West Memphis Utilities online bill pay (almost) ready

West Memphis Utilities online bill pay (almost) ready

Commissioners want redesign on web page


He promised it and it’s here — almost.

The West Memphis Assistant Utilities Manager, Todd Pedersen, promised online bill paying capabilities to Utilities commissioners earlier this year.

Pedersen revealed the new Internet bill paying service during the June meeting with a live demonstration.

The reveal went well as he walked the group through a mock bill paying experience. But commissioners balked at going public with the service. Several commissioners wanted better graphics on the page, saying too many stock photos of the river and the Memphis side graced the page.

They asked Pedersen to order changes from the design consultants that feature West Memphis places and scenery.

Pedersen described the successful behind the scene launch and testing but the commission vote failed to deploy the new payment method.

“We are live; our IT consultant group has been testing it with our data processing people,” said Pedersen. “The accounts have confirmed all our data is rolling over from our system into this new system. They have confirmed everything is working and we are ready to deploy it to the public for people to start using.”

Online bill payers will need their account number and address, according to the Pedersen. The statement screen comes up for review before paying the bill.

Those cutoff for non-payment won’t be able to come current online. The system is not continuously live, but runs on a batch system to make customer accounts and transactions more secure online. “We use a batch system, and online bill pay won’t know to charge the $30 reconnect fee,” explained Pedersen. “We want to stress this to the public.”

Pedersen pushed all the buttons and demonstrated the capabilities but commissioners immediately focused on the photos.

“Can we change that photo? Because that is not West Memphis,” said commission chair Dana Parker. “It’s the river, but it’s the Memphis side. Can we use a picture of the utility building or something?”

Pedersen had already run the objection by the web page designers.

“They said it would be a major undertaking,” said Pedersen.

“You have got to be kidding me,” said City Attorney David Peeples, “a picture? Then, they probably should have asked before they put that one up there.” “That was the first thing I thought of when I saw it,” said Commissioner Jerry


By John Rech