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  • Writer's pictureKent Hobart

Use Cooler Weather to Identify 2024 Savings Opportunities

As the year ends, cooler temperatures alter the way we use electricity, gas and water. Changes in usage patterns make this an opportune time for a year-end review of utility bills to identify errors and opportunities for savings.


Here are four easily identified opportunities you can tackle on your own and position your organization for savings in 2024:


1. Unnecessary Meters


Look over your bills to see if any of your meters are reflecting zero consumption for the most recent month. If you find one, dig a little deeper and see if that electric, gas or water meter has recorded usage at any time over the last year. Meters without any usage for a full twelve months should be investigated to confirm what they serve or were intended to serve.


It isn’t uncommon for meters that were once providing service to no longer be needed because of building upgrades or operational changes. Even in months with no usage, utilities are still collecting basic service charges, franchise fees and taxes on every meter. Having your utility provider ‘turn off” the accounts associated with unnecessary meters will end these extra charges moving forward.



2. Seasonal Water Consumption and Sewer Billing


Depending on the fall/winter weather patterns in your area, this may be the time of year you begin or stop irrigating your landscape. This change makes this the ideal time to take a close look at your water consumption. Look specifically at the monthly usage for your non-irrigation water meters. Is the usage relatively consistent from month to month, or does it show significant spikes in the months when you are using landscape irrigation?

If you see spikes in the irrigation months, there’s a high probability that all or part of your irrigation system is being served through a meter being used to bill for both water and sewer usage. Most utilities offer special irrigation meters that bill for water only without any sewer charges. Ensuring that all irrigation is done through a dedicated irrigation meter is one of the most important steps you can take to control annual water and sewer costs.



3. Rate Changes


Utilities often have optional billing rates that offer savings for some customers. But, in most cases customer’s bear the responsibility for making sure they are billed on the most cost-effective rate available.


It is wise to contact your utility providers periodically (the end of air conditioning season is an ideal time) and ask if there are optional rates available for you to consider. If there are, ask the provider to use your last twelve months of billing history to perform a rate comparison and confirm each of your accounts is being billed on the most cost-effective rate.



4. Outdoor Lighting Charges


Utility provided outdoor lighting is a common source of billing errors that repeat themselves every month. It is a good idea to make sure you aren’t being billed for lights that don’t exist.


If your bill provides information on the number and type of lights included on your bill, have a team member walk the property and confirm those lights actually exist. If your bill doesn’t include that level of detail, ask your utility for a detailed breakdown or request they conduct a field audit to make sure the billing is correct.



Have questions about the opportunities discussed in this post or about something confusing on a utility bill? Call us today at (813) 917-8952 so we can help with an answer.


Kent Hobart is the founder and principal of Utility Refund Specialists; a utility bill auditing firm based in Denton, TX. His client’s take advantage of his uncommon knowledge of utility rates and billing systems to find errors in their bills and receive refunds from their electric, gas and water providers. If you need complimentary help with your utilities budget contact Kent at (813) 917-8952 or kent.hobart@urefunds.com.


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