One bill for water, telephone, electricity!
A joint Unified Billing System (UBS) for water, telephone and electricity bills is going to be implemented in the coming New Year after being delayed for a year.
The new automated billing system project was undertaken by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) that signed an agreement with Global Communication Solutions (GCS), a local IT company, with its partners the US-based NCR and AT&T. The project that is expected to be implemented in the coming month aims at modernizing the bill collection system of the state utility providers, Ethio Telecom (ET), Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) and Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA). Currently, each governmental office collects its fees from the public separately. Sources at GCS told Capital that the company has completed the installation and testing of the new system and is ready to commence the service. GCS was mandated to build, own and operate the utility bill collection centers and then transfer it to the concerned governmental bodies after three years.
The main problem cited for the delay of the project was lack of a proper standard building that houses the new system, according to our sources.
Currently, the company has linked 25 billing stations in the capital city through networking to undertake the bill collection for the stated service providers. The new system will allow residents to settle their bills in a single payment at the various UBS stations around town.
“The government did not transfer other stations for the company, that is why we shall commence our operation on the first 25 stations this January, but phase by phase we will expand our stations based on the plan,” they said. According to our source the relevant government offices and GCS have agreed to commence their service with 25 stations. According to the initial plan the first phase of the system should have been applied in 45 service stations in Addis Ababa and the second phase was expected to be applied in Adama, Bahir Dar, Hawassa and Mekele.
GCS is known for installing several large nationwide networking projects.
According to the agreement signed in June 2011 the company will handle the payment system for three years before transferring it to MoCIT.