Receiving a utility or municipal bill rife with inconsistencies, errors and, which does not clearly state how energy consumed each month is being charged is a very frustrating experience, especially if a regular occurrence.
Energy back-billing is another practice adding to energy consumers’ grievances and frustrations.
What about those “miscellaneous” charges appearing on monthly bills? How do energy consumers know what they are being charged for?
Energy suppliers, utilities/municipalities and other entities responsible for billing their customers for their monthly usage of electricity, gas, water and related services require a solution that allows them to generate bills with complete accuracy and transparency, as well as delivers timeous, consistent bills at scale to serve multiple customers.
Flexibility is also key to allow energy suppliers, utilities/municipalities to customise bills to include charges for additional services rendered in a transparent manner.
A robust solution that meets these requirements will go a long way in helping energy suppliers, utilities/municipalities to build trust with their clients which has the potential to greatly improve customer loyalty and retention.
Through Wattics’ reporting tool energy suppliers, utilities/municipalities, as well as energy services companies with interests in energy procurement and billing, can generate and automate the distribution of utility bills for their clients anywhere in the world – with accuracy, transparency, flexibility, consistency and at scale.
!New feature alert!
New to the Wattics utility bill report is a feature that allows energy analysts to show the division of cost of Time-of-Use (ToU) tariffs in utility bills. i.e. how much money is spent during peak, off-peak and shoulder electricity usage times.
The new ‘kWh with time range’ feature – allows analysts to define unique rates for specific time periods during the day and night.
What does this mean?
Energy analytics professionals can now better align cost of using electricity during peak, off-peak and shoulder periods. This feature is intended to greatly increase the transparency of ToU tariff costs, but also provide the necessary insight to bring down the cost of electric bills by adjusting when electricity is used eg. changing the production shift schedule in a facility. These insights serve as a starting point to investigate the impact of other energy-saving actions & technologies on energy bills under the ToU tariff structure – for example:
- Installing a battery to charge during off-peak hours
- Using a more economical, alternative source of power such as solar
- Installing timers or motion-sensing devices can be used to automatically control lights
- Installing variable speed drives for industrial-grade HVAC systems
Let’s now take a look at how to produce itemised utility bills with Time of Use (TOU) cost calculations:
Step 1: Generating your itemized utility bill
1.1 To get started, log into your energy management dashboard, go to the Admin section and click on “Report Definitions” as shown below:
1.2 In the Reports Definitions view, select “New report definition”.
When creating a new report, there are mandatory and recommended details to be supplied:
- Provide a name for the report
- Provide a quick description for the report
- Choose the bill type (electricity or gas)
- Choose the day of the month you want the report to be sent out to the selected users
- Choose the delay (time shift) between the day when the report is sent out and the data that it includes
- Choose the sites to be included in the report
1.3 Once these details have been filled in, you must select the “utility bill” report type in the list of custom readily-available reports to have it included as part of a larger report or stand-alone utility bill report, see below:
1.4 After selecting the “utility bill” report, the utility bill configuration section will appear. Here you should define:
- Bill Day – starting day of the billing period
- Previous Balance – what is owing from the previous billing period(s)
- Paid – how much money was received in the last payment
- Local Tax name (eg. VAT, IVA, etc)
- Tax rate (%)
1.5 You are also able to include comments/notes about the bill in dedicated text boxes as shown below:
Now that the utility bill is created, we can move onto adding itemized costs for peak, off-peak, and shoulder periods using the ‘kWh with time range’ feature.
Step 2: Adding itemized ToU tariff rates to your utility bill
2.1 To create individual ToU tariffs in the bill, click on “Add Section” as shown in the following image (bottom left):
2.2 Once a new section is added, a new configuration window will appear. In here, by clicking on “Add Item” you will be able to append new items to the bill. Then you will be able to configure them in different ways. Adding multiple items is possible, it’s just a matter of clicking on “Add Item” as needed.
2.3 The next example demonstrates the “kWh with time range” feature – allowing you to define unique rates for specific time periods during the day (e.g. day and night rates). Apart from the price, you will need to provide Start and End times for each rate.
The final cost for each item (in the case of kWh with time range) is calculated by multiplying the energy used during the time range defined for “Night 1” by the price per kWh. The total cost is then calculated by adding the cost of “Night – 1”, “Day” and “Night – 2”.
The image below shows an example where the three different tariff rates are defined.
2.4 Other itemised costs in your utility bill could be, for example, peak demand and energy (kWh) as separate charges in the bill. This way you can clearly show the true cost of peak demand, often the most costly item on the utility bill.
Step 3: Personalising your utility bill
3.1 Once you have added your ToU tariff rates and other bill items, you can start personalising your utility bill with a unique header (company logo), footer and as well as select the users who will receive the report. Click on “Save” to complete the configuration process.
3.2 In the “Preview” tab, you can review the report you’ve configured before it is sent out.
3.3 To preview your report, select the report you would like to review (from drop-down menu ‘report name’) along with the details for the test preview (site, month, year and language). Then, click on “Generate” in order to download the .pdf file.
Below is an example of how the itemised ToU tariffs and associated costs will be shown in the utility bill report:
The new simple but impactful feature help to communicate energy costs with improved accuracy and transparency and provides energy suppliers and utilities the opportunity to engage their customers’ in a way that builds trust and loyalty.
Are you new to the Wattics energy management platform and want to know more? Get in touch with us…