Gas billing system is a system that allows the process of paying and receiving bills online. Bills or invoices are generated digitally by computers and software applications. Gas billing is not only the generation of e-bills, but also the system that allows these bills to be paid electronically. Gas billing is a fundamental component of modern finance and is leveraged by both accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) departments to help automate workflows and reduce reliance on paper-intensive processes. Gas billing is a bill payment method in which a customer can pay bills electronically over the Internet to an entity or organization. It is widely accepted by many government entities and other organizations. Due to multiple benefits provided by electronic billing, it is one of the most preferred methods of bill payment. Gas billing or electronic bill payment and presentment, is when a seller such as company, organization, or group sends its bills or invoices over the internet, and customers pay the bills electronically. This replaces the traditional method where invoices were sent in paper form and payments were done by manual means such as sending cheques.
As a prelude to other parts of this study, this chapter will discuss the background upon which this study was initiated, the statement of problems that led to this study, the Aim and Objectives of the study. Others are Significance of the study, Scope of work, Limitation of the study and Definition of technical terms.
1.2 Background of Study
Effective billing and collection systems are a critical component for ensuring the viability of a service provider. Improving billing and collection activities has an immediate impact on the revenue streams of a service provider that can, in turn, help the service provider in improving services. However, while effective billing and collection practices depend on many internal factors(including customer databases, the extent of metered and unmetered service provision, tariff and billing structures, delivery of bills, and facilities for customer payments), the institutional arrangements under which service providers operate and provide services determine whether such practices will remain sustainable in the long term. Efficient billing and collection practices can set incentives for the provider to effectively charge and collect gas bills while also fulfilling a commercial orientation to services (Wikipedia, 2021).
This was invented alongside emails, internet banking, and accounting software in the wake of the Information Age, Gas billing has been in the public sphere for the past few decades.
The highly manual process of invoice review was therefore transposed into standards and software that required law firms to deliver billing information to their clients in electronic format using a third-party system. This then gave the in-house lawyer the tools to analyze gas billing information and take appropriate action usually related to saving external costs.
Financial barriers to Gas billing were common, particularly in smaller corporate and firms. An Gas billing implementation was time, resource and cost heavy, and this cost continued beyond implementation. Costs of Gas billing included set up, licenses, and the resources required to run Gas billing from an IT (Information Technology) and administrative perspective. In law firms, they may face billing department reshuffling, overhauling of processes for uploading bills and managing queries and rejections and even investment in additional systems to support Gas billing, such as practice management systems that could produce matter and timekeeper lists and time recording.
The introduction of smart metering is one of the core elements in recent European policies targeting the environmental sustainability and the competitiveness of gas and electricity markets. Many utilities today are evaluating the potential benefits of Smart Metering for all utility stakeholders. Smart Metering gives customers real-time consumption information via display device that translate the meter reading into a form the customer can easily understand. These devices help customers change their consumption, should they wish to do so, without having to wait for the end of the month or the end of the quarter to view the results from conservation initiatives. Displays tailored to the specific needs of the user, such as those comparing current use with neighborhood averages or with consumption in previous months, may help consumers further focus on conservation. Utilities can use time-of-use or interval data to better analyze and manage supply portfolios and the scheduling of generation or supply withdrawal from storage fields or reservoirs. Interval data matched to customer type and location is particularly helpful in identifying needs for network or pipeline repairs or changes. It can also point to the location and size of leaks or theft. Some Smart Metering systems permit meters to send “last gasp” messages when they are going out of service. These help utilities identify the location and extent of an electrical outage or a break in a gas main (Wikipedia, 2021).
The present billing system has been in place from inception and it is manually obtained. The profit or loss made by an organization is dependent on the nature of its billing system. This therefore necessitates the use of more reliable, accurate and efficient equipment such as the computer system for the processing of the bill of customers. This shift from manual to digital will bring about positive growth in the operations of the company (Wikipedia, 2021).
1.3 Statement of the Problems
Investigation revealed the following problems of the existing Gas billing system;
- Poor billing and collection practices primarily emanate from the lack of willingness of the service provider to accurately charge for services being delivered and the lack of a political will to set tariffs that would allow for recovering the costs incurred in supplying the service.
- Most service providers do not have well-defined and proper computerized or automated systems to maintain financial records for gas billing.
- The manual process of billing bring about arguments between customers and service providers,
- There is no adequate record management system to aid in the accurate computation and updating of gas bill records.
1.4 Aim and Objective of the Study
The aim of the study is to develop a Computerized Gas Billing System that will help in maintaining record of customers’ gas bill. In achieving this aim, the following specific objectives were laid out as follows:
- To design a database system that will help maintain record of customers’ gas bill
- To implement a system that will accurately compute the gas bill of customers.
- To design a system that will out-perform the manual way of recording and computing the gas bill of customers
- To design a system to facilitate easy updating of gas bill records and presentation of gas bill reports.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significance of the study is that:
- The study will facilitate accurate computation of gas bills and also aid the easy management of customers’ gas bill records of God is Good Gas Company,
- It will aid in eliminating errors associated with the computation of gas bill and provide an instant means of updating gas billing records.
- The study will also serve as a useful reference material to other researchers seeking for information relating to the subject.
1.6 Scope of Study
This study covers Computerized Gas Billing System, a case study of God is good gas company, Ikot Ekpene. It is limited to keeping of gas bill records.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
During the course of this study, many things militated against its completion, some of which are:
- Time Constraint: The time frame given to accomplish this project was very short due to school academic calendar and it was carried out under pressure which made the researcher not to implement some necessary features.
- Establishment Policies: Establishment policies posed a serious limitation as most staffs are not ready to release information needed for this project work. There were lots of information needed from the staffs of this institution to enhance the study which took them time to release or they did not release at all for security purposes, hence the scope was reduced.
1.8 Organization of the Research
This research work is organized into five chapters.
- Chapter one is concerned with the introduction of the research study and it presents the preliminaries, theoretical background, statement of the problem, aim and objectives of the study, significance of the study, scope of the study, organization of the research and definition of terms.
- Chapter two focuses on the literature review, the contributions of other scholars on the subject matter is discussed.
- Chapter three is concerned with the system analysis and design. It presents the research methodology used in the development of the system, it analyzes the present system to identify the problems and provides information on the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed system. The system design is also presented in this chapter.
- Chapter four presents the system implementation and documentation, the choice of programming language, analysis of modules, choice of programming language and system requirements for implementation.
- Chapter five focuses on the summary, constraints of the study, conclusion and recommendations are provided in this chapter based on the study carried out.
1.9 Definition Of Terms
Bill: A written statement of how much money is owed for items purchased or services provided.
Gas: A substance that is neither a solid nor a liquid at ordinary temperatures and has the ability to expand infinitely.