Village online billing, payment system down


Plain City residents will need to pay their November utility bills by cash or check.
Online bill pay is currently unavailable, as Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said the village encountered technical issues while switching to new software.
He said the root cause of the issue stemmed from a delay with the online pay processing program, in which the village has not yet received a “merchant ID.”
Cahall compared the ID to a person’s social security number. He said it is essentially a unique code that allows the village to be identified throughout the banking process.
Since the village does not currently have a merchant ID with the new software, the online pay processor cannot be used.
“Unfortunately, the payment options right now are to mail in or to pay in person,” Cahall said.
However, Cahall said the village should be issued an ID by the end of the week.
Because of the transition, electonic bills were not sent to customers in November. Every customer was sent a paper bill.
E-bills will resume for the December billing cycle for those who are signed up for the e-bill service.
Plain City completed the transition to a new service provider at the end of October. Cahall said the village previously used a vendor called Continental Utility Solutions Billing (CUSI), but is now using a provider called FREY.
Cahall said the village chose to switch to a new software provider because the “previous vendor wasn’t providing the level of service we expected.”
The prices for the village to use either CUSI or FREY are comparable, Cahall explained, but he said there is a “minimal” cost differential.
Aside from online bill payments, Cahall said the new software will be used by the Plain City utility clerk to complete tasks such as tracking accounts, completing work orders and submitting maintenance requests.
Cahall said the transition to FREY shouldn’t cause any hiccups for residents who pay bills electronically.
“Once the technical issue is fixed, hopefully by the end of this week, folks will see the exact same customer service they did previously,” he said.
Residents will still follow the same process to pay bills online, which they can complete by clicking the online bill pay link on the Plain City website.
Logistically, Cahall said the online system will look the same but physical, paper bills will have a slightly different format and be mailed in smaller envelopes.
November utility bills must be paid by Friday, Nov. 15, either in person or by mailing a check to Village of Plain City – Water Dept., 213 S. Chillicothe Street, Plain City, Ohio 43064.
Those who are not currently signed up for the e-billing system but would like to receive their utility bill electronically may e-mail their request to the Village at:
“Simply send your preferred e-mail address and we will send an E-mail confirmation back to let you know that you are registered for this service,” according to information from the village.
Officials did stress that residents are responsible for payments even if the e-bill is not received.

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