Mr. S was. He spent hours each month rereading meters even though they paid someone to do it for them. Weights and Measures was constantly at the property issuing citations. Residents were angry their bills were always wrong – high one month and low the next. Collections were down, and balancing the utilities was nearly impossible without hours of work to manually add each charge and track adjustments made by Weights and Measures. How do you fix something like that?
In this case study I’m going to walk you through how we helped solve these problems for Mr. S. From bad reads to incorrectly billed utilities that cost him money, we’re going to look at how we can help.
- The importance of photographing meter reads
- How much using the wrong unit of measure can cost in real dollars and cents
- The fastest way to simplify utility reconciliation
Mr. S was looking for a way to reduce misreads and improve collections. They were losing money on utilities but weren’t sure where or how. Weights and Measures was on-site so often they may as well have had their own desk in the office. Residents were frustrated and thought Mr. S was out to get them.
He met with Lana from Ardent Billing and she assured him she could fix their biggest problems within 60 days. They would photograph the meters reads so they could verify them without him needing to do it and their misread rate was 1%, not 15% or more. They would run an audit on the units of measure to make sure everyone was being billed correctly. And they would audit the rates, so everyone was paying the correct amounts.
Even better, when all these changes took place, she would handle the resident questions and complaints, so he didn’t have to try to explain things he didn’t fully understand – that’s why he had a billing company. She and her husband went through the property with him, labeled the meters and pointed out a few initial issues with meter visibility and access. Some of the meters were in other lots. That added to the confusion and misreads. They went through the pictures and contacted Mr. S right away when they discovered a significant billing error – about 20% of the property was being under billed by a factor of 10 on their gas bills. For example, one space was billed for 8 units of gas but had actually used 85. Their bill should have been $182.25, but they were only charged $20.96. That’s only 11.5% of what they used!
Error like this add up fast. That was only one space for one month. A few months later we also found a serious leak at one of the spaces. Had their usage continued to be under billed at 15 units per month, or about $25, it would never have been caught. However, a $200+ gas bill during the summer is noteworthy and they found a broken flex line and leak on the meter.
Had the incorrect billing continued, the property would lose about $10,000 per year on gas. It’s hard to say how long it had been going on, but we corrected the errors with two billing cycles. Once the issues were corrected, revenue went up and collections were on par with spending.
To simplify utility reconciliation, we provide a Utility Report that lists out usage and cost per space so you can easily reconcile your master meter bills and ensure collections are where they should be.
Are you in the same position as Mr. S? Do you need to get your meter reads straightened out and your collections on track? Call now (949) 480-1898