How Much Could Unmanaged Utility Bills Actually Cost Your Business?
Managing utility bills for a large number of buildings can get complex. Simply getting the bills paid on time can be difficult enough—ensuring every charge on each bill is accurate requires a more comprehensive approach.
But while the practical advantages may be clear, it may be difficult to understand the extent to which a comprehensive approach to utility bill management could impact your organization’s financial performance.
For example, what do you do when your energy provider claims your business owes nearly £900K in utility bills that you had already paid?
This was the case for one large UK business that has partnered with EnerNOC for utility bill management for more than 10 years. In 2013, a supplier which had provided electricity for about 6,000 accounts claimed the company owed about £898K in bills that the supplier had not been able to collect as a result of changes to their billing system.
After converting and processing the supplier’s billing files, EnerNOC applied its invoice validation process on the accounts in question. This led to a startling realization—not only had the company already paid for the billing periods in question, but previously unrecognized billing errors on the supplier's behalf had also led to £224K in overcharges for the customer.
EnerNOC collected evidence of the problems that created these issues, which included errors in unit charges, meter reads, and periods that were billed, and brought the issue to the attention of the supplier. Faced with evidence refuting the original claims and detailing the issues that caused the overcharges, the supplier agreed to pay a refund for the full £224K in overcharges.
By challenging the claim of unpaid bills and uncovering the overcharges, the customer avoided more than £1.1M in unnecessary energy costs. The ordeal also led the company to implement a new policy to prevent overcharging issues by increasing transparency into specific line items in its bills.
While this case was a rare example, the billing errors identified are a common occurrence—and the longer they go unnoticed, the more they can cost your business.