Online billing in the pipeline for Grover water customers

Grover Beach residents will be able to pay city utility bills online using a new system that’s expected to be released in spring 2010.

The city will spend $10,000 from its reserves to implement the so-called NetBill system that would allow water and sewer ratepayers to view and pay bills online.

City officials said they wanted to provide the service based on requests from residents to view bills online and pay with a credit card.

The new program would store bills for three months and show usage history up to the same month of the previous year.

If at least 100 customers use the system, users could have to pay a minimum 35-cent credit card fee for every transaction made through the NetBill system, according to a staff report.

But the NetBill system will cost the city an additional $400 maintenance fee each month, so staff is suggesting that the fee possibly be set at $2 per transaction to help cover that cost, according to the report.

The rate could change depending on how many customers use the system. “(The staff’s goal) is to cover the $400 monthly (maintenance) fee, if possible,” according to the report.

Officials said the system likely will be implemented in about a month but will not be available to the public until it is fully tested.

A flier delivered with utility bills will tell customers when the service is available.