Those pesky costs The Block forgot to mention


Hidden costsWho sends out your water bills? Collus-PowerStream. It’s all part of the shared services agreement. Yes, that simple little agreement that for 15 productive, cooperative years linked our water and electrical utilities with mutual resources. That same agreement The Block dismantled and handed over to the interim CAO two years ago to rewrite and update. A 30-minute job that still hasn’t been completed. And never will be.

Who takes the data from the meters, calculates the charges, prints and folds the bills, inserts them into envelopes and puts them through the postage meter? Collus-PowerStream.

Who handles the automatic payments, the credit card and debit card payments, cashes the cheques and takes payment in person? Collus-PowerStream.

Who applies the payment it to your account and calculates any credit or debit? Collus-PowerStream.

Who answers the customer calls, explains the bills, makes changes of address or ownership to bills, opens new accounts, closes inactive accounts? Collus-PowerStream.

Who chases delinquent accounts and who works with customers in difficult situations? Collus-PowerStream.

Who banks the money and pays the town their share? Collus-PowerStream.

Our share of the electrical utility is about to be sold – YOUR utility – even though you never got even one chance to voice any say in the matter. It was all done in secret, connived behind closed doors with lawyers and consultants without any public discussion. 

Who pays for the cost of billing and mailing once the deal is closed? YOU will. Oh dear, did the administration neglect to warn you about this?

Of course, first we’ll have to HIRE more staff to do the work because we don’t have them. Then we need to buy the billing software and train people to use it, buy the computers, printers, letterhead, envelopes, and postage meter we need. More training in customer service. Send out change of address notices to all users out since payments will have to go to the town, then notices that customers will have to change their banking for the town to take payments, not Collus-PowerStream… tens of thousands of dollars just to get started. Potentially a lot more.

Do a little math. Some 10,000 water bills are sent to residences, businesses and industries every month. Postage ($0.85 each), paper, envelope, printing, ink, and energy =~$1 per envelope just for the mailing. Staff time, computer software, hardware, customer service? Add at least $4 per envelope. Businesses calculate it costs $8.50 or more to send a single letter to a customer, so estimating $5 each is actually very low (see here for calculations of $8.50 an invoice and here for $11 an invoice and here for $12.44 per invoice. Some estimates place the costs as high as $25 each!).

Now figure out how much MORE a month the sale of Collus is going to cost us. At $5 an invoice it will cost taxpayers at least $50,000 a month. And based on industry calculations (linked above), it could easily be double that. Paid for by you out of your taxes simply because The Block went on a witch hunt. You get to pay for their personal vendettas.

Screwed by The Block. Again.

Collingwood deserves better.

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  1. Pingback: Collus share bid received – Scripturient

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