Toledo launches online billing for public utility customersWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Making a pledge to move into the 21st century, Toledo officials announced details April 20 of online billing options for its department of public utilities.
At a launch for the service at the Kent Branch Library, 3101 Collingwood Blvd., Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson said online billing, which had been sought by utility customers for years, allows the department to move into the 21st century.
“We’re so happy because it brings us into competition with other utility companies in which a customer is able to have modern, environmental and convenient means to communicate and conduct transactions with the city’s public utilities department,” she said. “We are creating a new way for customers and especially non-property owners — tenants, renters — to be able to get information and to be able to pay the bills.”
The online billing service, which is already in operation at http://toledo.oh.gov/services/public-utilities/online-billing, offers two payment options: QuickPay, which is accessible to anyone with an account number or street address; and online billing, which is for account holders to view and make payments on their utility account. Customers may also select an automatic bank plan to draw funds from a bank account.
The QuickPay option was designed primarily for renters and landlords to access accounts, letting them see amounts due and paid on the account, according to Abby Arnold, commissioner of utilities administration.
Edward Moore, director of public utilities, said the move to online billing is part of a larger movement to better serve customers.
“This is just one of many items that we’re working on to improve the department of public utilities,” Moore said. “For years, some of our customers, our stakeholders, indicated that we weren’t accessible enough and that we didn’t listen to the concerns of our customers. Well, I’m here to say that day and age has definitely passed us. We’re moving into the 21st century as the mayor said. We’re listening to our customers and we’re going to rebrand the department of public utilities to be a forward-thinking utility and respond to the needs of our customers.”
Moore said in a news release that online billing was among 34 recommendations made in an independent performance audit of the department in 2014.
To assist customers with online billing, the department of public utilities is hosting training sessions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday this week at the walk-in center, 420 Madison Ave.
The following branches of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library system will also conduct training sessions: Kent, 3101 Collingwood Blvd., 5-7 p.m. April 28; Reynolds Corners, 4833 Dorr St., 5:30-7:30 p.m. April 29; South, 1736 Broadway Ave., 5-7 p.m. May 5; Sanger, 3030 W. Central Ave., 5-7:30 p.m. May 11; Point Place, 2727 117th St., 5-7 p.m. May 12; and Heatherdowns, 3265 Glanzman Road, 5-8 p.m. May 13.
The trainings are conducted at public libraries because of their popularity as a destination for Internet services.
For more information, visit the department of public utilities at toledo.oh.gov/services/public-utilities/