McPherson residents will soon be able to pay their utility bills by credit card.

McPherson residents will soon be able to pay their utility bills by credit card.
The McPherson Board of Public Utilities agreed to contract with Florida-based CollectorSolutions, Inc. on a month-by-month basis to provide credit card and e-check payment options to customers. Customers will soon be able to pay their bills both online and by phone by such means on demand.
A convenience fee of $2.45 will be applied to any such payment, although BPU will not retain any amount of the fee. The utility said it would remain revenue neutral in offering the service and would not collect any fees for its own accounts. In addition, a maximum transaction total of $500 will be enforced, requiring those making larger payments to submit multiple transactions, each with a separate convenience fee.
Customers will still not be able to pay by credit card when making face-to-face transactions at BPU’s Power Plant One. They will have to call a special telephone number that will soon be set up by the utility or visit its website at to make such payments.
BPU also opened a separate banking account for funds related to the new service. This will allow the utility to offer credit card payments to customers without allowing CollectorSolutions access to its primary banking accounts.
Per its agreement with CollectorSolutions, a minimum of 250 transactions must be processed per month to avoid the issuance of a $250 fee to the utility. A 90-day grace period has been provided by the processing company, during which time BPU will text the system, seek input from customers, and determine whether enough people will utilize the service to avoid the additional fee.
In other news:
•Electric consumption numbers have risen slightly through the first nine months of 2011. Despite a 17.27 percent decrease in consumption by the National Refinery Cooperative Association, which comprises 48 percent of all industrial electricity sales, overall industrial consumption rose by 0.43 percent. In total, electric sales increased by 0.88 percent through September.
•Water consumption spiked dramatically through September. 14.04 percent more water was sold through the first nine months of 2011 than during the same period in 2010. Those increases equate to $251,912.89 in additional revenue provided through water sales. In addition, over 74 million gallons of water went unaccounted for through September, a 42.54 percent increase from 2010 numbers.