WITH technology now an important component of our daily lives, the Water Authority of Fiji has resorted to the most popular — mobile phones — to keep its customers abreast of water supply disruptions or that bills are due.
WAF yesterday signed an agreement with Vodafone Fiji, which would now enable WAF to send bill reminders to its customers who are on the Vodafone network.
The two organisations have an existing relationship with WAF customers having the option to pay their water bills through Vodafone's mobile money service or M-PAiSA.
"This is part of continued efforts to streamline our processes and upgrade our communication channels to provide our clients every opportunity to settle their water bills on time to avoid disconnections and penalties," WAF acting chief executive officer, Opetaia Ravai said.
"Access to the Vodafone SMS platform will allow WAF the flexibility to send tailored bill reminder messages to its clients to settle their bills on time.
"Timely collections of bills remain a challenge for WAF. This in turn puts pressure on our cash-flows and our ability to undertake capital projects to upgrade and increase capacity to meet the increasing demand for water.
"Some of our clients continue to highlight issues of not receiving their bills on time.
"Whilst this is no longer an acceptable excuse given that we have given our clients sufficient time to verify and update their postal addresses, nonetheless, we are taking this proactive step of informing customers through mobile text messages to pay their bill on time.
"Not only will the SMS message serve as a bill reminder, it will also allow them to pay their bills instantly if they choose to do so.
"All they need to do is to hit the reply button on the same message and they would be re-directed to the M-PAiSA bill pay menu which lets them settle their bill instantly."
Vodafone's head of corporate affairs and value added services, Shailendra Prasad said the SMS reminder message had been very effective in timely collection of instalment payment and bills.
"Courts Fiji Limited uses this service very effectively to remind its customers of their repayments due.
"This in turn has substantially reduced their default rate, improved timely collections and cash-flows and reduced arrears and debt collections costs," Mr Prasad said.
"For many of us, it is not the ability to pay, but rather remembering to pay on or before the due date time that is an issue.
"In our every day busy lifestyle, we sometimes seem to forget to pay the bills until we realise that the water is no longer flowing through the taps. The SMS bill reminder is an excellent service for WAF clients which would be very much appreciated.
"We are delighted to provide this value added service to WAF clients on the Vodafone network which also includes Inkk mobile customers."
"This service is at no cost to the recipient. We urge WAF clients on the Vodafone network to register their mobile numbers with WAF so that they can be alerted of their water bills directly won their mobile."
"Furthermore, they can also reply to the same SMS reminder to go to the M-PAiSA menu to pay their bills instantly," he added.