Reduce Costs by Eliminating Sewer Charges on Non-Domestic Water Bills

Greg Elliott - September 29, 2020

lowhangingFruitOrganizations that are new to using EnergyCAP often find that the enhanced visibility into their utility bills highlights opportunities for quick monetary savings. One example of low hanging, money-saving fruit is

discovering sewer or wastewater charges on non-domestic water bills.

Common offenders are irrigation and cooling tower fill meters. While both may be designated as water meters by your utility company and even represented as water meters in EnergyCAP, they are prime targets for saving money.

Here is one common scenario: Your organization installs an irrigation system on the grounds of a new building. The water utility company installed a new meter for the water supply to the irrigation system, and that new account is set up as a water account. With most water utilities, especially municipally owned, customers get billed for water based on meter readings. In addition, charges for wastewater are also levied based on the water usage for the billing period. In the case of your new irrigation meter, you should not be charged for wastewater when the water being used is for irrigation purposes only. Often, a quick phone call to your water utility account rep to have the wastewater charges removed going forward is all it takes.

eBook - 20 Ways

How do you find these situations in EnergyCAP?

Often, during the implementation and configuration of an EnergyCAP system, clients will discover two water meters connected to a property where one meter is actually an irrigation meter. The Buildings and Meters hierarchy in EnergyCAP provides an easy visual representation of the situation. A quick look at the irrigation bill may show a wastewater charge that doesn’t make sense for an irrigation meter.

Another way to find potential savings is to use EnergyCAP Report-18—Bill Line Item Report. The report provides a list of bill line items that are grouped and sorted by line item name. Report-18 allows you to search for specific bill line items, or bill line captions, and limit that search to specific commodities. A sample of what that might look like is below:

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Cooling towers are also a common source of unnecessary wastewater charges. Just like an irrigation meter, the water used to fill a cooling tower does not end up in the wastewater treatment system. These can be a bit more difficult to identify on a water bill since the water to the cooling tower is likely coming from the main water supply for a building. However, with a submeter on the cooling tower and EnergyCAP’s Chargebacks module, you can calculate the amount of water being consumed by the cooling tower and use that as a basis to negotiate a credit from the utility company.

Another option used by at least one of EnergyCAP’s university clients is to have your water supplier maintain meters on cooling towers. The measured use to the cooling tower is then used to issue a credit bill for unused wastewater fees.

No organization wants to pay for utilities it doesn’t need or use. If you have any cost savings tips to share, please post them in the Comments section below. You can also read our eBook, 20 Ways to Find Utility Bill Savings, for suggestions on how you can discover hidden savings in your utility bills.

eBook - 20 Ways

Topics: Software Features- Energy Management- Client Savings

Greg Elliott

About the Author
Greg Elliott

Greg is a Sr. Project Manager, Team Lead at EnergyCAP, Inc.

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