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Anderson County Water Authority gearing up for online bill-pay option

Stay tuned: Coming soon will be online bill pay for customers of the Anderson County Water Authority.

Authority Assistant Manager John Mitchell said this week that final details are being worked out with a third-party service that will provide the bill-pay option that customers will be able to use on their computers, tablets and smartphones.

“We should have this ready to go in the next week or so, and we’ll be announcing the details then,” Mitchell said Monday.

“We’re trying to get it so people can very simply pay online through a portal,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest things our customers gripe about. They say we need to get into the 21st century.”

Both the Clinton Utilities Board and Powell-Clinch Utility District have had online bill pay available for their customers for several years, and those payment portals can be accessed through each utility’s website. Customers also can pay their bills to those utilities by phone.

Customers of the Norris Water Commission also now have an online bill-pay service, which takes e-checks or credit cards for payment of water and sewer bills. That third-party service – called nexBillPay, is accessible through the Norris city website, and it charges a convenience fee for the service.

But the Anderson County Water Authority hasn’t yet set up a website, and does not have even a pay-by-phone option. People can pay in person or by mail, or by setting up an automatic bank draft for their monthly bills, Mitchell said.

To pay by credit or debit card, customers must go into the authority’s offices at 1611 N. Charles G. Seivers Blvd. in Clinton during business hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

There is a way customers can pay their Anderson County water bills online now, however: If they have online bill-pay service associated with their own bank accounts, they can use that to pay.

Most banks now have a bill-pay option with their online banking services so their customers can pay virtually any bill online, without needing to go to a biller’s own website or payment portal. There are no extra fees to use that service.

The Anderson County Water Authority serves about 9,750 customers, including homes, businesses and industries, Mitchell said. The system has about 650 miles of water lines, and it has water plants that supply those lines at 1943 Oak Ridge Highway, Clinton, and 706 New Clear Branch Road, rocky Top.

Some Anderson County water customers are served by lines that come from the city of Norris water system, and the Anderson County Water Authority pays Norris for that water, Mitchell said. Those customers, who are outside the Norris city limits, are billed by the Anderson County authority, not Norris.