By KEVIN McCALLUM
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 8:10 p.m.
Do you ever wonder when paying your utility bill at the end of the month, “if the bill is accurate”? That question should be asked more often, and with good reason, says Rob Washington, a partner in Utility Power Solutions (UPS), a Livermore, CA company whose business it is to audit utility bills for companies and upscale residential properties.
70% of the time, the audits show errors and overcharges, which save businesses and homeowners an average of 22%. The auditing process, which is done on a contingency basis, uses sophisticated software. This software system has been thoroughly tested and used to conduct over 10,000 audits nationwide.
According to industry experts, most people approach reducing energy costs the wrong way. They have been conditioned by advertising to first install items like solar systems, better insulation or Thermo-pane windows. What they should really do first, is conduct an audit of their Utility Bill, to find out where the problems are, before spending any money. This is easily done, it doesn’t cost any money and “The results prove the point”.
Typical results of a Utility Bill Audit:
A well-known winery finds an overcharge of $49,000 caused by incorrect utility rates
A golf course in the East Bay is charged $2400 on a non-functioning meter
An office building owner locates a $1,000 per month overcharge
UPS has developed a free and easy way to determine in advance if a client can save money by using an audit. The client simply provides a copy of their last month’s Utility Bill to UPS. A UPS auditor reviews the bill to determine if there are any “Red Flags” in that bill, which indicate errors.
If Red Flags are found, UPS will usually recommend a complete audit, which goes back 36 months to find errors and overcharges. UPS is responsible for conducting that audit. All the work is done on a contingency basis, so there are never any upfront fees. When errors and overcharges are found UPS handles the paperwork to obtain refunds and continues to audit the account to eliminate any future errors. Money saved or refunded to the client is then shared with UPS.
In addition to billing errors, often an audit will uncover areas where a client can make changes that result in substantial cost savings. For example, if a business or residence is considering a solar system installation, often an audit will show how the system can be redesigned, making it much smaller, less costly and still produce the required amount of Kilowatt hours.
In addition to high end residential homes with swimming pools, where the pump and motor usage can amount to a large percentage of the total bill, there are certain industries where most billing errors occur. Some of these are: Agriculture, Manufacturing Facilities, Municipalities, Schools, Hospitals, Assisted Living Facilities, Wineries, Mining Companies, Non Profits and Commercial Real Estate.
Because the subject of Utility Bill Audits is not well known, UPS provides FREE Educational Seminars throughout the country for persons who want to learn how to slash their utility bills.