An article in Computer Weekly talks about the delays to the implementation of the new billing system at South East Water, and the impact on customers - basically by them being unable to set up direct debits for payments of bills.
But as my colleague Carl Haigney suggests in a reply to CW, surely the article misses some key points relating to the utility sector as a whole: in a heavily regulated marketplace, all too often utilities come under scrutiny for quality of service. Many companies in the sector face a fine balancing act of meeting customer expectations against providing shareholder returns.
With research showing the utility bill as the most likely to be put off by consumers, any move aimed at improving the customer experience and using technology to streamline processes should be met with applause not criticism.
Customer billing is a sensitive process that relies on a variety of core systems interacting with one another. Focusing on minor teething problems merely detracts from the wider good such a system will bring.
Ultimately, the results of the implementation should be improved clearer bills, leading to an ease of understanding and hence improved payments and satisfaction levels.