GEBE has combined the electricity and water bills onto one sheet of paper to reduce the company’s environmental impact, thereby reducing the amount of paper used per customer. Customers with both electricity and water accounts will now receive their bills and customer newsletter in one envelope. The electricity bill is printed on one side and the water is on the other.
The change coincides with World Environment Day on June 5, 2009. "The underlying theme for World Environment Day is to use less and plant a tree. Trees produce oxygen and absorb up to 1000 pounds of carbon emissions in their lifetime. GEBE is contributing by using less paper and in so doing saving trees," explained Giselle Dirckx Williams, GEBE Corporate Communication Officer.
GEBE moved away from the previous self-enveloping system over to a new maxi-mail system for billing in January 2009. The new envelope system is more efficient and has less down time. The client benefits from more privacy. In addition, GEBE inserts a monthly newsletter with updates on the company, new programs and services, energy saving tips and lots more.
Until recently, the main drawback was the duplication of electricity and water bills that resulted in an increased use of paper and envelopes.
A solution was found by the GEBE Meter Readers who saw their bill delivery stacks increase significantly in size and weight. They suggested sending both bills in one envelope. And by printing the bills double-sided, the amount of paper per customer would be reduced even more. Initial testing by GEBE’s ICT Department has indicated a reduction of close to 40% of paper, which is roughly 40,000 sheets of paper per month. "GEBE bills close to 20,000 clients on a monthly basis so the reduced impact on the environment is significant. Clients with multiple contract accounts will receive each account in a separate envelope."
Environmentally conscious customers are encouraged to sign up for E-billing instead. "Already 15% of our customers receive paperless bills via e-mail and together we have saved 60,000 sheets of paper, 120,000 prints, 1,613 kWh of electricity and 8,943 pounds of CO2 emissions in 2008. The goal is to sign up 25% of our customers for E-Billing by the end of 2009"
GEBE will also be introducing electronic receipts later this month for its many E-billing customers that pay their bills online, via automatic transfer or via the check drop box. "Soon your receipts will be emailed to you as well to make it even easier for our customers to verify payment, file their statements digitally and reduce paper use even more."
"We would like to thank all of our customers and employees who contributed ideas and solutions to improve the new billing system. We were impressed and encouraged by the level of environmental awareness displayed by our customers and employees."