Why Local Utility Bills Are Sent Out of State - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Why Local Utility Bills Are Sent Out of State

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Many Reno residents are getting their quarterly sewer bills in the mail and a Channel 2 viewer noticed something interesting when they went to mail it. They asked we look into why the payment is sent hundreds of miles away to San Jose, California.

"Last time we looked we saved about $200,000 a year by using a lock box operation," said Robert Chisel, Finance Director for the City of Reno.

The City of Reno says the cost of having to hire personnel and buy the necessary equipment for payment processing would be passed on to customers. TMWA agrees and also outsources their payment processing and has done so since 2002. Their payments are sent to Prescott, Arizona. They estimate their savings to be $350,000 a year and that the savings helps keep rates lower and ensure efficiency.

"We have high customer satisfaction stats and a lot of that is due to our billing," said Andy Gebhardt, Director of Customer Relations for TMWA.

If keeping the payment processing in-house is the more expensive option, using a local payment processing center isn't even possible.

"Unfortunately there are no lock box operations in the state of Nevada," said Chisel.

According to the Nevada Department of Employment, there are no payment processing companies in the entire state to compete with those out of state.

Does this outsourcing of jobs have any negative effect on the economy?

"Well, it would have been five years ago, but this is a lower paying job. We are more focused on the higher paying jobs," said Mike Kazmierski, President of EDAWN.

Kazmierski adds that outsourcing these types of jobs have little impact because of Nevada's booming tech industry.

"It's not like were outsourcing the technology department for Reno."

Customers can still drop off payments at their respective buildings, but the majority of customers for TMWA, and the city use online payments, which is what they recommend customers do.

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