Professional Computer Solutions, LLC

February 2019, Newsletter Issue No. 42


• Save the Date - UGM

• Marc's Insights

• Connect with Angie

• Distributed Energy / Net Metering

• What - an Outage has been reported?

• ITS with Joe

• Congratulations Joe!

• Insight - New Development List

• Connect - New Development List

• Business Intelligence - New Development List

• Marketing with PSN

• PCS Webinar Offerings for 2019

• Upcoming Conferences

• CSA & PCS Better Together

Upcoming Conferences

Iowa Rural Water Association Annual Conference
Des Moines, IA
February 18th

NWPPA training sponsored by APA - Nuts & Bolts of Work Orders
Anchorage, AK
February 28th

NRECA Annual Meeting & TechAdvantage Expo
Orlando, FL
March 10th

NWPPA E & O Conference
Spokane, WA
April 8th

NWPPA Annual Meeting
Sacramento, CA
May 19th

PCS Annual User Meeting
Denison, IA
June 4th

APPA National Conference
Austin, TX
June 7th

AWWA Annual Conference
Denver, CO
June 9th

CSA Annual User Education Conference
Orange Beach, AL
June 24th

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Save the date graphic

Save the Date 32nd Annual PCS User Group Meeting

June 4th-6th, 2019

Professional Computer Solutions, LLC will be hosting the 32nd Annual User Group Meeting in Denison, IA Starting Tuesday, June 4th through Thurs, June 6th.

This meeting promises to be full of excitement! Not only will PCS be presenting topics on new software releases and development plans, CSA will also be presenting on topics such as the MDM and the GIS products. Training opportunities will also be available for new staff or existing staff related to PCS core accounting, billing and analytic solutions; plus CSA solutions of Meter Data Management (MDM), Mapping (GIS), Outage (OMS), Staking and Cyber Security.

Look for more information in the coming weeks, but "Save The Date".

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Marc's Insights

The term "NELCO" has been mentioned in several recent newsletters and announcements. For those of you that must prepare the 1095 affordable care act forms, NELCO has been our method the last 3 years. For this past tax year, 2018, PCS started offering full e-file capabilities for 1099-MISC forms and W-2's as well. There were 7 clients that used NELCO for one or more of those forms. By the way, Capital Credit 1099-MISC forms can be filed this way as well. So far, the reviews from those 7 clients has been very positive. Some comments, and I quote:

  • Fairly easy, compliant, timely
  • It was straight forward, easy to launch, information readily available
  • It's very quick and easy
  • I thought the overall process was pretty simple. There were a couple of hiccups at first with getting a password and errors that came up needing to be fixed, but once those were taken care of the process was very simple.
  • It was actually pretty simple. The most work went into verifying the information was correct in all of the reports!!
  • It was so fast and simple!

So, for the first year we are pleased with how the process went. Like anything, there can be some things improved and we will be working on some of those before next year. Speaking of next year, we would love to get away from printing on pre-printed 1099 and W-2 forms. Getting the forms to line up correctly can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. Another advantage of using the NELCO process is that it automatically files the W-3 and 1096 as well. During 2019 PCS will be adding the 941 filing to the NELCO menu. So be looking for that later this year.

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Connect with Angie

Distributed Energy/Net Metering

Now available for general release: The ability to create and retain detailed transactions for adding and removing excess generation to/from the bank has been developed, passed beta deployment and now available for all.

Distributed energy, also commonly referred to as net metering, is growing in popularity. As more consumers implement energy producing devices, i.e. wind and solar, and more utilities implement net metering the need to better track that information has also increased. This particularly comes into play when the utility has a policy in place to bank excess power generated by the consumer.

To provide better information to both the utility and the consumer, PCS has added tables in the database to store what was generated, used and added/removed/expired from the bank each month. By so doing, that data is available for historical viewing within Connect and better information can be presented to the customer on the statement.

Any of you who are banking units or dollars for excess consumer generated power, this is for you. Please contact your Connect support person for more information on how to proceed with next steps.

Note: If you are thinking about implementing the new PCS designed statement, implementing this new method of tracking the banked detailed is a prerequisite step.

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What - an Outage has been reported?

PCS recently rolled out a new feature called Outage Call Handling (OCH). This feature has been very popular and well received. OCH allows the utility to create an outage call as reported via MCA, Connect, Web CS and/or third-party organizations such as Cooperative Response Center (CRC). As PCS was deploying the feature, customers requested an enhancement for the ability to email utility staff whenever an outage call is reported. This is very beneficial during after-hours or if staff is not monitoring the system when a call is generated.

The email generation capability is now available is the general release. Please contact your Connect support person to get this implemented.

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ITS With Joe

From time to time we all have received an email that we assume is a legitimate email from someone we know or even someone we don't know requesting us to do something. Provide information, answer a question, click a link to complete a form, etc. In our fast-paced world, we open the email do as requested and move on.

With all the random emails, phishing attaches, advertising, etc. we need to slow down and pay attention to what we are opening and sending. An example, an email you just received says it is from Joe Popham, but the email address behind Joe's name is Joe does not send email to PCS clients from a Hotmail address, so you should be suspicious if it is really from Joe. The best thing to do in that case is to delete the email and send Joe an email using the PCS email that you know is legitimate. If the Hotmail address was real, Joe can confirm it.

Attached are two fact sheets that have pertinent information regarding email attacks and have best practices that we should all be aware of and use.

Wombat- Business Email Infographic Wombat- Phishing Infographic

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Congratulations Joe!

On another note, this will be the last installment of "ITS with Joe". Joe will be retiring at the end of February.

Joe began his career with PCS in July of 2000, just a few months after the big Y2K hype. Joe was no stranger to PCS. Prior to joining PCS, Joe was the IT Manager at Powder River Energy. Prior to its merger with Tri-County Electric, Joe was their IT Manager, for 11 years. To say that the utility business is in his blood would be an understatement. Joe's dad, Gerald (Buster) Popham was with Tri-County Electric for 33 years. During Joe's time at Tri-County Electric, a PCS client, he was a member of the PCS Board of Advisors in the western region. As a Board of Advisor, Joe provided PCS with tremendous insight and guidance.

Joe continued to be a driving force in the IT world throughout his 18-years with PCS. During his tenure, Joe brought the Utilit-e Central hosting center, to life and has managed its ongoing security, growth and expansion.

Congratulations Joe, on your retirement! Enjoy every minute! We will miss you!

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Insight - New Development List

January 19.1

Development Topic Status
IN physical count - Notes Added the Notes functionality to the Inventory physical count screen
PR check stub reprint Added a new report to "reprint" a direct deposit advice slip or paycheck stub, for cases where an employee misplaces the original and wants a replacement.
Misc. note January is our heaviest support month with year end and W-2's/1099's, so development was intentionally light in January because of limited testing time.

February 19.2

Development Topic Status
Meeting registration Working on a new meeting registration application, such as for annual meetings.
CFC US Bank One Card Starting to work on an interface with the CFC US Bank One Card program. Emphasis on starting - it will not be finished in February.
Dates with wrong year Dates entered with wrong year causing some problems. Changed several input screens to give a warning message if date entered is less or more than 30 days from current date.
PR 50k life screen Recently new screen only allowed 12 or annual pay periods. Added options for 24, 26 and 52 pay periods.

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Connect - New Development List

19.1 (January Development)

Development Topic Status
OCH - Email Staff

Ability to send emails to a list of setup defined email addresses when an outage is reported via Connect, Web CS, MCA or if reported to CRC

This is available for general release with R19.1.

Outage Call Handling Integration Continued efforts on integration with CRC, Milsoft and Trimble OMS system.
Reconnect of Visibility of Amount to Pay
  • Develop a setup driven method to determine the amount to pay to be reconnected
  • Display or communicate that amount in numerous places
    • CS - Account At A Glance screen
    • Web Customer Service
    • Cashiering
    • Disconnect for nonpayment service orders
    • Utilit-e Online
    • CRC Integration
    • Payable amount passed to PSN and IVR

19.2 (February Development)

Development Topic Status
Statement Redesign Work is on-going on the new statement design. Continued efforts with first beta deployment. Current expectation is printing new statements in February.

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Business Intelligence - New Development List

19.2 (February Development)

Development Topic Status
BI - Single Refresh Clicking the refresh button in Excel once will refresh all data within the workbook.
PBI - New Content

A variety of new features/functionality/reports:

  • Relative dates
  • New date views & update reports to use them
  • New reports
    • Delinquent Accounts - trend analysis
    • Statistics - trend analysis
    • Financial statements
      • Income Statement & Balance Sheet from report tree setup
      • Graphical view of revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities & equity

Target is general release in May.

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Marketing with PSN

With 2019 underway, it is a great time to develop a marketing plan to encourage your customers to use electronic billing and payment services. PSN makes it easy. You can download a Marketing Plan template where you simply fill in the dates. PSN will even create new marketing templates to create a fresh, new look. Simply fill out the downloadable request form and email to your PSN Service Account Manager.

Here are promotions and templates that PSN will create for you:

  • Templates
    • Bill inserts
    • Full-page handouts or inserts
    • Postcards
    • Posters
    • Mini-handouts
    • Business cards
  • Facebook Posts
  • Twitter Posts
  • Email Notifications
  • Phrases to Place on Billing Statements
  • Web Ads
  • Press Releases
  • Envelope Design Suggestions
Download Marketing Plan Download Marketing Template Request

Download the first two forms under MARKETING.

If you have any questions, please contact your PSN Service Account Manager.

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PCS Webinar Offerings for 2019

The webinar schedule for the year is published on the PCS website in the client area.

Following are the dates and titles, for more information, please visit the PCS website. All webinars will begin at 1:30 PM Central time. Click on the title of the webinar to go to the registration page.

Tues, February 19th Insight Requisitions Process & Purchase Orders
Tues, March 12th Connect Outage Call Handling & CRC Interface
Thurs, March 28th Insight Payroll Features & Enhancements
Tues, April 9th Connect Mobile Service Orders
Thurs, April 25th BI Pivot Tables in BI Reporting
Tues, June 25th BI What's New in Power BI
Tues, July 16th Connect Setup- Rate Related
Thurs, August 8th What Does Connect Have That You Don't? The Delinquency Process
Tues, August 13th BI Hints & Tips for Power BI
Thurs, September 12th Connect Reconnect Amount to Pay
Thurs, October 17th Connect & Insight Balancing & More
Tues, November 5th Connect Batch Processor & Month End Processes
Thurs, November 14th, BI Financials
Tues, December 3rd Insight Payroll W2 & 1095 Forms
Wed, December 4th Insight Accounts Payable 1099 Forms

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Upcoming Conferences

Iowa Rural Water Association Annual Conference - Des Moines, IA February 18th

NWPPA training sponsored by APA - Nuts & Bolts of Work Orders - Anchorage, AK February 28th

NRECA Annual Meeting & TechAdvantage Expo - Orlando, FL March 10th

NWPPA E & O Conference - Spokane, WA April 8th

NWPPA Annual Meeting - Sacramento, CA May 19th

PCS Annual User Meeting - Denison, IA June 4th

APPA National Conference - Austin, TX June 7th

AWWA Annual Conference - Denver, CO June 9th

CSA Annual User Education Conference - Orange Beach, AL June 24th

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CSA & PCS Better Together


We are over 175 employees strong!


We are over 160 utilities united!


We have over 120 years of service to public utilities!


We are over 50 products and services designed solely for utilities!


We are BETTER!


When asked why Central Service Association and Professional Computer Systems united, the answer is simple: we are better together.

While each of us have products and unique services that the other's customers could well find helpful, one major trait is dominant: we are relationship people, committed to exceptional service. CSA, a member-owned cooperative, is celebrating 80+ years serving the needs of utilities primarily in the Mid-South, while PCS has 40 years of history and clients in 22 states plus Bermuda.

Combining our vision, resources, services and products gives us even more to offer our clients - billing solutions, accounting solutions, meter data management, work management, GIS/engineering systems, mobile solutions, cyber security, employee benefits, and more - like the ideal solution you have been seeking but not found yet. CSA and PCS will be sponsoring a series of events including regional meetings, PCS User meeting, webinars and even onsite visits.  As a member-owned cooperative, we are in the business to provide you the latest and best solutions in the industry.  We look forward to visiting about how CSA and PCS can help you achieve your business goals.

At any time, please feel free to schedule a demonstration of one of our products, by contacting Paul Reicks at or Kim Ingerslev at  As always, we look forward to serving your business. 

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