Are You Billing All Your Customers?


Having unbilled accounts is more common than you may think, says ElectriCities’ Senior Utility Systems Analyst, Sherri Callery.

Consider this scenario:

A diligent billing clerk in a small public power community has a large customer’s complex account open in the billing system to perform account maintenance. As lunchtime approaches, several customers line up at once to pay or ask questions about their utility bills. The billing clerk leaves her desk to serve the Town’s customers.

When she returns to her desk, the billing system has logged her out. After taking care of several customer requests, she has forgotten about the account she was working on earlier.

Before the customers came in, she’d been changing the account’s rate assignment and route schedule. When the system logged her out, the account status was saved as “inactive.”

Without a rate schedule or route assignment saved in the legacy billing system, the account wasn’t billed.

In the real-life version of this story, the problem came to light during a Retail Billing Assessment a year later. That one account was underbilled over $100,000 that year, representing 3% of the Town’s total electric department revenues!

With staff turnover during that time, no one had noticed the unbilled account as the source of lower revenues. And the Town’s legacy billing system didn’t flag the unbilled account like a modern billing system might have.

This is just one example of how a utility can inadvertently fail to bill all its customers. And it’s one of the common issues a Retail Billing Assessment uncovers.

A Retail Billing Assessment is a thorough analysis and process review of a utility’s electric retail billing system. It identifies unbilled revenue sources and opportunities to improve accuracy and efficiency.

Sherri conducts Retail Billing Assessments for ElectriCities members and recommends having one every two to five years, before major system conversions, and immediately following any significant rate, technology, or staff changes. They’re free for Power Agency members.

Learn more about the power of ElectriCities’ Retail Billing Assessments and other lost revenue Sherri has discovered here.

And be sure to catch Sherri’s breakout session, “Retail Electric Billing: Revenue Lost & Found,” at the 2023 ElectriCities Annual Conference in August. She’ll highlight common sources of billing errors that can have huge impacts on your utility and your revenue.

To determine whether a Retail Billing Assessment should be on your utility’s to-do list, contact Sherri Callery.

Want to get stories delivered to your inbox?