It has been a rough year for the Goleta Water District’s rollout of a new online billing system, and customers are still getting bills up to a month late.

“It hasn’t lived up entirely to our expectation,” assistant manager Dave Matson said.

The new system lets customers pay by phone, online, with automatic bill pay, at the front counter or by mail. It also tracks water usage and allows customers to sign up for electronic billing.

About a quarter of the district’s customers, or 4,500, have signed up for electronic billing, but the problem is in the timing of the bills.

“They’re going out, but the time between bills has been varied as the vendor put software patches into the billing system,” Matson said. “They’re not through with the glitches yet, and that’s what’s causing the delays.”

The Goleta Water District worked with the vendor, Global Water Resources Inc., to make an action plan and get on schedule within the next 90 days.

“We have every bit of confidence it will be on track shortly,” Matson said. “We’re as frustrated as our customers are.”

There have been no late fees for the late bills, and customers have been patient and paying their bills as soon as they get them, Matson said.

Bills mailed out to customers were three weeks delayed in July, but then the rate schedule changed, and extra quality assurance made the delay time about four weeks.

“It has the effect of providing them a longer grace period than normal, but it has not affected us financially,” he said. “People on the South Coast by and large roll with the punches, and we appreciate that.”

The goal of the new system was to give customers more convenient payment options for billing, and as a bonus it will cut down on paper use and car trips for in-person bill payment.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.