Water Services increase efficiency with hand held computers

SKNIS Photo: Water Services Manager displaying the hand-held computer

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 27, 2013 (SKNIS): Water Services Manager and Water Engineer Cromwell Williams revealed that with the use of newly acquired hand held computers, the Water Services Department will be able to increase its efficiency and provide timely service to consumers.

“What we are going to have happening as of March is that the Meter Readers are going to be using what we call a hand-held computer – and this is basically a computer,” Mr. Williams outlined while showing the equipment. “It will have on all the customer’s information. The Meter Readers will read your meter and enter the data into this device and it is now ready to be transferred or uploaded automatically to the billing computer system. So there is no need for anyone to transfer the reading from the field book to the office book and then from the office book to the computer.”

Mr. Williams elaborated on the benefits.

“This will help us in terms of eliminating the need for unnecessary double-handling of information,” Mr. Williams emphasized. “It eliminates one step which translates into savings in terms of time and manpower. We can now utilize persons who would have been doing a lot of the data entry to do other functions such as checking on customer accounts and so on.”

As explained to the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS), traditionally, when the Meter Reader went out into the field, a small booklet would be used to record the information collected from each household’s meter. Once the Meter Reader returned to the office with the booklet, the Data Entry Clerk had the responsibility of transferring each household’s information into Water Service’s billing computer system. Once this was done the bills would be generated.

Water Services consumers were also advised that the total for next month’s bill would be different.

“The first bill to be issued, after commencing the new procedure, in March will carry the cost for both March and February – that is because we are always behind and persons would not have been billed for February as yet,” Mr. Williams explained. “So because of that the first bill is going to basically cover two months, so we want to alert customers that we are simply catching up. We want to emphasize that the water rates have not increased, this is just a one-off thing.”

Mr. Williams assured that in spite of the cost value of the new equipment, there are no immediate plans to increase the water bill.

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