Bringing e-Billing Ease to Aqua

As the decade comes to a close, we can’t help but look back and reflect on all of the growth of the company and the new services and projects we’ve introduced to our customers over the past 10 years.

Speaking of new services, did you know that we have multiple new e-Billing features that make it easier than ever to pay your water bill? To learn even more, we spoke with Manager of Collections, Billing, and Cash Applications Jack Farnsworth to get the details of four newly improved features and how they benefit Aqua customers across all eight of the states we serve.

Payment arrangement

We’re pleased to say that our payment arrangement feature is now active in all Aqua states. Payment arrangements are available to any Aqua customer who has fallen behind on their payments, and the feature allows customers to take the past due months and stretch them out for several months until they are caught up.

“The invoices were modified to clearly provide the monthly installment, the number of payments remaining and the total balance of the payment arrangement,” Farnsworth added. “At Aqua, we listen and value our customers—this change came directly from customer feedback. We’re glad that these new invoices help customers better understand their payment arrangements for a stress-free experience.”

Text reminders

Constantly worried about missing a payment? Never fear! Aqua has partnered with Speedpay to give our customers the option to receive text reminders to easily avoid late charges. The text feature sends a message five days before the payment is due, the day it is due, and five days after.

The text reminders also provide a hyperlink that customers can click through to make their payments. Head here to become one of the 14,000 and counting Aqua customers utilizing this convenient text option! 

Daily account balance

You asked, we listened. Our call centers have received a large volume of customers asking for their current account balance over the years, so Aqua decided to make it even easier to check your bill. Simply log onto the Aqua WaterSmart website to view your daily balance. Easy peasy!

One-time payment availability

Previously, only Aqua customers enrolled in e-Billing were able to make a one-time payment via the WaterSmart website. Now, all customers can use this feature to pay bills electronically as many times as they please. We’ve seen an increase in customers utilizing this feature in 2019, and we hope to continue this growth through 2020. 

“Everything proposed, achieved, or rejected is for a better customer experience,” Farnsworth said of all these e-Billing improvements. “These features were all created to provide our customers with more information, faster information, and ease of payment.”

“I am very excited about all the customer enhancements we have implemented this year,” said Georgetta Parisi-Knup, vice president, customer operations. “Offering our customers a wide range of options across multiple platforms is important as we continue to focus on improving our customers’ experience with Aqua.” 

Our customers are always our priority, and we hope these efficient new features make life just a little bit easier. Cheers to a great 2019 and an even better 2020!

 

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What really happens when you wash your hands?

It’s posted on bathroom walls, it’s the golden rule of basic hygiene, and it’s the command children are met with every time they exit the restroom: “Wash your hands!” 

While the frequency with which you hear this request decreases as you get older, the sentiment remains the same. Hand-washing is a key part of both personal and public health—but are you doing it right? At Aqua, we recognize the role water plays in keeping our customers healthy and happy. Here’s some insight about how to make the most of your hand-washing habits—and what goes on behind the suds. 

When to wash

As a general rule of thumb, you should always wash your hands after using the restroom. It’s equally important to lather up the hand soap after blowing your nose or coughing into your hands, touching animals, playing outside, or visiting a sick friend or loved one.

Washing your hands prevents the germs that accumulate in these settings from spreading to others. While the more obvious source of germs comes from feces-related processes like using the toilet or changing a diaper, germs like Salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus can also spread from handling raw meats with invisible amounts of animal waste on them. Yuck, right?

What does hand-washing really do?

Think about how often you’ve touched your face today. Now think about how many publically shared surfaces you’ve also touched today. Washing your hands with soap works by removing germs that cause infections, including infections of the skin and eyes.

Because germs are nearly invisible, it can be hard to see the tangible impact of washing your hands. However, proper hand-washing not only reduces the number of people who catch respiratory illnesses (think: common colds), but it also reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea and gastrointestinal illnesses. If that’s not enough to convince you to wash your hands, unwashed hands can spread bacteria to your face that ultimately results in an accumulation of acne. If not for your gut, do it for your skin!

The steps for soapy success

In order to reduce the risk of illness, stomach problems, and pesky pimples galore, follow these steps to become an expert hand-washer:

  1. Use warm water to wet your hands. 
  2. Lather with soap—the FDA says both antibacterial and regular soap are fine—for 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. Work the soap into both sides of your hands, your wrists, and between your fingers.
  4. Rinse with water, then dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel. 

Whether you’re teaching the little ones or incorporating these practices into your own routine, taking an extra minute to wash your hands properly makes for a happier, healthier home, work, or school environment. Hand-washing might not be the most glamorous topic, but believe us—the consequences of not washing your hands are much worse. 

 

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Decrease the grease with these easy tips

The holidays are quickly approaching, and in between traveling, cooking and decorating, you won’t want to worry about a clogged sink. That’s why Aqua is here to help you keep any and all grease monsters out of your home.

Follow these easy tips to prevent fat, oil and grease from blocking your drains and pipes.

Be informed

First, it’s important to know what types of food can cause clogged sinks. Here are some of the most common culprits:

● Butter

● Cooking oil

● Lard (shortening)

● Meats

● Greasy sauces

 

Consider the consequences

A clogged sink may not seem like a big inconvenience, because all it does is flood your sink—right? Wrong. Blocked pipes can cause serious damage to your home, community and wallet.

● Clogged pipes can become a health hazard by spreading bacteria that leads to various illnesses and unsanitary water.

● Clogged pipes can also cause an overflow of sewage, which is both gross and expensive. Sewage overflow can affect streets, yards and parks, and it can also lead to higher costs for local wastewater utilities.         

● Aside from all of that damage, clogged pipes can also pollute nearby groundwater, which harms both homes and the environment.

 

Practice smart cleaning habits

You don’t have to cut foods containing fat, oil and grease out of your diet to avoid issues, simply make these small adjustments to your cleaning habits in order to keep your sinks grease-free.

● Pour grease into a metal can rather than down the sink. It will change from liquid to semi-solid in form, and at that point, just toss the can into your trash bin.

● Keep strainers in your sink drains to catch small pieces of food and globs of grease. When you finish cooking and cleaning, empty the strainer into your trash bin.

● Don’t rely on a garbage disposal to keep your drain clog-free—they can’t keep grease out of your plumbing system.

● Throw away baby wipes, “flushable” wipes and other sanitary items that can get stuck in your pipes.

 

Invest in extra help for your business

Businesses often see higher traffic than private homes, which can mean more grease and bigger consequences. If you’re a business owner, consider installing vented grease traps that are designed to handle appropriate amounts of grease. Grease traps should be cleaned, maintained and serviced on a regular basis to ensure they work properly.

Don’t let fear of a clogged drain ruin your holiday fun. With these tips, you’ll be sure to kick out the grease monsters long before they can even make an appearance.

Keep checking back here for holiday water-smart tips from Aqua!

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5 Ways to Conserve Water on Thanksgiving

The holidays are here! First up, Thanksgiving.

We’ve been on a mission to make to make this year’s festivities the best yet. That’s why we compiled our most helpful tips on how to conserve water before, during and after your meal.

Rinse and repeat

Cooking a large portion of vegetables or potatoes? Instead of running them under the sink, try filling a large bowl with water and using it to rinse your food. The best part? When you’re done with the dirty water you can use it to water your plants! (The same trick can also be used for washing your dishes after the meal.)

Defrost like a boss

We don’t have to remind you to defrost your turkey before the big day. The USDA says that you’ll need 1-3 days for about 4-12 lbs. of turkey.

Whatever you do, avoid using the cold water method. If you’re really in a time crunch, follow the USDA’s instructions for using the microwave.

Full steam ahead

If you’ve got all your burners on full blast and still need to steam something, place a strainer over one of your pots. This way you can save time, space and water! Done boiling? You can use the leftover water for a soup base.

Watering can, or can’t?

Waiting for the faucet to change temperature? Place a watering can over the drain to catch any of the excess water. This way, you can water your plants or refill the dog’s water bowl without wasting a drop!

Wasting away

The global average water footprint of chicken meat is 4330 liter/kg. Imagine what a larger bird like a turkey consumes. Don’t let all of the water that went into producing your turkey go to waste.

If you don’t have any room in your fridge (or stomach) for leftovers, send your guests home with doggy bags. You can also swing by your local soup kitchen or food shelter and donate what you have left – especially if you have any unopened boxes or cans you didn’t use.

Whether you’re cooking for a small group or the entire extended family, these conservation tips are sure to keep your household happy for the holidays.

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Could You Imagine A Day Without Water?

How many of your daily activities require you to use water? Stop and think about it for a second. Can you imagine lasting an entire day without any water to perform the most basic of tasks, like washing your hands?

 

We use water for a lot more than just drinking. We use it to do our laundry, make coffee, upkeep our yards, clean ourselves, clean just about everything else and much more. To increase awareness around responsible water usage — and how lucky we are to have access to safe, clean water — from October 6 through October 8, we want you to imagine a day without water.

 

These days are a time to think about water’s importance in our lives and to reflect upon what we can do to conserve our most essential resource.

 

Change starts at the smallest level, and you can imagine a day without water just by changing some of your daily habits and practices at home. Our WaterSmart Tips page is a great place to start with plenty of everyday tips on how to reduce your water usage and value how we use water in our lives: 

 

      Brush your teeth without running your sink

      Check your home’s pipes and faucets for leaks, which can account for wasting up to 140 gallons of water per week

      Sweep the driveway instead of using a hose

      Time your showers! Your household can even make a game out of challenging one another to take the shortest and most efficient shower

 

See? There are plenty of ways for you to get involved!

 

At Aqua, we act as stewards of the environment. We value water immensely, and we’re dedicated to raising awareness about its importance to every aspect of our lives. By joining forces with people around the country to imagine a day without water, we’re hoping to remind both our customers and ourselves of how fortunate we are to have reliable access to water. How will you imagine a day without water? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

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