Utility boils down paperwork, combines water bills into one
Previously, residents received two separate bills for these services - a monthly bill from Pennsylvania-American Water Co. for water service and a quarterly bill from the borough for wastewater service.
Pennsylvania-American has agreed to provide monthly wastewater billing for the borough, in addition to the monthly water billing the utility has provided.
'The program benefits all parties involved,' said Robert W. Freeston, vice president and treasurer of Pennsylvania-American. 'It's cost-effective for Homestead, and it will be an added convenience for customers.
'With Pennsylvania-American doing the billing for both water and wastewater services, customers can expect more efficiency,' Freeston said. 'One bill - sent monthly - will cover the both services.'
Homestead Mayor Betty Esper said she is in favor of greater efficiency.
'What's more, it should be easier for borough residents to budget since they can now count on a monthly bill for wastewater. Better budgeting can be an asset for those on fixed incomes,' Esper said.
Interim Borough Manager Shirley Kuchta said the new system will make it 'simpler for residents and the borough office clerks.'
Kuchta said the cost to implement the new system will be 55 cents, and the borough has 1,400 customers.
Kuchta said currently the borough incurs the cost of printing and mailing the bills.
'It will be more cost-effective to do this and beneficial for the borough and residents,' Kuchta said.
Council plans to schedule a special meeting later this month to amend the borough ordinance allowing for the new billing system, the interim borough manager said.
Last year, 15 municipalities entered into agreement with Pennsylvania-American to do their wastewater billing and collection.
Company officials said having both charges on the bill will allow customers to take advantage of the company's new Easy Pay program, allowing customers to pay their bills by credit card over the phone or computer. Customers also can make automatic payments from checking accounts, and those on fixed incomes can arrange for flexible billing dates.
To obtain more information about the new billing arrangement, residents can call Pennsylvania-American's customer service center at 1 (800) 474-7292.
Karen Zapf can be reached at email@example.com or (412) 380-8522.