FAQ
The power behind utility customer services

FAQ

What operating system does your system support?

Utility Star will run on Windows Server 2008, 2008R2, 2012, 2014, 2016, as well as Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

What type of database does your software use?

Utility Star supports SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, SQL Server 2016 & SQL Server 2017.

Do you offer technical support? What are the support hours and how much does it cost?

Technical support is offered through our Annual Support and Maintenance contract. Solution Consultants will be available from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm pacific standard time. Any customer with an active Annual Support and Maintenance contract will receive unlimited remote technical support. On-site support can also be provided on a per-visit basis. We also provide emergency 24/7 support contact for priority 1 incidents. The cost of the Annual Support and Maintenance contract varies depending on the size and scope of your company’s implementation.

Are there going to be any updates? How do I get them? How often do I get them?

Yes, we are always working on improving our software to provide our customers with the highest return on investment. Upgrades are distributed through our LiveUpdate system, and our program can update itself with minimal user intervention required. We typically release updates every quarter, and they are completely free as part of your Annual Support and Maintenance contract.

Does the program do anything other than billing?

Yes, Utility Star is not just a billing program, but a full featured Customer Information and Utility Billing system. This means Utility Star can be used to process customer information, service addresses, mailing addresses, meter, work orders, inventory management, cash receipting, credit cards, taxes, CASS, GIS, meter handhelds (AMR), point-of-sales, barcode scanners and much much more. For a complete list or to schedule a demo, please visit our “Request Free Demo” page.

Is there a demo software that I can install and try?

Of course! We offer a 30-day trial software for you to install locally and try. You can also request for an online version of our demo which you can access through a web browser. For details, please visit our “Request Free Demo” page and request a demo today!

How many customer accounts can your software handle?

Utility Star is capable of handling unlimited number of customer accounts. You are only limited by the size of your hard drive.

Does your system come with SQL Server? Or will I need to purchase that separately?

Utility Star can support SQL Server Express, which is provided free by Microsoft. If you have existing installation of SQL Server Standard or Enterprise, Utility Star will be able to utilize your existing installation without the need for a separate standalone instance. You will only need to purchase your own SQL Server licenses if you do not have an existing installation, and you do not want to use the free SQL Server Express edition. You may purchase the SQL Server license through a 3rd party vendor, or you can purchase them through Able Software.

If I want a report your system does not provide, do I need to pay for it? Can I create my own reports?

Utility Star comes with a built-in simple report writer which you can use to create any report you need. We also have an advanced report writer that will allow you to modify any existing reports to suit your needs. Should you choose to let us help you with creating a new report, we charge $125 per programming hour, and a report will usually need around 2 to 8 programming hours to complete.

How many licenses do I need to buy?

Utility Star operates on a concurrent user model. This means you can create as many user logins as you need, but be limited to how many can sign in at the same time. Depending on the version of Utility Star you purchase, a minimum of 2 to 5 licenses will be required.

What kind of security features does your software provide?

Utility Star employs a role based security configuration. This means an user login will be assigned a role, and security rights are defined at the role level. Utility Star allows the creation of unlimited number of roles. Security access can be defined down to the function/screen level, and sensitive fields such as social security number and driver license can be further protected with a password prompt screen whenever an user tries to view it.
In addition to our full-featured security access configurations, Utility Star also employs data encryption to protect all sensitive information stored in the database so that it cannot be read.

What makes your system better than others?

Able Software's vast resource and capabilities allow us to have the competitive advantage over our competitors. Not only do we have over 11 years of programming experience, but our large customer base and industry knowledge allow us to stay on the forefront of utility industry trends. The combination of technical and industry expertise makes our software much more powerful than our competitors.

How do I learn how to use the program? Are there training classes I can take? What kind of help do you provide?

We provide twotype of training services:
1.On-site Training: Certified Utility Star trainer will provide on-site hands-on training at your company.
2.Remote Training: Using web conferencing tools such as GoToMeeting, a certified Utility Star trainer will provide training remotely over the internet.
We also provide highly trained solution consultants to assist you during technical difficulties as part of our Annual Support and Maintenance contract. Able Software is emphatic that our customers have "live assistance", not answering services to receive your calls.

How long have you been providing and developing software? Where are you located?

We are located in the technology hub of Orange County, in Irvine, California. We have been developing software for the utility industry since 1999, and our teams of software developers work around the clock to develop and enhance software systems that are powerful and highly intelligent.

Do you only have one version of the software? What are the differences between different versions?

We have 3 versions of Utility Star, as well as other companion products such as CustomerDirect (our EBPP, or web portal system) and Mobile Work Order system.
Utility Star Gold is our most affordable product suitable for utilities that has 5,000 billable accounts or less.
Utility Star Platinum is for larger utilities who needs a robust system that can handle up to 100,000 billable accounts.
Utility Star Enterprise is our flagship product capable of handling over 1 million billable accounts. Utility Star Enterprise is also a browser based system that can be quickly deployed through the use of Internet Explorer web browser.

Can you help me provide internet self-services capabilities to my customers? I want to allow my customers to view and pay their bills online.

Yes. Our Customer Direct product is a full-featured Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) system which allows utility customers to view their bills, see their usage, and pay their bills online.

Can I send e-mails bills and other notices to my customers?

Yes. Utility Star can be linked to SMTP servers to send out e-mails. You can e-mail bills, past due notices, reminder notices, and miscellaneous notices to your customers.

How do your customers know when there is a new feature?

We send out Monthly Newsletters to our clients informing them of new features that have been released.

Do you provide a cloud-based (hosted) model so we don’t need to manage our own local installation?

Yes, we provide cloud-based systems that users can access through the internet, without the need for any location installations.

Do you hold any user conferences that bring customers together for discussions?

Yes, we hold an annual user conference for discussions, announcement of new features, preview of upcoming products and enhancements, as well as exclusive attendee discounts.

What makes your software better than others?

Able Software's resources and capabilities allow us to have the competitive advantage over our competitors. Not only do we have over 10 years of programming experience, but our large customer base and industry knowledge allow us to stay on the forefront of utility industry trends. The combination of technical and industry expertise makes our software much more powerful than our competitors.