EnergyCAP utility bill management software has about 300 “canned” reports, so new users often ask me, "How do I know which reports to run?”
Today’s blog highlights five reports that you might not even know exist. But I’m betting that when you see them, you will see real value for your organization.
I first shared these reports at our annual Catalyst Training for Savings conference last month. If you haven't attended a Catalyst training yet and you are using our software, I recommend that you set aside the time and funding for next April to take advantage of this valuable resource.
Our first "Must-Run" report is categorized as a Setup report. SU62 is a relatively new report that has one purpose only—to identify cases where there are mixed units of measure in the bill history. It works by comparing the templates and body line records for Unit of Measure (UOM) from the same meter. You may have started entering the data for a gas meter in THERMs, for instance. But then at some point, you changed to CCF. You may have started entering bills for a water meter using gallons, but later changed to KGALs (thousands of gallons). These mixed units of measure can cause problems when you’re doing use-versus-weather statistics, audits, or creating budgets or accruals.
So SU62 is there to help you find and fix your historical bill records. We’ve also added a really nice tool within EnergyCAP Online 3.3 that will fix these automatically. It's in the Administration module. Check it out some time!
The second report I want to highlight is called AN27. It’s what we call an Analysis report. More specifically, this one is what we call a Visual Bill Audit.
We have an entire audit module in EnergyCAP. It’s very sophisticated, with user-configurable tolerances for more than 50 auditable metrics. The only problem is that many people don't like to run the audits. They prefer just to look at the data. "I just want to eyeball it,” they tell us. Many users feel more comfortable looking at visual expressions of the data, rather than looking at a tabular list of potential problems.
Obviously, if you’re processing 10,000 bills a month, you can't eyeball all of them, but if you only have a few dozen or even a few hundred, you can probably skim through them quickly, especially if the data presentment is effective and speedy. So to satisfy that need—the need to eyeball data in lieu of, or in addition to, running audits—we created the AN27. The idea is that you run it for bills just keyed, say all bills in Batch 20150518 or all bills having a bill entry date between May 1 and May 31, 2015. You can run it very quickly for whichever set of bills you want, save the report as a PDF file, and then just click Page Down, Page Down, Page Down, to scroll through the report really quickly to look for problems:
On the AN27 report, Use per Day, Cost per Day, and Demand are displayed graphically. The most current bill is always represented by a red dot on the right-hand side of the trend line. This makes it easy to spot any significant deviation from the historical data.
CAL26B is a Calendarized report. Since utility meters are generally not read on the first and last day of the calendar month, EnergyCAP calendarizes your data by taking the utility bill and separating it into daily segments (considering meter sensitivity to weather during the process). Then these daily “pieces” are grouped together by calendar month and aggregated. This process helps our clients more accurately assess and compare monthly utility data over several years, especially when the meter read dates vary in length. This is particularly valuable for 60-day water bills, since if you are looking at monthly utility data, it may appear from an accounting standpoint that you used water in January, but none in February, for instance. Now, your accounting department might like that because that's when the bills really came in and/or were paid. But from a resource management perspective, that's not when you actually consumed the water.
The CAL26B data table also uses color as a visual evaluation of the most current energy usage information. Values are displayed in red if the usage appears to be significantly higher, and green if the usage has gone down:
Another report that some clients might not be aware of is a billing report called BL39PT. The PT stands for Place Type. This report fulfills a need for a quick view of every building, or every department, or every agency, or every division of the organization.
The audience for this type of report is not interested in the more granular meter-by-meter data. These people want the data consolidated at a specific level of the organization. That's all they want. They don't want to see the data bill by bill by bill; they want the data to be rolled up, totaled and summarized, at some higher level in the organization.
The Place Type filter for the report enables the user to select the level at which the report will summarize the data. The BL39PT is a great once-a-month or once-a-year summary report for your organization that can be rolled up at the specific level that management needs.
BL39PT is a tabular report that includes columns for Use, Demand, Cost, Average Unit Cost, Use Per Area, and Cost Per Area. The summary data is provided separately for each commodity. BL39PT helps answer questions like:
- "How much did I use?”
- “How much did I spend?”
- “What was the average unit cost?"
The use/cost-per-area information can also be quite helpful for benchmarking comparisons that can identify outliers for energy management action.
The last report I will mention in this blog is YY19A.
YY means "year-to-year," so all of the YY reports in EnergyCAP are comparing information from year to year. (This is not the same as the much more comprehensive energy performance contracting industry’s “measurement and verification” of savings, what we call “cost avoidance” in EnergyCAP.) The YY reports simply use the utility bill history to make broad brush comparisons, which is enough for many people.
This report is generally run at the building level, and it is displayed in two sections. At the top of the report is an energy pie graph, breaking down the cost by commodity, and answering the most basic question: “Where do my dollars go?”
Beneath the pie graph are a series of commodity-specific trend graphs with the accompanying tabular data that generated the trend line. The trend graphs provide two years of data, and are very nice for a building manager to show progress this year compared to last year. And you don’t have to compare this year with last year; you could choose any prior year:
The YY19A report was originally a custom report that one of our clients specifically asked us to produce for them. As a matter of fact, most of our reports have been developed in response to EnergyCAP user requests. So if you’ve got a great report idea, let us know!