May 08, 2017
Recovering The Millions Owed
An energy consultancy recently highlighted the ‘missing millions’ owed to businesses due to utility billing errors, but have failed to mention a solution in order to tackle this. So how do you get your money back?
Conducting a thorough, historic utility bill audit going back six years will enable businesses to claim back from suppliers anything they are due. If businesses are not already conducting rigorous bill validation presently, this is definitely an area that should be considered as the savings can be substantial. These savings can also unlock additional investment in energy efficiency, further reducing future bills.
It is often complex for businesses to manually undertake proper validation. However with the use of specialist software and a dedicated resource, businesses can show not only current bill savings, but also what they will save going forward by cutting out errors now.
Typically, more billing errors occur with a change of supplier. Although you may have been able to secure a better rate with a new contract, the risk of an error occurring with a new supplier handling your data increases. Historically, issues can also occur when a supplier implements a new billing system, for example British Gas.
We are identifying errors on a daily basis which means money returned to our customer’s bank accounts and not the suppliers.
Common and uncommon errors found in utility invoices are:
- Supplier still billing customer after location disposal date
- Duplicate billing by either a different or the same supplier
- Climate Change Levy (CCL) incorrect
- Incorrect meter factors (multiplier) / unit of measure
- Profile data not matching invoice data
- Incorrect DUoS distribution charges
At STC, we pride ourselves on our market leading bureau service; identifying issues such as these on our customers’ utility bills and correcting them to ensure our customers only pay for what they use. Our bureau team undergo an intensive structured training plan and are the most highly trained workforce within the industry. Using our in-house bill validation software to validate each invoice against over 75 checks and to raise detailed queries through our unique integrated query management system.
Our staff save customers millions of pounds each year and won a platinum award in our recent customer satisfaction survey.
The deregulation of the water market will see more water invoices billed on agreed contract rates, which means moving away from tariff based invoicing. This change also means more checks need to be carried out due to different agreed rates for different sites.
The 1st April was the deadline for more businesses to be half hourly metered and settled under P272 regulations. However, we suspect there may also be teething issues with data formatting between meter operators, data collectors and suppliers, with a knock on impact on billing accuracy due to estimated billing.
Meanwhile, new non-commodity energy bill elements, such as the capacity market charge and Contracts for Difference, as well as incoming changes to network charges, add further complexity to the task.
Such developments increase the importance both of accurate billing and comprehensive analysis of half-hourly consumption data so that resulting cost increases can be mitigated.
Over the last 2 years we have saved our customers over £36m in utility billing errors. At STC, we work with housing associations, police authorities, retailers, restaurants, charities, care homes and many more.
Get in touch today for further information and assistance.