Several Utility Billing members are in the midst of meter change-out projects. The projects range in complexity from AMR (Automatic Meter Reading) to AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure). AMR meter readings are stored on a handheld device or a thumb drive via walk-by, drive-by or fixed network. In contrast, AMI meters enable two-way communication over a fixed network between the utility system and metering endpoints. Reading retrieval can occur as frequent as every 15 minutes.
Meter technology has vastly improved in recent years. One benefit of the newer technology is the ability to identify leaks quicker. The city benefits from the loss of unbilled treated water. Residents benefit by receiving a notification of a potential leak allowing them to make repairs quickly.
The LOGIS Utility Billing staff held their annual User Group Meeting on Tuesday, August 20. The LOGIS Utility Billing group consists of 19 member cities, who come together and network on numerous different topics.
This year’s discussions were on the remaining 2019 work plan items, such as meter change-out projects. Details on the vendors for meter change-out projects, and new customer portals for customer’s to review their own water usage and much more were also reviewed. An update on CIS Infinity Builds and new Build release dates. Along with changes to the State Testing Fee that will affect the 2020 utility rates.
LOGIS plans to implement automation of scheduler jobs, and hold mini WebEx sessions where LOGIS can provide additional training on features within CIS Infinity. A demo of a process available within the software was completed on Arrangement Processing with the help from one of the members currently using this feature.
The meeting was concluded with member questions, where the membership has an opportunity to get ideas from other cities on how they handle different circumstances.
The LOGIS UB Team is excited to announce new vendors that are being integrated with CIS Infinity.
InfoSend: A global bill print vendor located in California has now gone live with 2 LOGIS CIS Infinity Members! This company accepts bill prints and notices as a PDF file. A new basic bill form will need to be created, but don’t worry, InfoSend creates a shell to layover the PDF image before printing and mailing the bills out to your residents! Using a basic template will reduce the file size needed to upload to the vendor, which will make the process run faster. Your normal bill print will also stay available in CIS for reprints from the customer account.
There will be no need to change out your barcode scanners! The same barcode font currently used in CIS Infinity will remain the same.
WaterSmart: A unique vendor that offers an online platform to engage resident interaction and provide analytics for the municipality. This versatile company offers bill presentment and links to popular online payment vendors such as Invoice Cloud. The dashboard platform for the municipality interfaces with CIS and the Meter software applications. CIS can be set up to send daily or weekly files to the WaterSmart portal. The WaterSmart portal can provide communication back to customers for items such as leak alerts and other customized letters from the city. Customized reports on meter readings, zones, historical consumption, and more can be run out of the Analytics dashboard.
Two members of the LOGIS community have signed on with WaterSmart. Projects are currently in the beginning stages of configuration and we are looking forward to seeing the finished platforms.
If you have any questions please contact the UB main line at 763-543-2660 or email at UB@logis.org
At the end of 2018, an audit on all LOGIS CIS user’s login activity was completed. We have discovered that some users are not logging off at the end of each business day. An email with instructions on how to properly log off had been sent to all users.
Current monitoring has revealed that not all users are logging out on a daily basis. It is important to log out each day to release the license and to open it up to another user. Each city is only permitted to use up to 5 licenses at any given time.
Not logging out has caused some issues when LOGIS needs to perform our monthly maintenance and applying builds.
Due to the number of users not logging out on a daily basis, LOGIS will be monitoring user log in sessions weekly. Anyone with a session running longer than one day will be closed out by LOGIS. To ensure this does not happen to you, please log off at the end of your shift.
We are currently working on updating our email distribution lists to make sure anyone with a valid CIS Infinity account will be notified when to log off for updates and maintenance.
With ‘Spring’ having ‘sprung’, it brings forth the planning and scheduling of the annual ‘Utility Billing User Group Meeting’. This year’s meeting month and date is yet to be determined. The LOGIS UB User Group consists of 19 member cities. LOGIS discussion items include the Work Plan and many more exciting Utility Billing topics.
Users have expressed an interest in Fall 2019 WebEx training sessions regarding Advanced reports/Filters/Searches, new account set-up, bankruptcies, delinquencies, move in/outs, best practices for the Certification process and Invoice Cloud.
As always, LOGIS support staff is looking forward to hosting this engaging event. This is a wonderful opportunity for our Utility Billing users to interact and network with each other to share ideas and best practices. Stay tuned for more details!
Testing for CIS Infinity’s new build, 3.1.29 is complete and is ready to be rolled out into Production. Thank you to all that helped test and provided feedback. We are happy to report that there were not any issues during testing.
The new build will be applied to Production early in the 2nd quarter. Once a schedule is established, all members will be notified of their date for upgrade. At that time, please let us know of any scheduling conflicts and we will reschedule. Everything in CIS needs to be updated when the new build is applied, that means all billings, cash batches, and penalties be updated. Please stay logged out of CIS when the scheduled update is in progress. A staff member will update you once the new build update has completed.
If you experience any issues after the update, please call the UB support line immediately at 763-543-2660.
Members run WAV (Winter Average Volume) by cycle to calculate Winter Average Consumption for Sewer billing. This process is configured and executed according to each individual business policy. Members are using this process to calculate usage during the winter months. This usage is then set within each customer’s account, so that throughout the year, sewer can be billed out no more than what was set for winter usage.
Typically Cities use a range of November – March as their winter months. This process benefits residents during the summer months when more water usage is typically being used. Water usage, such as watering lawns, does not go down City sewer. The WAV (Winter Average Volume) process ensures that sewer is being calculated according to what each resident’s typical billable sewer usage is.
It’s important to note that each Member does use the WAV (Winter Average Volume) process a little differently. A typical example of how WAV is used is as follows:
February Billing (Winter Quarter of water for Nov./Dec./Jan.)
Water Consumption was: 15 units
WAV (Winter Average Volume) is set to: 15
Water and Sewer for this billing is billed out at 15 units
October Billing (Summer Quarter of water for July/Aug./Sept)
Water Consumption was: 24 units
WAV (Winter Average Volume) is set to: 15
Water is billed out at 24 units and Sewer is billed out at 15 units (otherwise known as lesser of current or winter)
Spend any time outdoors and you know Minnesota is within those winter months. For our members:
Please remember to run the WAV process BEFORE calculating your winter quarter cycle billings.
Before doing the WAV process, make sure all water readings have been uploaded in CIS, including re-reads.
Make any necessary corrections of water readings in CIS.
After the above steps have been completed, you are now ready to calculate the cycle billing.
Advanced has released a new build for CIS Infinity that is currently being tested by LOGIS. Testing has been going great so far, no issues to report. Build 3.1.29 will be rolled out in 2019. Testing has been done utilizing Windows 10 and Office 2016.
If you would like to volunteer to test the new build in your CIS TEST database, testing documents can be found on the LOGIS portal. To locate the document on the portal go to shared documents under the Utility Billing link on the left. Click on Build Testing Checklist_2018, please notify UB support on what processes you will be testing and if any issues occur.
As 2018 year-end approaches, members need to start thinking about the CIS Infinity UB year-end process. Year-end involves several tasks that need to be done in CIS Infinity and members must decide when they want to do their balancing and reporting.
Year-end reports are point in time reports and must be generated ‘last thing’ on December 31, 2018 or ‘first thing’ on January 2, 2019, after all 2018 batches are updated and before any 2019 batches are created. These reports CANNOT be processed at a later date to obtain year-end data.
The year-end CIS Infinity process pertains to cycle billing batches, final billing batches, adjustment batches, penalty batches, ACH batches, etc. Members will run an Interface Table Synchronization to ensure that all credit card and/or e-Check payments are picked up. Members will reconcile A/R balances within CIS Infinity by first running non-zero balances, then zero balances. A CIS Infinity process called the G/L Interface Routine will also need to be completed/run. The G/L Interface Routine creates a journal entry in the financial software, of all transactions done within CIS.
CIS Infinity year-end reporting includes running a Multiple A/R Summary Listing and Single A/R summary, (if required), which displays the balances in each A/R Account. An Advanced Search is then run in CIS Infinity in order to find/report the balance due on every account in CIS Infinity.
Members will need to generate the Aged Arrears Listing report, which tracks aging data, the Land Use reports, which track billed consumption, and/or the Block Summary report, which tracks billed consumption by zone.
Did you know the CIS ‘Collection Status’ field can be used to monitor more than collection status information?
The ‘Collection Status’ field in CIS can be configured to add alternate account conditions, IE: WATER OFF/WATER ON and the changing of the ‘Collection Status’ can be ‘ruled’ by setting the priority of the ‘Collection Status’ in CIS, behind the scenes, based on the City’s business needs. The ‘Collection Status’ priority can be configured to be ‘un-changeable’ unless a user answers ‘Yes’ to a pop-up message when making a change.
Contact LOGIS UB Support staff with any questions regarding the ‘Collection Status’ field and how it may be used to improve your Utility Billing process.