture and communicate data on water resources through hydro-informatic systems on abstraction from surface water and groundwater, soil moisture content, storage levels and network leaks or theft. By generating accurate and reliable data, SWS deployed at scale can drive a step change in water sector accountability and transparency, thereby improving governance, reducing risk and ultimately creating a new business case for water sector investment. Partnerships across mobile network operators, water service providers, regulators and investors will be needed to realize the full potential of SWS and catalyse further innovations.
In a study in India, the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board introduced a spot billing scheme for billing its water connections. This helped reduce the billing cycle from three weeks to one day, which in turn resulted in increased cash flow (Agarwal 2008). The Board initially outsourced the billing function to a private party that had relevant experience. Through handheld data logger machines, staff employed by the private party can generate bills on the spot and deliver them to customers. The scheme has been in operation for about 70 per cent of the Board’s service area. In the long run, the Board aimed to hand over the bill generation activity through spot billing to its own meter readers. The Board undertook some restructuring of its current staff, and redeployment and rationalisation of their work schedules. Like our study, the aim of this proposed system is to improve the company’s performance, to lessen the problems and to provide an effective billing sytem.
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