FAQ: Utility Billing and Payments Platform
The Town of Hillsborough has been contracting with utility software and customer service provider FATHOM for utility billing and collections services since Nov. 2, 2016. See a joint statement about the agreement. Note that AMR refers to automatic meter reads (a system for monthly meter reads that requires staff to drive by meters) and that AMI refers to advanced metering infrastructure (a system that uses antennas to provide more frequent meter reads without the need for staff to drive by meters).
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the current billing and payments platform. Click on a question to view the answer.
Have water and sewer rates increased?
No. Any increase of rates requires a vote of the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners and would be communicated to customers through various means. Typically, a proposed increase in rates would be part of a budget proposal for the following fiscal year, which would be voted on by the commissioners in June and made effective at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. The last water rate increase was in July 2012, and the last sewer rate increase was in July 2015.
Why did the town change its billing and collection services?
The town entered the contract with FATHOM with the intention of providing a long-term strategy for keeping costs down. The agreement also was intended to provide customers with increased online functionality for managing town utility bills, including:
- Additional payment methods, such as electronic check payments and recurring credit card payments.
- The option to receive bills electronically or to reprint bills.
- The ability to report problems through a customer portal.
- Access to detailed water usage information, enabling customers to make decisions about water consumption.
- The ability to set pre-determined thresholds for water usage and the option to receive text or email alerts when water use exceeds those limits.
- A mobile app for smartphone users. (Search "FATHOM" in the Apple or Android app store.)
Additionally, the agreement was intended to increase customer service by offering:
- Multilingual account representatives.
- Additional payment reminders through automated phone calls and letters.
- AutoPay via credit card. (This previously was offered only via a checking account.)
Is any action required of me due to this change?
Yes. Our contract with FATHOM resulted in new account numbers for every customer. As a result, payment needs to be submitted using your new account number. Additionally, all customers enrolled for automated payments before the transition in November 2016 need to reenroll.
How do I enroll for automated payments?
Three options are available for automated payments:
- Bank draft (referred to as “automatic clearing house” or “ACH” via the customer portal)
- Recurring credit card
- Bank originated bill pay
Bank Draft and Recurring Credit Card
Customers may enroll by calling 844-691-9177 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday or by visiting the customer portal. For confirmation that your automated payment is in effect, look for “Do not pay” on the bottom coupon of your bill. Automated payments are charged on the 25th day of each month.
Bank Originated Bill Pay
Enter the town’s current billing address and your customer account number in your bank’s online bill pay:
- Log in to your bank’s online bill pay service. If you were enrolled prior to November 2016, remove Town of Hillsborough from your list of payees.
- Enter a new payee for Town of Hillsborough using the following “remit to” address: Town of Hillsborough, PO Box 205232, Dallas, TX 75320-5232.
- Enter your account or customer number in the format shown here and as illustrated on the bill: 0000012345-000123456.
Are services still available at the Billing and Collections Office in Hillsborough?
Yes. Cash payments may be made at the office, and staff also are available to help with processing all other forms of payment via FATHOM's website. The office is located in the Town Hall Annex, 137 N. Churton St., and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, excluding holidays.
Why is the deposit box closed at the Billing and Collections Office?
Accepting a large volume of checks via the deposit box would negatively affect a benefit of our contract with FATHOM, which allows town staff to better handle the number of customers visiting the office around our monthly payment date. In addition, cash was being left in the drop box, which is a safety and security risk for customers and the town.
Customers who pay by check have additional options for payment now that do not require mailing the check. They may:
- Enter the bank information for their check online through the customer portal.
- Call the customer service number at 844-691-9177 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday to have the check processed electronically.
Additionally, the check may be:
- Mailed to Town of Hillsborough, PO Box 205232, Dallas, TX 75320-5232.
- Taken into the Billing and Collections Office in Hillsborough for processing.
My bill is unusually high. What should I do?
Customers with an unusually high bill may want to check for a leak. If a leak is discovered, you can call customer service to request a leak adjustment. One adjustment is granted per calendar year with documentation. Additionally, the town is able to identify errors in meter reads and will make adjustments if an error is found.
If you ever have questions about your bill, please contact customer service by calling 844-691-9177 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
When should my bill arrive, and what is my payment due date?
Your bill should arrive via mail during the first week of the month. Your payment due date is the 25th day of each month, with payment due the following business day if the due date falls on a weekend or holiday.
What is the town's service disconnection policy?
Following the 10th day of nonpayment, an additional $40 delinquency fee is assessed and service is disconnected. To be reconnected, the past due bill and all penalties and fees must be paid. Customers have the opportunity to set up payment arrangements during the 10-day grace period to avoid disconnection of service.
What payment methods are available?
See the Hillsborough Water and Sewer Billing and Collections page on this website for a listing of the payment methods.
How do I use the online features for customers?
Visit the customer portal and register using your account number.
Are there times when the online customer portal is not available?
FATHOM performs routine maintenance on its systems on the second Saturday of each month. During this time, customers may experience intermittent access to the online portal.
How do I reach customer service?
Call 844-691-9177 or send an email to email@example.com between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
I would like to file a complaint and provide feedback to the town. What should I do?
We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. It is the town’s goal to provide excellent customer service to all our customers.
We are committed to addressing each customer concern and welcome your feedback. Please contact the Hillsborough Billing and Collections Office to file a complaint or to provide feedback. Inquiries should include:
- Water/sewer service address
- Full name on the water/sewer account
- Water/sewer account number