EPHRATA — A Grant County Public Utilities District project to move its customer billing and information system to a cloud server is set to be completed in November.
The project was initially slated for an early August completion, but was delayed to allow for extensive testing to late September. The completion date was revised again and shared with commissioners on Sept. 23. The new expected completion date is Nov. 16.
The project costs an estimated $7.3 million, approximately 18% more than expected. The increase was due to extra labor costs; however, the switch to the new system will reduce costs over time as the utility will not have to pay for major upgrades every few years.
The new cloud-based system from Oracle will replace the outdated, PUD managed service system that is no longer supported. The extra time spent in the testing phase will ensure a higher degree of confidence that the new system will have a successful launch, said Grant PUD Chief Customer Officer Dave Churchman.
Staff have been working on the project with contractors since last fall and are now in the final stages before launch. The new system combines customer billing and care with a meter management tool to provide analytics, fieldwork automation and customer service insights.
The project has required a team effort by everybody involved, Churchman said, and the system will give the utility functionality to position the organization for the future and increase efficiency.