Ventura Water – In Focus

Utility Billing Representative Dillon Galarza.

Ventura Water’s fundamental connection to its customers is the Utility Billing Team since they are typically the first line of contact for over 32,000 account holders.

There are four utility billing representatives who answer nearly all the phone calls coming into the water department, averaging about 600 calls every week. A robust customer support system is used to manage one or many communication channels, including phone, email, and self-service. Utility billing representatives answer questions about billing, changes in water usage, and leaks. They also help customers start and end water and wastewater service. As needed, they field calls that can range from a severed fire hydrant to a report of water waste.

The Utility Billing Team also includes three utility service representatives and a utility service lead. With the citywide installation of smart meters, it is no longer necessary to read each meter for each billing cycle, so this group is focused on helping customers with any water related issue. They perform the field work required to maintain meters and troubleshoot the hardware and software to ensure data from the smart meters is successfully transmitted. A utility billing supervisor oversees billing operations including rate changes and audits and coordinates new service. Finally, the Utility Billing Team is led by a utility billing manager, who assures that Ventura Water adheres to all state and federal laws and regulations related to providing water and wastewater service, and guides implementation of programs to help the team increase efficiency and improve customer relations.

Utility Billing Representative, Dillon Galarza joined Ventura Water two years ago, with seven years’ previous experience in customer service. What Dillon most appreciates about his job is that everyone on the team truly wants to help the community and that he can rely on any one of them to support their common goal of providing excellent customer service. The most challenging part of his job is the emotional component of utility service billing, for example, having to give delinquent customers the news about late fees or shut offs. Dillon possesses an easy-going attitude which aids his capacity to change a potentially stressful problem into a solution. Fortunately, the average number of shut offs per week is about 20 and service is typically restored within a day. Dillon mentions that dealing with software issues that come up when utilizing multiple programs can be tricky but invariably this cohesive team works through it.

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