The Altoona Water Authority will invest $12,000 and commit to paying $42,000 more per year for postage to go from postcard billing to foldover-style, full-page bills.
"It's a privacy issue," said Purchasing Director John Swope.
The change will allow the authority to send sensitive information confidentially, while also providing more information to customers, according to authority Billing Director Ron Becher.
The authority will buy a pressure sealing machine for $12,000 through U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance, a buying cooperative, Swope said.
The change will increase the annual postage bill to about $134,000 and add $8,000 to the cost of forms, Swope said.
There has been increasing pressure on utilities to move away from postcard billing, Swope said.
"We've been looking at this for some time," General Manager Mark Perry said.
The full-page bills - which will have perforated tear-off edges - will allow the authority to include suggestions on conservation and other matters, while hiding shutoff notices and other pieces of information that most customers would prefer to be private, according to officials.
In making the change, the authority will eliminate its policy of sending payment reminder notices.
The authority hopes to allow customers to pay their bills online soon, Becher said.
"We're in the preliminary stages," he said.
Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.