Could your utility be missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual revenue?
While performing a recent Retail Billing Assessment, ElectriCities’ Senior Utility Systems Analyst, Sherri Callery, discovered that could have happened to an ElectriCities member utility.
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 recommends conducting an assessment every two to five years, before major system conversions, and immediately following any significant rate, technology, or staff changes.
One of the many details Sherri examines during an assessment is billed demand and energy consumption before and after meter exchanges. During that recent assessment, Sherri discovered that demand decreased by a factor of 100 after each new meter was installed.
At that point, the utility had already lost $75,000 in revenue for the billing year.
Sherri worked with the member utility’s billing team to track down the source of the problem. Turns out, the metering vendor’s data transfer file setup parameters were based on incorrect demand units.
The team collaborated with the vendor to correct and validate the file transfer parameters.
Had the problem not been corrected all year, it would have cost the utility $133,000 in lost revenue. And, if all the utility’s meters had been exchanged without that correction, that lost revenue would have jumped to $582,000 per year.
The potential losses don’t stop there.
Another member utility was having a similar issue, so Sherri worked with that member and the vendor to get the problem corrected. Two other much larger member utilities are preparing to deploy that vendor’s metering system. With the file transfer parameters corrected, they avoided lost revenue that could have reached $2.4 million per utility.
“Utility billing operations are complex, and that complexity increases the potential for errors,” Sherri says. And those errors can happen to anyone.
Even a teeny tiny mistake can have a significant impact, she says. That’s why it’s important to regularly analyze and review your billing system parameters, meter data inputs, and processes.
“During a Retail Billing Assessment, we look at everything from the smallest details to the overall processes to deliver big value for your utility.”
To learn more about the process and determine whether a Retail Billing Assessment should be on your utility’s to-do list, contact Sherri Callery.
And, if you’d like to learn more about other common Retail Billing Assessment findings and how this service can benefit your utility, be sure to catch Sherri’s breakout session on the topic at the ElectriCities Annual Conference in August.